The Sporting News just came out with their "All-Rookie" team, and it's no surprise that there was nary a Cowboy to be found.
To be honest, I can't recall the last time a Dallas Cowboy deserved to be any sort of All-Rookie team. Well, probably Ware in 2005 (8 sacks)...I'm not sure if Nick Folk was able to beat out Mason Crosby in 2007. Either way, it's not often when a Cowboy rookie comes in and not only plays right away, but plays well enough to get recognized with any sort of adulation or award (I do believe that the Cowboys have had three AP NFL Rookie of the Year winners, and they are all running backs - Calvin Hill '69, Tony Dorsett '77 and Emmitt Smith '90).
That said, this year's Cowboys rookie class has shaped up to be halfway decent, despite some of the more promising youngsters ending up the PUP list or on IR. So which first-year player would be your choice as the 2009 Dallas Cowboy Rookie of the Year? Here are my entrants, in alphabetical order -
David Buehler (5th round) - drafted as a kickoff specialist (which had me shaking my head in disgust), Buehler did not disappoint, leading the NFL in touchbacks with 29, which is also a new Cowboys franchise record. Buehler also impressed with his occasional kickoff coverage and great attitude. Let's not forget that he also suffered minor injuries in the practice facility collapse. Can Buehler make the leap to being the Cowboys regular kicker? That remains to be seen.
Victor Butler (4th round) - Butler blasted into our consciousness on a Monday night game against the Panthers when, on Carolina's last drive, he subbed for Ware and sacked Jake Delhomme twice and forced a fumble. Butler also had a clutch sack of the elusive Donovan McNabb witha shoe-string tackle late in the 4th quarter of a close game. Butler otherwsie did not get much playing time on defense, but saw some action on special teams.
Kevin Ogletree (free agent) - After an impressive training camp and preseason, Ogletree made the team as the 5th receiver. But he finished the year as one of the Cowboys' most promising young players, with clutch grabs against the Eagles and Saints, finishing with 7 receptions for 96 yards. Ogletree also returned some kickoffs and saw some time on special teams, including a wicked hit on an unlucky eagles player in the wildcard game . Ogletree did fumble the ball twice in his limited opportunities.
John Phillips (6th round) - Like many Cowboy fans, I was somewhat chagrined when the team drafted yet another tight end. But with Martellus Bennett getting banged up and not playing up to many of our expectation, Phillips has developed nicely into a capable blocking and receiving tight end. He had a huge game against the Saints, finished the season with 7 receptions for 62 yards, and caught a touchdown against the Eagles in the wildcar playoff game.
And for my money, Buehler in the Dallas Cowboys' 2009 Rookie of the Year. It's been said many times before, but his kicking leg improved the field position battle for the Cowboys immensely, and his kick-arse attitude has no doubt helped as well.