2 rising Cowboys stars snubbed from PFFs all-breakout defensive team

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Dallas Cowboys v Jacksonville Jaguars / Courtney Culbreath/GettyImages

The Dallas Cowboys' roster is flush with talent on both sides of the ball.

Last year, the Cowboys sent seven players to the Pro Bowl -- including Micah Parsons, Zack Martin, CeeDee Lamb, Trevon Diggs, Tony Pollard, DeMarcus Lawrence and rookie KaVontae Turpin -- which was tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for the second most of any team not named the Philadelphia Eagles.

While Dallas' core is as deep and talented as any club, they've supplemented that by smashing the draft to ensure long-term success. There's a reason fans are so excited about the team's present and future.

With talent scattered throughout the roster, though, it's easy for some players to get overlooked. Malik Hooker is a great example of that.

It applies even more to the Cowboys' younger talent, and two rising stars on Dan Quinn's defense -- 2022 draft picks Sam Williams and DaRon Bland -- were snubbed from Pro Football Focus' 2023 all-breakout defensive team.

Cowboys' Sam Williams, DaRon Bland snubbed from PFF's all-breakout team

Looking at some of those names, it's pretty stunning not one of Williams or Bland sniffed PFF's breakout roster.

Perhaps they're of the mindset that Williams could struggle to produce in Dallas' crowded pass rush rotation. However, he's headed for a bigger role in year two and was quite the disruptor as a rookie in limited playing time.

Despite logging a 27% snap share, Williams accounted for four sacks, 10 tackles for loss, nine quarterback hits, a forced fumble and three recoveries. He posted a 74.4 pass-rush grade, via PFF, and totaled 22 pressures.

The Jets' Micheal Clemons managed 2.5 sacks and six QB hits while playing 29 percent of the defensive snaps, while the Ravens' David Ojabo appeared in just two games after he tore his Achilles at his Michigan pro day.

Ojabo certainly fits the bills of a breakout player, but Clemons over Williams? Given how they performed last year? That's a shocker.

As for Bland, one could argue he "broke out" as a rookie, but his arrow points higher than nearly every other corner from the 2022 class save the Browns' Martin Emerson, who made PFF's team, and the Seahawks' Tariq Woolen.

In year one, Bland's five interceptions were tied for the second-most of any defender. A number of players finished with six and five picks, and Bland was right there on the leaderboard despite not seeing the field in five of the first six games of 2022.

Bland was more disruptive than Trent McDuffie, who played 97% of the snaps last season for the Chiefs and Kaiir Elam (both first round picks), who was on the field almost 60% of the time for Buffalo as a rookie.

If nothing else, Williams and Bland should use this snub as motivation and give PFF a reason to regret not giving them their due respect.

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