The Dallas Cowboys have been preparing for the 2017 season and as training camp draws closer the team must solidify their starters for the upcoming season.
The Dallas Cowboys are heading into training camp with a roster that is full of promise and lofty expectations. The team should continue to find out who they can rely on for key roles on both sides of the football as the offseason rolls along.
The team will have to find out who will replace some key starters on the defensive side of the ball and those battles should continue well into camp. Here is a look at five players who could help the team take the next major step forward in terms of helping this team once again win a Super Bowl ring.
Jaylon Smith, Linebacker
Jaylon Smith is all that is on everyone’s mind this offseason. Smith was a top prospect heading into the 2016 draft before he suffered a major knee injury that derailed his career.
After sitting out for an entire season, rehabbing, Smith finally is looking like the player he was prior to the injury. If he can keep up that level of play and stay on the field, Dallas could have had the best value pick in the NFL draft in recent memory.
Smith was a second-round pick who should have technically been one of the first three players off of the board in the first round. If he can realize his potential, Smith has a chance to be a legendary player for this organization.
Ryan Switzer, Wide Receiver
The Cole Beasley injury situation looms large of the Cowboys newest receiver. Beasley is battling hamstring tendinitis and can play through the injury but is not the same player as when he is healthy.
Ryan Switzer could be targeted a lot more frequently than expected in Week One if the Cowboys decide to limit Beasley’s snaps. The team selected Switzer in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft and expect him to play a pivotal role on special teams however he will also lineup in the slot.
Switzer has jumped off of the page all throughout mini-camp as he has turned heads and raised expectations of just how important he will be to this team during the 2017 season.
He could also be the starting kick returner and that is what he is known for. Switzer could have the ability to get the Cowboys into favorable scoring position on practically every return or at least at the beginning of enough possessions to make a significant difference in how this team marches down the field. The fourth round pick’s role will continue to increase as he learns the flow of the offense.
Byron Jones, Safety
This is a big year for Byron Jones who is looking to take over the safety position especially with Barry Church gone. Church made some big plays for the team in 2017 and Jones will need to make up for the production that will be lost.
For him to live up to his first round grade he will need to show significant growth and the ability to be a playmaking starter for this secondary. Jones has dominated the competition all throughout mini-camp and should continue to be a disruptive force as the newly crowned leader of the Cowboys secondary.
Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis – Cornerbacks
Lewis and Awuzie both come into the NFL with second round grades and should be the favorites to make the biggest impact early on. The Cowboys have completely looked to rebuild their secondary and for good reason.
Two of the starting cornerbacks from last season (Morris Claiborne/Brandon Carr) left the team in free agency and now two talented rookies are in line to replace them. Awuzie is incredibly versatile as he can play not only cornerback but at either safety position as well.
He has shown great cover skills so far and could have the biggest impact out of any of the drafts picks the team has selected this season. Lewis is a true cornerback and quite possibly the best cover cornerback coming out of college this year.
Lewis will be a favorite to win one of the starting outside cornerback jobs especially if he can resolve his off the field issues before the season begins.
The Cowboys needed to invest some top tier picks into the secondary and these players are the seeds of their labor. Now all that is left is to see if they can produce on the field. In two years Lewis and Awuzie could easily have the two starting cornerback jobs locked up for the foreseeable future.