Every week we’ll be looking at the Cowboys drafted rookies from 2016 and seeing what impact, if any, they had on the previous game.
Here’s a summary of the performances and statuses from all nine of the Cowboys drafted rookies after the Week 16 win over the Detroit Lions:
Ezekiel Elliott, RB
Elliott only got 12 carries, sitting out the entire third quarter when the game was in hand. A single 55-yard touchdown run boosted his numbers considerably. Otherwise, he’d have had just 25 yards on his 11 other carries.
Zeke went into the week needing at least 129 yards in each of the next two games to break Eric Dickerson’s rookie record. With Detroit’s defense stuffing him most of the game, it’s clear that the Cowboys felt chasing the record wasn’t in his best interests. Zeke got shut down once they’d built a two-
Jaylon Smith, LB
Smith was placed on Injury Reserve in Week 15. Most did not expect Smith to play in 2016 back during the draft process. Dallas will hope that the immensely talented linebacker gets right this offseason and debuts next year.
Maliek Collins, DT
Collins registered a sack for the third time in his last four games. He now has five total sacks this year, which is a strong number for a rotational defensive tackle.
While David Irving‘s emergence may be the catalyst for the Cowboys’ increased pass rush, Collins’ sack came on individual brilliance. With Dallas just rushing three defenders, Collins quickly slipped past the Detroit center and chased Stafford down. His athleticism was on full display.
Charles Tapper, DE
Tapper went on Injured Reserve in Week 4 due to back issues. He was inactive the three games before that, making this a redshirt season for the fourth-round pick.
Dak Prescott, QB
Prescott’s three passing touchdowns and 75% completions earned him a 148.3 passer rating, his highest single-game rating yet so far. His 10.6 average per pass attempt was also a new career high.
There’s really nothing bad to say about this performance. Dak showed you everything you want to see with the playoff nearing. He was precise and deliberate running the offense and also made some good choices when he improvised and ran with it. His chemistry with Dez Bryant also looked strong; a huge plus for the postseason.
Anthony Brown, CB
Brown suffered a concussion near the end of the 1st quarter and did not return. The injury occurred while covering a kickoff return. He hadn’t been seen much prior to the injury, other than one nice pass deflection.
With a meaningless Week 17 game and a first-round bye, Dallas will be able to exercise caution with Brown if needed. They can get through the Philly game with Brandon Carr, Orlando Scandrick, and Leon McFadden along with using Byron Jones as a corner if needed.
Kavon Frazier, S
Another week of active status but no visible sign of Frazier. Barring injuries at safety, it is likely his only chance to make impact will be on special teams. However, Frazier may get some run in Week 17 as Dallas looks to start resting some players for the postseason.
Darius Jackson, RB
Jackson was cut two weeks ago to make room for Darren McFadden. He was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Browns, who had the first spot in the waiver order. It was reported that the Eagles, Giants, and 49ers also put in claims. He is the only drafted player from 2016 to no longer be with the Cowboys.
Rico Gathers, TE
Gathers is still on the team’s practice squad; the only drafted player to not make the 53-man roster this season.