Week seven in the NFL is complete! We are beginning to learn who the contenders are, while our Cowboys look to make a push in both the division and the playoff race.
Dallas is hoping to gain some production from a talented rookie class as the season progresses. I graded the rookies through the team’s first five games of the season last week. You can read that right here, in case you missed it.
Chidobe Awuzie didn’t play, but a certain rookie quarterback did. Jerry Jones continues to believe in Taco Charlton. Is Jourdan Lewis CB1? Let’s take a look at how the rooks performed in week seven!
Despite all of the criticism Taco Charlton receives on a daily basis, the Cowboys coaching staff continues to stick with their first-round selection. Charlton, who received an F in my grades, has yet to do anything this season. Yes, it typically takes a while for edge rushers to adjust to the NFL game, but Taco simply has not showed anything to get excited about so far this season.
Yet, Jerry Jones continues to express belief in the 28th selection of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Jerry Jones, “We like the progress Taco (Charlton) is making. I think you will continually see that we were right” #DallasCowboys— Troy Hughes™ (@TommySledge) October 22, 2017
While Taco did not exactly jump off of the screen on Sunday, he finally showed a little bit of promise (maybe?) for the first time this season when he defended a pass and made a tackle. Charlton played only eight snaps back in week five, but the coaching staff opted to choose him over Damontre Moore and Benson Mayowa in week seven. Taco played a career high 37 snaps against the 49ers.
I found this interesting:
Notable Edge Grades by PFF:— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 23, 2017
Solomon Thomas: 61.5
Taco Charlton: 67.9
Noah Spence: 52.7
Frank Clark: 49.1
Bud Dupree: 44.4
Will we see some growth from our first-round draft selection in the second half of the season?
Chidobe Awuzie may be the most talented rookie in this draft class. The former Colorado Buffalo played all over the defensive side of the field during his collegiate days for head coach Mike MacIntyre and defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt at Boulder.
Unfortunately for Auwize, the second-round draft pick has yet to fight off the injury bug. Chido has been dealing with nagging injuries dating back to training camp, and he has yet to shake them off. 33 left both the Broncos and the Packers games early, while also missing both week three and week four against the Cardinals and Rams.
Awuzie has held out again in week seven as he continues to battle his hamstring injury. Will Chido be healthy enough to be a factor as the season progresses?
Jourdan Lewis has simply been the gem of the 2017 draft class for the Dallas Cowboys. He has been an instant impact player for the defense dating back to his interception in his first career game back in week two, and Lewis has quickly earned the trust of the coaching staff. The Nolan Carroll release only reaffirmed that. I gave Lewis an A for his performance thus far:
Jourdan Lewis fell in the 2017 draft due to his size (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) and off-the-field concerns. The Cowboys are very fortunate that such a talent fell to them at the end of day two. Lewis has been one of the Cowboys’ best players on the defensive side of the ball this season. His ability to tackle in the open-field, defend on the outside, and compete on every snap has quickly made him a fan-favorite.
Lewis again saw a lot of action this past Sunday. The rookie corner played 58 snaps in the Cowboys’ blowout win against the Niners, second only to Anthony Brown at the position. Lewis wrapped up four tackles and again looked solid in his fifth game on the professional level.
By the way: Jourdan Lewis still playing good football. Byron Jones was also good today.— Bobby Belt (@BobbyBeltTX) October 22, 2017
Jourdan Lewis is going to be a star. https://t.co/DxofAdRGRj— Jonah Tuls (@JonahTulsNFL) October 22, 2017
I get excited more and more about Jourdan Lewis each and every week.
Switzer received a C in my grades last week. He has shown that he is talented in the return game, but his costly fumble against the Rams that changed the landscape of the game has hurt his stock a little bit. The Cowboys selected Switzer in hopes of him becoming the team’s primary kick and punt return man while also developing into a quality slot receiver alongside Cole Beasley.
However, we have yet to see Switz utilized much in the offensive game plan thus far this season. He has occasionally been used on jet sweeps, as he was once again on Sunday, and even lined up in the backfield back in week three; but, Switz only saw a total of eleven snaps — which is his career high on the offensive side of the ball — on Sunday.
Will we see more of Ryan Switzer moving forward?
Much like both Awuzie and Lewis, Xavier Woods was thought to be a guy to be a big contributor for this defense this season. While he has played well in the action he has gotten, the coaching staff has yet to fully commit to the sixth-round selection over a veteran like Jeff Heath.
Unfortunately, Woods only saw 15 snaps on the defensive side of the ball against the 49ers. Still, though, Woods continues to impress when given the opportunity.
Cowboys in Cover 1: Xavier Woods shows off impressive range. Beautiful play from the rook. Hard to beat DAL deep with XW playing single-high pic.twitter.com/ucQuIvyhHO— John Owning (@JohnOwning) October 24, 2017
So @dallascowboys y'all gonna let Xavier Woods start or nah?— Patrick Conn (@DraftCowboys) October 22, 2017
Was that Xavier Woods as the single high on that play?? I think it may have been.— K.D. Drummond (@KDDrummondNFL) October 22, 2017
The biggest play of the day for Woods was actually on special teams. Fellow defensive back Kavon Frazier made a huge play by stripping San Francisco’s Trent Taylor on a punt returner following a quick three-and-out. Xavier Woods was right there for the critical recovery that ultimately led to an Ezekiel Elliott touchdown.
Woods looks to be a big time player as he continues to learn and adjust to the NFL game. I agree with Jordan, play Xavier more!
As great as that win was, we still saw WAY too much of Jeff Heath on DEF and WAY too little of Xavier Woods.— Jordan Ross (@CHQ_Jordan) October 23, 2017
Noah Brown was activated on Sunday. The seventh-round selection appeared in his fourth game on the professional level in week seven.
Brown did not record any stats in the box score, but he made a big time play that should not be overlooked. Remember Zeke’s 72-yard score? Check out the block that helped him reach the end zone:
Rookie Noah Brown's block on the edge sealed a lane for Zeke to score on the screen. pic.twitter.com/GLV9NeoFug— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 23, 2017
All-22: Here is the 72-yard Ezekiel Elliott screen reception for a TD. pic.twitter.com/RzQzEXNXvk— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 24, 2017
These plays won’t appear in the stat sheet, but man, these are the kind of plays that are so critical in the grand scheme of things. Shout out to Noah!
Good call, Zeke!
Yes, Cooper Rush makes his first appearance on the rookie report!
Some news broke just ahead of Sunday’s action:
The undrafted rookie was finally promoted to the 46-man roster in week seven — a move that many, many Cowboys fans have been awaiting since Rush’s stellar play throughout the preseason. The staff opted to go with Rush over veteran Kellen Moore behind the face of the franchise, Dak Prescott.
Once the game was all but over, Dak and the starters were pulled to avoid any unnecessary injuries. Rush entered the game and quickly made a highlight play when he carried the ball for 15-yards and a first down!
Our own RJ Ochoa wonders if Rush is finally the team’s QB2..
What was all the more interesting, Rush actually got in the game. Now he only threw two passes, he did pick up 13 yards on the ground, but there’s an assumption now that Rush is the entrenched backup to Dak Prescott.
What if he’s not, though? What if the Cowboys were anticipating blowing out San Francisco and wanted reps for Rush? That’d be somewhat diabolical, kind of awesome, and somewhat brilliant.
Here’s hoping the staff continues to roll with Rush behind Dak; because, well, those are clearly the two best quarterbacks on the roster.
Which rookie has excited you the most, BTB?