Every week we’ve 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 17 finale against the Philadelphia Eagles:
Ezekiel Elliott, RB
With nothing to play for and an over 300-yard lead in the NFL rushing race, Elliott sat out against the Eagles. He finishes 2016 with the third-best rushing total ever by a rookie; 1631 yards.
Elliott would’ve needed a huge day to reach Eric Dickerson’s rookie record of 1808 yards and wouldn’t have had Tyron Smith or Ron Leary blocking for him. Given that, the extra rest made way more sense for him as the Cowboys look to make a run at a championship.
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
It was a surprisingly quiet day for Collins. Dallas didn’t have a lot of bodies on the defensive line but Collins only registered one tackle. He may not have seen a lot of time, though, as Dallas appeared to be giving some of their bench guys more work. Collins is a starter and will be more valuable in January.
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 only played in two series before going out and neither was memorable. He went 4-of-8 for 37 passing yards and also had a 9-yard run. With Tyron Smith out, the key goal was keeping Dak healthy and that mission was accomplished.
Anthony Brown, CB
Brown seemed to be on the field a lot but his box score wouldn’t show it. He had one pass deflection and no tackles. What is becoming evident both by the stats and watching the games is that teams are not targeting the rookie corner like they were earlier in the year.
He is clearly earning respect and is looking as good as his veteran teammates.
Kavon Frazier, S
Frazier got the most run he’s seen all year and had one big hit to get himself noticed. He hasn’t had the same opportunities as Anthony Brown to make an impact this year but has shown glimpses on special teams.
Darius Jackson, RB
Jackson was cut in Week 15 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.