The offseason is a long, grueling time for football fans -- Dallas Cowboys fans included -- and since content is hard to come by, the spotlight often falls on role players that happen to provide fun storylines.
But in the frenzy of intrigue, it can be hard to remember that they’re not the stars of the team. No matter how well any Cowboys players fare in the preseason, players who will make or break the 2023 season didn’t see the field in the preseason.
That being said, depth is absolutely crucial for sustained success in the NFL. And Dallas has been fortunate enough to stumble across some phenomenal depth pieces as the season draws closer.
However, let's tone down the expectations and be realistic about how some offseason stars will contribute and produce this season.
4. Juanyeh Thomas
No one burst onto the scene in training camp quite like Thomas. Mike McCarthy called him the most improved player on the roster just days after arriving in Oxnard, and the second-year safety from Georgia Tech never looked back.
He intercepted Trevor Lawrence’s second pass attempt in the Cowboys’ preseason opener against Jacksonville, all but locking up a roster spot he was already in heavy contention for.
The Cowboys safety group is among the deepest in the NFL. Thomas has impressed in coverage this preseason and certainly has physical tools — but it would take a drastic injury bug for Thomas to see meaningful playing time this year.
Where he can contribute, however, is special teams. He’s made special teams splashes in each of the last two preseasons, including a strong tackle on a safety free kick against the Seahawks. This should come as no surprise for a player who oozes athletic ability and led Georgia Tech in special teams tackles as a freshman.
Kelvin Joseph is no longer in the building. While it may not be Thomas in the open gunner spot — he didn’t line up there in the preseason — the door is open for a spot on the punt return and kickoff teams.