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 May 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 2014: the guys already on the team.
Last week, Tom took a look at the Cowboys' second-year players, about a month ago, we asked you to name your pet cats on the 2014 roster. Today, we're going to ask you to nominate your favorite for the 2014 Breakout Player. But before you start typing a response (e.g. "Terrance Williams, Sukkaz!") there are some rules you need to follow. 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
• Entered the NFL between 2011 and 2013
• Fewer than five career games started
The criteria outlined above are based on the Football Outsiders Top 25 Prospects list, which they release every year ahead of the season, and in which they nominate the 25 players they think are most likely to have a breakout year. Last year, FO didn't have Cowboys player making their top 25, though Ronald Leary and James Hanna both got honorable mentions. The Cowboys got 16 starts from Leary, and eight starts from Hanna last year. If they can get more production like that this year out of the ranks of their under-the-radar, lower-drafted prospects, then that would be a big success.
The table below 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. Note that every single on of the players listed here as less than five career NFL starts. You may consider some of the players established veterans and wonder why anybody would call them under-the-radar players. Simple: as measured by career starts, none of them is more than a role player. Yet.
|Name||POS||NFL Years||Games||Games Started|
|NFL Starting Experience|
|NFL Game Experience|
|No NFL Experience|
From this list, who do you think could be the 2014 Breakout Player for the Dallas Cowboys?