The Dallas Cowboys have won consecutive games — both by double-digits — after a slow start to the season, which is good news as the Cowboys continue this crucial stretch of games against playoff-caliber teams. Dallas came out on top in sloppy conditions in D.C., but now they have the challenge of taking on the talented Kansas City Chiefs — possibly without Ezekiel Elliott — back at home in AT&T Stadium.
But, how did the rookies perform in week eight?
With Kellen Moore on the practice squad, Cooper Rush again made the 46-man roster! Chidobe Awuzie, though, was the lone rookie not to suit up for the Cowboys in D.C., as he continues to deal with lingering injuries. Other than that, every other rookie made an appearance on Sunday. Let’s take a look at each!
Taco Charlton has been under heavy scrutiny ever since the night that the Cowboys opted to go with him with the 28th overall selection of this past April’s draft. The Michigan Wolverines product showed some flashes of becoming a player during the preseason against team’s two’s and three’s, but Charlton has yet to show anything worth getting excited about when battling starting-caliber offensive linemen. Once the opposing lineman prevents him from utilizing his signature spin move, Taco is pretty much shut down for the remainder of the play.
Plays like this make fans frustrated and understandably so. On one hand, we are not yet to the halfway point of his debut season; on the other, Taco just hasn’t showed any growth in the playing time that he has received.
Taco Charlton is out there playing on a slip 'n slidepic.twitter.com/b324h9Ha4K— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) October 29, 2017
Taco nearly made his first highlight of his professional career on Sunday. The rookie dropped back in coverage, read Kirk Cousins’ eyes, and just missed out on his first career interception.
Almost the biggest play of Taco Charlton's young career... pic.twitter.com/VuelF01WGX— Pat Doney (@PatDoneyNBC5) October 29, 2017
It just wasn’t to be.
Jourdan Lewis has largely been a bright spot for not only this rookie class, but also the defensive unit as a whole. The Cowboys’ third-round pick grabbed his first career interception against the Broncos back in week two, tackled Todd Gurley in space in week four, and held his own against the Packers’ talented receivers corps in week five.
Lewis has quickly earned the coaching staff’s trust, which was a big factor in why the team decided to part ways with Nolan Carroll. I gave him an ‘A’ grade for his performance through the first five weeks of the season and many are already calling him CB1 for the Cowboys — especially with all of Anthony Brown’s struggles.
27 didn’t have his best game on Sunday. He only recorded one total tackle, and he missed a tackle that kept a drive alive for the Redskins. Here’s hoping Lewis is able to bounce back in normal weather conditions back home in Arlington in week nine.
Ryan Switzer was brought into Dallas to relieve Lucky Whitehead of kick and punt return duties. The Cowboys wanted more explosiveness from that position, and Switzer seemed to be the ideal candidate to make that happen. After all, he was a historically great return man during his time playing for the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Unfortunately, Switz has yet to showcase his ability back there. He has had some solid returns during the season, but he has also had some head-scratching plays — most notably his game-changing fumble against the Rams in week four.
Switz had some more head-scratchers on Sunday. First, the rookie allowed a punt to go over his head instead of catching the ball and saving some precious field possession.
Ryan Switzer fails to catch punt. pic.twitter.com/psgvk6PA5Z— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 30, 2017
Then, he did it again.
Ryan Switzer punt return No.2. pic.twitter.com/tAZ8rvc53r— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 30, 2017
Yet, those may not even compare to when he returned a kickoff only to make the decision to take a knee on the fourteen yard-line. Yeah, I’m not too sure what was going through his mind here.
Switz did haul in a catch from Dak Prescott for seven yards, but he did not exactly have the best game at all. He needs to improve, especially with Cole Beasley dealing with a concussion.
Many have been banging the table to start Woods over Jeff Heath. BTB’s own Dave Halprin even wrote on that subject during the bye week. The young rookie has flashed talent in many different instances this season, but the staff has yet to trust him more than 38.
Woods played okay on Sunday. The sixth-round pick was third on the team in total tackles (five) and solo tackles (four) against the Redskins. On the other hand, Woods did miss a tackle that would have otherwise ended the game on a drive that the Redskins would eventually score and cut the Cowboys lead down to seven.
Noah Brown did not show up in the stat-sheet, but he continues to make the 46-man active roster. That in itself is big news for the seventh-round selection. Brown has been able to showcase his blocking ability for the Cowboys, most notably when he helped lead Ezekiel Elliott to the end zone last week against the 49ers. Brown continuously making the active roster can only mean good things moving forward.
Which rookie played the best in week eight, BTB?