Dallas Cowboys’ safety Jeff Heath has evolved into an asset. Hunger has helped him become better than teammates Byron Jones, J.J. Wilcox and Barry Church.
“Starting from the bottom, almost there!” I am working on that Drake remix, just be happy you’re reading this because my singing voice is worse than my articles! With the NFL, starting from the bottom is the goal because it would mean the Dallas Cowboys were the Super Bowl champions. Of course, I’m talking about the upcoming 2017 NFL draft.
The NFL’s system of parity is encouraged by helping the best teams of the previous season draft last. This year the Cowboys draft 28th. In the opinion of most, players found at the bottom third of the first round usually have second round talent. I still believe that most rookies selected in the first and second round should be starters.
Many general managers believe that it takes players at least three years to transition from college to the NFL. What you see in a player’s third year is what you’re going to get for the rest of their career. That’s it. Their mysterious – potential – factor is depleted. To be fair in player evaluations, I start reviewing most players in their third year with some exceptions.
The worst player in the Cowboys secondary is also, in my never humble opinion, their worst first round draft pick historically. It’s no surprise that I’m talking about safety / cornerback Byron Jones. The first clue for Cowboy Nation should have been that he played at the University of Connecticut. Jones is the second player from U-Conn aka We got Conned, selected in the first round of the NFL. I’ve written it once, I’ll write it a thousand times – a good broad jump doesn’t make a good NFL secondary player.
The plus side is the progression of former whipping boy, safety Jeff Heath. After a disastrous rookie season where he was continuously exposed while on the field, Heath developed on special teams and studied.
There’s just something special about undrafted free agents that get signed on a team. They work hard to develop their craft. They realize that they were fortunate to just be on the roster. They never take anything for granted. Most don’t get spoiled after they sign a big contract while injured.
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They stay hungry to prove that they are better than a rookie fourth round draft pick that was lucky enough to get paired with the best running back and offensive line and pro bowl weapons at tight end and wide receiver. They become elite at their position and end up throwing for 34,183 yards
and 248 touchdowns. They single-handedly turn mediocre teams damaged by mediocre draft picks and front office mismanagement into contenders.
That hunger has helped Heath become better than Jones. First, Heath brings the wood like safety J.J. Wilcox. I’m not celebrating injuries, but Heath knocked Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette out for the season in 2015 with a clean hit.
Jones has one fluke career interception on a hail mary pass. Do we seriously have to count those? Jeff Heath has – not one, not two, not three – but four career interceptions. Real interceptions off first round quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers and Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Heath is an asset in the secondary and if he played near the line, he could have more tackles than safety Barry Church.
Heath is the Cowboys MVP in the secondary. If the Cowboys released Wilcox, Church and Jones we’d be fine. Jeff Heath fills all those shoes but with a shorter broad jump. Laugh now.
Heath is matching the current production of his teammates with limited playing time. The kid’s productivity per second is unmatched. Based on my highly sophisticated projections & calculations, I estimate that given full time duties, Heath would average 51 interceptions and 2,391 tackles – PER GAME!
*Warning — Your numbers may vary.
Not only is it time to start that man… #PayTheMan.