Which Cowboys Player From The 2012 Roster Will Be The 2013 Breakout Player?

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

The second NFL year can be a break-out party for talented NFL players. For some players, that breakout doesn't happen until their third or fourth years in the league. Who will be the Cowboys Breakout Player in 2013?

Since January, we've focused almost exclusively on the new talent the Cowboys acquired, first via free agency in March, then via the draft in April and most recently via the college free agent signings. And while it's great fun to contemplate what all these shiny new toys will bring to the Cowboys, it's also easy to lose sight of another great source of talent for the Cowboys in 2012: the guys already on the team.

It is a widely held belief that NFL players take a quantum leap in performance from their rookie season to their second season. After all, they've been through their first full season, they've been through a full NFL-level offseason strength & conditioning program, they're hopefully a little more mature, and they've had ample time to improve their technique. But that belief usually only applies to higher-round draft picks. For bottom-roster guys, that leap in performance sometimes doesn't happen until their third or fourth year in the league - if at all.

Late last week, we asked you to name your pet cats on the 2013 roster. Today, we're going to ask you to nominate your nominee for Breakout Player for 2013. But before you start typing a response (e.g. "The Fredbeard, SUKKAHHZZZ!") you can only select players that fit very specific criteria

Every year ahead of the season, Football Outsiders release their list of Top 25 Prospects, and in which they nominate the 25 players they think are most likely to have a breakout year. To qualify as a Breakout Player, the following criteria must be met:

• Drafted in the third round or later, or signed as a college free agent
• On the Cowboys roster in 2012
• Entered the NFL between 2010 and 2012
• Fewer than five career games started

One player who meets all those criteria is Matt Johnson, who gets my nod for 2013 Breakout Player. A day after he was drafted last year, I wrote a post titled "Matt Johnson will turn heads in the NFL." I see no reason why that prediction shouldn't come true this year. For those few who've forgotten all about "The King Of Pop", here's a picture Johnson recently tweeted of himself in training camp last year:

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The table below lists all the qualifying players who meet the criteria outlined above and from which you can pick your 2013 Breakout Player for the Dallas Cowboys. The table is split into three categories: Players who have started at least one game, players who have played in at least one game and players who have done neither.

Name Age POS NFL Years Games Games Started
NFL Starting Experience
Barry Church 24 S 3 31 4
Sterling Moore 22 CB 2 11 3
James Hanna 23 TE 1 16 2
Jermey Parnell 26 OT 2 16 1
Alex Albright 24 DE 2 30 1
NFL Game Experience
Dwayne Harris 25 WR 2 23 0
Phillip Tanner 24 RB 2 22 0
Tyrone Crawford 23 DT 1 16 0
Lance Dunbar 22 RB 1 12 0
Kevin Kowalski 23 OC 2 12 0
Kyle Wilber 23 DE 1 10 0
Cole Beasley 23 WR 1 10 0
Rob Callaway 24 DT 2 2 0
Ben Bass 23 DT 1 2 0
David Arkin 25 OG 2 1 0
No NFL Experience
Danny Coale 24 WR 1 0 0
Matt Johnson 23 S 1 0 0
Caleb McSurdy 23 LB 1 0 0
Ronald Leary 24 OG 1 0 0
Darrion Weems 24 OT 1 0 0
Tim Benford 23 WR 1 0 0
Micah Pellerin 24 S 1 0 0
Brandon Underwood 26 S 1 0 0

From this list, who is your nominee for the Dallas Cowboys 2013 Breakout Player?


More reading:

Draft Grade: Safety J.J. Wilcox

For The Dallas Cowboys, In Kiffin They Trust

Dallas Cowboys 2013 Roster: We Want Your Pet Cats!

Five Training Camp Battles For The Cowboys On Offense

Cowboys 2013 Draft: Spending Resources To Make "12" Personnel Dream a Reality

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