The Dallas Cowboys go into the 2017 season, as all teams do, with roster changes as they have lost quite a few players in free agency, and added some. While there is great opportunity to improve the roster through the NFL draft, the Cowboys hope a few of their current players will improve significantly next season. Let's take a look at which players on the roster have the greatest upside going into next season, excluding the obvious choices of guys who have already broken through like Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot, or blue-chippers like Jaylon Smith.
When David Irving plays well, he is an essentially unstoppable pass-rusher, something the Cowboys have sorely missed over the last few seasons. He reminded Dallas of his skill set against Tampa Bay last year and therefore he enters 2017 with a lot of pressure. He will have plenty of opportunity because he will either be a starter or the primary backup on the defensive line. With Rod Marinelli coaching and Irving entering a contract year, look for David Irving to be the biggest breakthrough star for the Dallas Cowboys this season. His talent is clear but it will require a series of strong performances before he can sign a large contract and become a household name across the NFL.
In the unbelievable 2016 draft coup, the Dallas Cowboys also selected little known Anthony Brown from Purdue in the sixth round. He was drafted to add depth to the cornerback position because at that time, Dallas was in the midst of re-signing Morris Claiborne to a one-year deal and giving Brandon Carr a pay-cut. Because of injuries, Anthony Brown stepped up to the challenge and had a very productive 2016 campaign. With the free agency departures of Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr, the Cowboys will depend heavily on Anthony Brown and expect him to further his game this season.
He’s now going to be a starter on the offensive line after spending time switching in and out with Ronald Leary. Collins possesses athleticism and nimble feet, to go along with his size. His pedigree was a first-round talent coming out of college and in limited time has shown the capacity to create big plays, especially when getting to the second level of the defense and in space. His challenge will be consistency, holding strong at the point of attack on the line, and providing solid pass protection. The talent is there, is the consistency?
Who are your breakout stars for the Cowboys in the 2017 season?