Three Dallas Cowboys You May Have Forgotten About
I wanted to scout out some players from the Dallas Cowboys 2012 season that haven’t garnered a lot of attention this offseason. I found the following players to be some of the most interesting under-the-radar guys heading into the 2013 season.
Dec 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Alex Albright (55) looks into the backfield before a play against the New Orleans Saints at Cowboys Stadium. The Saints beat the Cowboys 34-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
DE/OLB Alex Albright – Age: 25
Alex Albright is one of the most intriguing players on the Dallas Cowboys roster heading into the 2013 season. A big reason as to why is because of the versatility Albright brings to the team. After signing with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2011, Albright has spent most of his career as a core special teams player. But in 2012 due to a multitude of injuries, he saw time at defensive end, 3-4 outside linebacker, 4-3 middle and strong-side linebacker, and yes, he has even taken snaps at tight end.
Another reason Albright stood out to me is his terrific athleticism. Former Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was quoted last year as saying, “Alex (Albright) is a very smart guy, but he’s also very physical. We like him a lot. We love the way he plays, and he’s an excellent football player.”
I wouldn’t call him an excellent football player just yet, but Albright has some impressive measurables when you compare him to the other hybrid linebackers in his draft class.
10 yd Split
While Albright doesn’t possess elite long speed, he is an exceptional quick-twitch athlete. He was not invited to the 2011 combine, but at his pro day at Boston College, his broad jump score would have been the best in both the defensive end and linebacker groups. He has a very strong lower body and he is a very smooth athlete for a player of his size.
The one thing I love about Alex Albright is that the more opportunities you give him, the more you will be impressed. Albright was called into action when the team lost Sean Lee and Bruce Carter to season-ending injuries in 2012. Albright’s best game came against Pittsburgh where he consistently made big plays on third down.
If you would like a good pro comparison for Albright, think of New England Patriots versatile pass rusher Rob Ninkovich.
Where does Albright fit in 2013 you might ask after the drafting of Devonte Holloman? Albright will at worst be the backup at all three linebacker positions and will also backup at defensive end in Monte Kiffin’s aggressive defensive. However, don’t be surprised if come September, Alex Albright beats out Justin Durant for the starting SAM linebacker spot.
OC/OG Kevin Kowalski – Age: 24
After a very disappointing 2012 season where he hurt his ankle and never took a snap in a game, Kevin ‘Killer’ Kowalski is back to prove that he is worthy of a roster spot. Kowalski first saw action in 2011 when starting center Phil Costa was injured against the San Francisco 49ers. Kowalski entered the game and played well enough to help the team comeback to steal a game in overtime that they could have easily lost. Kowalski played sporadically throughout the 2011 season and when he played, he was very impressive.
Just for comparison sake, here are the measurables of the four centers currently on the Cowboys roster:
10 yd Split
3 Cone Drill
20 yd Shuttle
Obviously, combine stats don’t determine whether or not a player can produce in the NFL. But in this case, what it does show is that Kowalski is the most athletic center currently on the roster. With the Cowboys transitioning to more agile lineman, Kowalski might make the ideal backup lineman in Bill Callahan’s zone blocking system.
Now will he be able to beat out Ryan Cook or Ronald Leary for a roster spot? That is a question that will have to be answered during training camp and in the preseason games. I hope that this season the best players truly to rise to the top instead of the last men healthy earning roster spots.
CB/S Sterling Moore – Age: 23
Sterling Moore was cut last November by the New England Patriots and was signed by Dallas after suffering multiple injuries in their secondary. Moore is most notably known for his pass breakup in the 2011 AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens. Moore stripped away the game winning touchdown from Lee Evans’ hands and forced the Ravens to attempt a field goal that Billy Cundiff eventually missed.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
When the Dallas Cowboys selected JJ Wilcox and B.W. Webb in April’s NFL draft, Sterling Moore’s roster spot was in serious jeopardy according to some. But what Moore provides this team is versatility in the secondary and I am convinced that he has the ability to become a Ronde Barber hybrid type player. I believe he can play slot corner, however his best position might be as a centerfielder in a cover two defense.
Moore has the instincts and play making ability that may make it hard for Monte Kiffin to take him off the field. Moore will be a key backup at cornerback and safety in 2013, but don’t be surprised if Moore cracks the starting lineup at some point in the season mainly due to his terrific ball skills.
Will any of these three players be stars for the Dallas Cowboys in 2013? Probably not. But I fully expect all three players to make the roster and contribute in 2013.