1. Jayron Kearse, S
For years, it has felt like the safety position was never a priority for the Cowboys front office. It was a position filled with rotational players, but never had a true stud who separated themselves. In the off-season, Dallas made an effort to sign a bunch of safeties, hoping one would stick. Jayron Kearse seemed to be at the bottom of that list.
Damontae Kazee and Malik Hooker were signed with the hopes that DC Dan Quinn could make them stars again and recapture their “glory days.” When Kearse signed a one-year deal in the offseason, he was talked about having great special teams value. That was it. Now, he has turned into a playmaker and a leader for this defense – potentially thanks to his good luck charm: Fruit Roll-Ups
Kearse is listed at 6′ 4″ 215lbs – a perfect frame for matching up with opposing tight ends. Even in the highlight above, Kearse carries tight end Travis Kelce, forcing a contested ball that ends in a great interception. Those are valued traits on any defense.
Kearse has played outside the safety position as well. He has been down in the box against the run, almost as a fourth linebacker. That fact is a significant reason why he leads the team with 95 tackles. He also has two interceptions, nine passes defended, and nine tackles for loss on the year.
There is a consensus among Cowboys fans and even head coach Mike McCarthy that Kearse should have been in the Pro Bowl. Well, if Kearse keeps up with his leadership and playmaking skills on the field, then Dallas can make a run for the Super Bowl, making his lack of a Pro Bowl selection not even matter.