If the 2020 season happens, many Dallas Cowboys will be hoping for their first trip to the annual Pro Bowl. One NFL writer wisely projected that Offensive Tackle La’el Collins is Dallas’ best candidate to be a first-timer. Who would be some other strong candidates from the Cowboys roster?
Marc Sessler of NFL.com made the projections a few days ago and the pick of Collins for the Cowboys was spot on. Of our players who haven’t already received Pro Bowl recognition, La’el has emerged as one of the best players at his position in all the NFL.
Here was Sessler’s analysis:
“Paired in a tackle duo with All-Pro Tyron Smith, Collins shifted from good to great last season to become the NFL’s fifth-highest graded tackle, per Pro Football Focus. Nothing short of dominant in the run game, Collins has something else going for him: Pro Bowl voters see the Cowboys featured endlessly in prime-time tilts, Thanksgiving jaunts and glistening 4 p.m. ET time slots on FOX. Prepare for an endless parade of verbal gratification from Cris Collinsworth, Troy Aikman and Tony Romo on the national stage. If Collins repeats his 2019 performance, though, the praise will be justified.”
The benefit of being a Cowboy has certainly proven true for other players. That’s one reason why so many of Collins’ teammates such as Dak Prescott, Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, and others have made the Pro Bowl in recent years despite competitive fields at their positions.
It especially helps for offensive linemen, whose lack of visibility in the world of stats and fantasy football puts any recognition opportunities at a premium. It’s why Flozell Adams, the longtime Cowboys tackle who was rarely a great player, was able to make Pro Bowls from 2003-2008.
Collins isn’t counting on The Star to get him recognition. He’s been doing it on the field by emerging as one of the league’s best right tackles, and he’s definitely the best bet for a first-time Pro Bowler from the Dallas Cowboys.
Could any of his teammates be joining him?
One guy that I think has a strong chance at making the Pro Bowl this year is new starting Tight End Blake Jarwin. As I wrote about a few weeks ago, the NFC has a tough field but Jarwin has a chance to put up some big numbers on the most-watched team in football.
Blake has had to deal with being second fiddle the last few years to Jason Witten and Geoff Swaim. If he gets a true starter’s load of targets for the first time, he’s proven to have the athletic ability to turn those into big plays. He also may be a low-priority for opposing defenses when Dallas trots out all of their other receiving options.
That could be a double-edged sword; the Cowboys have three wide receivers they want to get the ball to along with two talented running backs. We also don’t know what effect Mike McCarthy’s arrival will have on TE production; they tended not to do much in his Green Bay offenses.
Still, Jarwin probably has the next-best shot to La’el Collins of being a first-time Pro Bowler for the 2020 Cowboys. Unless someone like Safety Xavier Woods or one of the cornerbacks were to have a stunning breakout season, most of our other key players have already been to at least one.
One outside-the-box possibility is Kicker Kai Forbath. His first hurdle would be beating out Greg Zuerlein for the job, which won’t be easy given The Leg’s relationship with new Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel. But if Forbath can do enough to oust Zuerlein and continue his perfection streak from 2019, Kai could be a sneaky contender for the Pro Bowl.
Hopefully we have a season for these guys to all ply their trade and make their cases for recognition. If they do earn their first trips to the Pro Bowl, it could mean big things for the Dallas Cowboys in 2020.