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Which Dallas Cowboys Rookie Has the Highest Upside?

Sean Martin

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Which Dallas Cowboys Rookie Has the Highest Upside?

Just how ready the Cowboys 2018 draft class is for their first season is going to have as big of an impact as ever on the outcome of this young team's season. Making history by drafting the first two players to be selected from inside their new team's stadium, Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and Left Guard Connor Williams join the Cowboys at 21 years old. The oldest Cowboys rookie is Quarterback Mike White, 23 years old out of Western Kentucky.

The Cowboys class of nine draft picks features players ranging from day one starters to fringe players already on the roster bubble. Sticking to their merits of targeting big school prospects and drafting well for need while also considering value, parsing the Cowboys rookie haul for the highest upside is no easy task.

The answer may very well be a running back like Bo Scarbrough, who deserved to go before the seventh round as the feature back at Alabama. Scarbrough's late draft position would likely turn him into a steal on most NFL rosters, but with the Cowboys he has a long way to go to earn this status and find a role alongside Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, and Darius Jackson.

Then there is a quarterback like White, who may also struggle to show his true potential outside of the preseason for the Cowboys. Hopefully not calling upon a third string rookie QB to start the season on short notice once again, White could find himself stuck behind Cooper Rush for the foreseeable future.

When weighing the Cowboys rookies against each other to find the best upside, a certain level of ability to make an immediate impact has to be considered. Evaluating these players still as prospects will also help, removing any positional influence based on the rest of the Cowboys roster.

For Connor Williams, Being Shoulder to Shoulder with Tyron Smith is Nothing New 1

For all of these reasons, Connor Williams has to be the Cowboys pick with the best upside, which is extremely exciting for Cowboys Nation. Sure, Williams will start between Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick for the foreseeable future at left guard, giving him one of the most ideal spots for any young player to enter in the whole league.

Capable of filling in for Smith as a college left tackle, while possessing a similar physical frame, Williams was a lock to be a first round pick a year ago before a season ending injury at Texas.

Falling to 50th overall in position for the Cowboys to grab him, Williams is most importantly with a team that will appreciate every step of his development. Williams' performance from day one with pads on, approaching quickly in Oxnard, will be a major factor in determining just how dominant the Cowboys running game can be in 2018.

Leaning on Ezekiel Elliott is never a bad game plan, but given the unproven nature of the Cowboys pass catching unit, their dependency on Elliott cannot become a predictable weakness.

Even without Connor Williams in the lineup, the Cowboys have been able to run the ball against suspecting defenses with success. Elliott cutting to the second level untouched against linebackers that want no part of him for four quarters is the football equivalent of Mariano Rivera's ninth inning cutter ending a game for the Yankees.

You know it's coming, but aren't prepared to deal with it, nor good enough. A replacement for Jonathan Cooper was always in the plans for the Cowboys entering this draft. They happened to hit a home run (not off of Rivera) with Williams.

Light enough on his feet to play out in space with an imposing upper body, Williams is the perfect addition to this star-studded Cowboys front. He may very well have more upside than any of the skill players or defenders the Cowboys added at the draft, which isn't the flashiest of story lines but one the Cowboys can feel great about.

The Cowboys love the athlete they have in 19th overall pick Leighton Vander Esch, and if you followed my draft coverage from Dallas you know how excited I am for Wide Receiver Michael Gallup to earn a potential starting role. Having also written fondly about Defensive End Dorance Armstrong and Tight End Dalton Schultz's ability, the anticipation for Connor Williams completing the Cowboys revamp on the offensive line will be worth the wait and special to watch for years to come.

Tell us what you think about "Which Dallas Cowboys Rookie Has the Highest Upside?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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2 Comments
  • Travis Diggs

    I think the rookie or rookies with the most upside aren’t even the ones that were drafted . I believe the most upside comes from the pair of UDFAs Tyree Robinson and Kam Kelly. The size and athleticism from the two are very intriguing under Kris Richard adding to a already solid db group. I hope they both make the roster because I believe they can contribute to a great defense in the making

  • Russ_Te

    Going by scouting write-up and college clips, LVE is the most talented rookie on the team. No major negatives and a ton on the positive side of his skills, not a bad pick even higher up at say 12 or 14, if you have a need at LB.

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Will DeMarcus Lawrence Be Franchise Tagged Again in 2019?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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DeMarcus Lawrence, Franchise Tags and Realities for Dallas Cowboys
Matthew Emmons / USA TODAY Sports

The deadline for extending players under the franchise tag has come and gone last Monday, in a day in which none of the remaining tagged players reached an agreement with their respective teams. That includes Dallas Cowboy Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence, who's set to earn $17M in 2018.

The front office and the 26-year old defensive end failed to agree to a new contract before the season's start, but we saw that coming. After all, there was never a point in which we had the classic "X player and his team are close to a new deal" headline.

All of this makes the future of the Cowboys' promising "War Daddy" very uncertain. What lies a head of the player that put on an impressive show in 2018?

Since 2017 was Lawrence's breakout year, racking up 14.5 sacks trough the season, we have leaned towards the narrative of last season being his only good one. His performance last season was impressive and clearly his best one yet, but we tend to overlook 2015.

In his sophomore season, the only other year in which he has played 16 games, he finished the campaign with eight sacks and 35 tackles (55 combined). Really, the idea of 2017 being his only good year is not as accurate as we might think.

That being said, I think it's more likely that we see another great year from him this upcoming season than seeing a disappointing one. This, of course, will end up being the main thing that determines his future in Dallas.

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 1

Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence

The Dallas Cowboys front office really took a risk by tagging Lawrence this offseason. #90 was reportedly asking for an average of $17M per year in his long-term contract, which is Olivier Vernon kind of money.

So what if he puts a similar season or an even better one? Lawrence and his agent could end up asking for even more money. Perhaps in the 18 or 20 million dollars per year range. If that ends up being the case, the team will find itself in a tough position when trying to reach an agreement with its promising pass rusher.

Which leads us to the possibility of seeing the Cowboys franchise tagging Lawrence for the second consecutive season. Dallas will already be negotiating a contract extension with QB Dak Prescott, and things will get complicated. Even more if they decide to pursue a big-time free agent in March, such as Earl Thomas.

It would make sense, from a financial perspective, to hand the tag twice in consecutive years to D-Law. However, it shouldn't be the priority. If he plays like he did in 2017, the front office will be more than wise to extend him for good.

According to OverTheCap.com, the Cowboys will have approximately $50.6M. Seemingly, the team's cap woes will be over soon.

Fortunately, Lawrence didn't become a headache by threatening to holdout for offseason programs and even training camp. However, don't expect that to happen if he finds himself under the tag next year.

Careers in the NFL are short, so DeMarcus will surely want to get paid. If he keeps it up, he'll deserve it. As much as he deserves it, though, football is a cold business. If the Jones need to tag him, they will.

Do you think the Cowboys will franchise tag Lawrence in 2019?

Tell me what you think about "Will DeMarcus Lawrence Be Franchise Tagged Again in 2019?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Without Looming Suspension, RB Ezekiel Elliott Should Shine In 2018

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys en Español: 3

NFL Films typically does a good job of exposing some truths around NFL teams. Whether through "Hard Knocks" or Amazon's new "All or Nothing" series, these documentaries do an excellent job of giving fans an inside look of their favorite teams.

If anything was revealed through the Cowboys' All or Nothing series on their 2017 season, it's that Ezekiel Elliott's suspension weighed heavy on his mind all year.

The Pro Bowl running back did not look, act, or play like himself while awaiting decision on his incoming suspension. And, once it was finally announced he would serve the six games, the entire team collapsed in Atlanta.

Despite the clear and detrimental effects Elliott's suspension had on the Cowboys' season, Zeke still put up more-than-respectable numbers; rushing for almost 1,000 yards and averaging a league leading 98.3 yards per game.

Now, Ezekiel Elliott enters a season with no doubts about his own availability. Scott Linehan gets to coach an offense that knows they will have their best player for the entire season barring major injury. And, Jason Garrett can lead his team without addressing questions about Elliott's future day in and day out.What Workload is Ezekiel Elliott Prepared for in 2018? 1

Of course, these effects aren't quantifiable. We can't sit here and say that without the pressure of court appearances and suspensions that Elliott will be worth "X" amount of more yards and "Y" more touchdowns.

But I do believe we can say, without question, that playing with a clear mind and without a looming suspension will breed the type of production we saw from Zeke his rookie year.

We can say that Elliott has had a weight lifted off his shoulders, and could be looking for revenge on a league he feels did him wrong.

And, for the Cowboys sake, I hope this is true. Because they are going to need Ezekiel Elliott to be even better than he ever has been if they hope to make a run at the Super Bowl in 2018.



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Cowboys en Español: El Regreso de Randy Gregory

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Randy Gregory, Eagles
Eric Hartline / USA TODAY Sports

A sólo días de que los Dallas Cowboys aterricen en Oxnard, California para dar inicio a su training camp como todos los años, el equipo recibió excelentes noticias respecto a la selección de segunda ronda del 2015: Randy Gregory. Después de pasar todo el 2017 suspendido, el ala defensiva ha sido oficialmente reintegrado por la NFL.

Gregory, quien tuvo muchos problemas debido al uso de marihuana, ha pasado los últimos meses rehabilitándose para poder volver a vestir la estrella y volver al emparrillado. Los Cowboys, quienes siempre apoyaron a su joven jugador, sin duda estarán felices de verlo de vuelta en el equipo por motivos más allá que el football americano.

Sin duda alguna, antes de estar emocionados y felices por verlo en el campo intimidando a quarterbacks rivales, deberíamos estar alegres por el logro personal de Randy como un ser humano. Realmente hizo un esfuerzo consciente en un lugar en el que muchos se hubieran rendido y dejado sus sueños de ser parte de la NFL. Pero no lo hizo, y ahora, todos sus esfuerzos han valido la pena.

El siguiente paso en su lista por-hacer, es volver al campo y poco a poco, ganarse su puesto en el equipo y después, la titularidad. La última vez que vimos a Gregory en el campo, fue contra Philadelphia, en el final de temporada del 2016.

En este juego, Gregory mostró muchos destellos de lo que sería capaz de hacer semana tras semana en la liga y porque valió la pena nunca dejarlo ir, lo cual no hubiera tenido sentido hacer, dado que los Cowboys no les costaba nada (literalmente) mantenerlo en el equipo.

Sean Martin escribió un artículo recientemente en el que analiza este partido a fondo.

El potencial de Gregory es inmenso, suficiente incluso, para aventurarse a decir que se convertirá en el defensive end (ala defensiva) derecho antes de lo esperado. El reto más grande para el jugador de 25 años será regresar a una condición física óptima para la NFL.

Afortunadamente, a diferencia del 2016, Gregory no estará regresando a media temporada. Su llegada toma lugar justo a tiempo para el training camp, dándole tiempo para regresar a la forma en la que tiene que estar.

Una vez ahí, ¿qué tanto le tomará ganarse un rol más importante que el de Tyrone Crawford y Taco Charlton? A pesar de que prácticamente no lo hemos visto jugar en Dallas, sabemos el potencial que tiene para convertirse en un defensivo de suma importancia para los Cowboys.

Un año después de ver la mejor temporada en la carrera de DeMarcus Lawrence, los Cowboys tendrán el potencial de una estrella similar en el lado derecho de su línea defensiva. Gregory tiene una montaña que escalar para cumplir las expectativas de los aficionados, pero no será una sorpresa si lo logra.

Vaya, no olvidemos que si no fuera por sus problemas fuera del campo, hubiera sido seleccionado en el Top 10 del Draft del 2015. Tiene el potencial de conseguir diez sacks por temporada.

Con un poco de suerte, no nos equivocaremos en tenerle fe al jugador que ha tenido un gran viaje para llegar a este punto. El punto de ponerse el casco e ir a trabajar con su equipo.

Incluso si sólo llega a ser un jugador de rotación, sin duda será importante para el éxito del equipo. Entre DeMarcus Lawrence, David Irving, Randy Gregory y el resto del talento que los Cowboys tienen en la línea defensiva, el equipo podría tener un frente de muy buena calidad.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: El Regreso de Randy Gregory" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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