5 third-year Cowboys who desperately need to prove themselves

The Dallas Cowboys engage in a continuous talent acquisition process, with roster churning that never ends. 
Dec 24, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA;  Dallas Cowboys safety Israel Mukuamu (24) celebrates with
Dec 24, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys safety Israel Mukuamu (24) celebrates with / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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4. Josh Ball

Prior to the 2021 NFL Draft, Marshall's Josh Ball had an outstanding senior campaign. His scouting report was exceptionally positive. 

Ball was identified as having the right size, potential, and athleticism to be an NFL starting right tackle. Ball's character concerns were well-documented. Dallas appears to have done their research on him and chose him accordingly.

With his 6-foot-8, 304-pound frame, Ball looked every bit an NFL tackle. There were many similarities between his physical profile and that of right tackle Terence Steele. In terms of their physical attributes, the two are very much alike, with similar mass, length, strengths, and weaknesses. 

When comparing Ball and Terence Steele's development after college, I thought Ball was further along. Others shared my assessment of him. Josh Ball earned high praise from both Dane Brugler of The Athletic and Draft Guru Brandon Thorn during the draft. 

Ball's rookie season turned out to be unproductive as he didn't play a single snap in 2021. He made his debut in 2022. When Steele got injured during the mid-December game against Houston, the Dallas Cowboys relied on Ball to step up.

Despite some struggles in pass protection, Ball displayed dominant run-blocking abilities. I've observed something very similar to Terence Steele's performance. The advantage that Steele has gained is because he was thrown into the deep end in 2020. Dallas lacked options in 2020 but is now setting its sights on loftier and realistic targets for 2023. 

The Football Scout provides a great video analysis of Josh Ball's performance in the Texans game. This is highly recommended and worth ten minutes of your time.

The positive thing for Ball is his head coach doesn't let external opinions affect him. While others demanded his dismissal, he stood by Steele. 

 “I thought Josh Ball has some good snaps,” McCarthy said. “He had two plays that were big plays for Houston, but other than that he graded out well. He’s made a lot of progress throughout the year.”

His rookie year was a complete loss, hence... patience is required. There's a chance that Dallas has discovered a player here.