The Dallas Cowboys rookie class came together on Thursday night and aided in the team’s must win over the Washington Redskins.
For a minute there, it appeared the Dallas Cowboys 2017 draft class might go down in infamy. With names like quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott and linebacker Jaylon Smith all part of what is already considered a legendary draft class from last season, this year’s crop of rookies in Dallas had to already live up to a ridiculous standard.
And for much of the season, these rookies have been rather forgettable. First round selection, Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton, has been largely ineffective as a developmental project. Colorado defensive back Chidobe Awuize, Dallas’ second round pick, has been severely limited this season due to injury.
After earning early rave reviews and being a possible candidate for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, third round selection Jourdan Lewis has cooled off in recent weeks. It appeared that the fact the former Michigan cornerback missed most of training camp and the entire preseason due to a hamstring injury has finally caught up to him.
Fourth round rookie wide receiver/special teamer Ryan Switzer appeared a bit shaky out of the gate, but has been making progress as a returner in recent weeks. Sixth rounder Xavier Woods impressed early but has had some consistency issues, as you’d expect from any first-year player. Especially one that was selected so late in the draft. But the Cowboys’ use of Woods as a back-up hasn’t really wavered, which says a lot about the young man’s abilities.
Finally, seventh round wide receiver Noah Brown out of Ohio State continues to play primarily as a run blocker from his position rather than a pass catcher. Although the Cowboys attempted to take advantage of that fact against the Redskins, throwing to him on an early screen. But Washington wasn’t fooled, and had two defenders on top of him as he caught the ball.
Speaking of the Thursday night’s matchup with their divisional foes, the Cowboys rookie class is starting to change their narrative after really stepping up their play in the team’s impressive 38-14 victory over the Redskins.
In only his second start of the season, Awuize recorded three total tackles and three pass defends in the much needed win. A hamstring injury sidelined the 22-year old defender for a total of six games this season. But the move to start “Chido” over a struggling Anthony Brown at cornerback this week now seems genius.
The shifty ball of energy that is Switzer finally broke out in this matchup. With Prescott in the Cowboys’ locker room getting X-rays on his throwing hand, the rookie returner was able to buy Dak some extra time by returning a punt 83-yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter. The score put Dallas up 17-0 and allowed Prescott to return without missing any time.
Finally, Charlton was able to record his second sack of the year. The Cowboys first round pick was also able to cause a fumble on the play. The 23-year old is slowly coming along, having recorded both of his sacks in the second half of the season.