As you know, the Dallas Cowboys are coming off a dreadful performance that has many concerned about where this team is headed; so, we won’t spend too much time addressing that. With that said, America’s Team must be ready to go on Thanksgiving as the Cowboys host the Chargers while you gather around family and friends and eat turkey legs.
How did the rookies perform against the Eagles? Sure, it wasn’t a game that we would like to talk about too much, but the rookies made some plays in a big game which is encouraging moving forward. Backup quarterback Cooper Rush did make an appearance in garbage time, but the undrafted rookie finished 0-for-1 on the night. Blake Jarwin played last week, but the tight end was inactive in week 11. Other than that, though, the other seven rookies suited up on Sunday Night Football.
Let’s take a look at how each performed.
Taco Charlton has not lived up to the hype that many fans were hoping for when he was announced as the 28th selection of the 2017 NFL Draft. Taco impressed in the preseason, but the former Michigan defender has struggled mightily for much of this season.
Charlton did record his first career sack against Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs, but he has not really made an impact in any other game. Against the Eagles, Charlton had an opportunity to prevent a first down by bringing down Carson Wentz, but the Eagles’ quarterback broke the tackle and ran for more than enough to move the chains.
Wentz just turned Taco Charlton into ground beef— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) November 20, 2017
It was disappointing, as it was a chance for Taco to make a big play, but it was not all bad for the rookie. He was tied for the second most tackles on the team versus the Eagles (four) and made three solo tackles. Here was one encouraging play from Taco:
Nice play here by Taco Charlton. pic.twitter.com/7C9cx5fZWj— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) November 21, 2017
Maybe the rook will turn the corner down the stretch.
Chidobe Awuzie was a guy that many fans were instantly excited about once he was selected in the second round of April’s draft. Drew Pearson’s speech before the pick was announced had some to do with that, but Awuzie’s ability to play all over the defense (played linebacker, rushed off of the edge, and played all over the secondary for the Colorado Buffaloes) generated a lot of excitement.
Unfortunately, though, Chido has been hampered by injuries since training camp. He looked good during week one versus the Giants, but he injuries have really knocked him out of becoming a factor for this defense to this point in the season.
33 returned to the Cowboys’ active roster this past Sunday in a prime time battle with the Eagles. Not only did that game not go as hoped, but Awuzie did not see any defensive snaps on Sunday. He did the see field on special teams, but we are still awaiting for him to return to Marinelli’s unit. Here’s hoping Chido is able to make a full recovery and become a big player for this team during this crucial stretch of games.
Jourdan Lewis has been the best rookie for the Cowboys this season. That is not up for debate. He has been the team’s best corner, has an interception, is an impressive tackler in space, and has been up to the challenge each and every week. He isn’t perfect, but the talent he has is obvious. Here is one standout play he made on Sunday:
Ryan Switzer was brought into help the Cowboys offense score points. Not only was he an intriguing receiver prospect, the former North Carolina Tar Heels star was also one of the best punt returners in the history of college football. The Cowboys were hoping that he would help bring another boost to the team.
Switz has had his troubles during his rookie season, but he has also shown flashes of being an electrifying playmaker for America’s Team. He really put his talent to display right out of the gate on the opening kickoff:
Ryan Switzer's opening kickoff return pic.twitter.com/jHW4JcDKna— DemBoyzNation (@DemBoyzNation) November 20, 2017
Switzer had a total of four kick returns for 147 yards (36.8 yards per return) against the Eagles. I’m hopeful for continual improvement as the season progresses.
Xavier Woods has perhaps been the second-most impressive rookie for the Cowboys this season. The sixth-round pick has been an intriguing player for Dallas since he first stepped onto the field. Last week, he made an incredible diving interception that helped set up the only points of the day against the Falcons. Many have been calling for him to start over Jeff Heath at safety.
He got the chance on Sunday, as Heath was inactive with an injury. Not only did Woods play, but he was on the field for every single snap on the defensive side of the ball in a divisional match up!
He finished the game with five total tackles, four of which were solo. The fact he played every snap on defense shows the kind of trust that he has earned from the coaching staff. I am excited to see what Xavier Woods brings for the rest of the season.
The seventh-round draft pick has impressively been active for nearly every game for the Cowboys this season. Once thought to have a slim chance of even making the 53-man roster, Brown has certainly taken advantage of his opportunities.
The Ohio State product has been an impressive blocker, can make plays in the receiving game, and appears to be a great teammate as well. Brown made a nice play early in the game on a designed bootleg for Dak:
Great play design. We’ve seen so many variations of this and now we see a throw to Noah Brown off this variation. pic.twitter.com/HTa8BcetLT— Cowboys Nation (@CowboysNation) November 20, 2017
This is a play I would like to see more of, and it looks like it is a play that Brown is capable of making. He finished with just that catch for 14 yards, but it is nice to see Brown making plays when his number is called. I, personally, would love to see more of Noah Brown moving forward.
After making his professional debut last week, Lewis Neal again suited up for the Dallas Cowboys. The former defensive lineman for the LSU Tigers has been a pleasant contributor for the defense. Neal recorded a tackle for a loss and even hit Matt Ryan in his first NFL game. This week, he continued to be involved in plays.
All-22: Look at my guy Lewis Neal making a play vs the run! pic.twitter.com/YZVTtUWOwr— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) November 21, 2017
Neal finished Sunday night with two tackles and he was again credited with 0.5 TFLs. I am hoping to see more opportunities for the rookie lineman as he gains more and more experience with the Cowboys.
Which rookie has impressed you the most, BTB?