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Five Bold Predictions, Post-Minicamp, For The Dallas Cowboys

With minicamp completed, a lot of players created buzz as to what they bring to the 2017 season. Based on what we have seen so far, here are five bold predictions.

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Now that mini camp is officially over there will be a lull in the action, this long hiatus of football leaves a lot of time for the mind to wonder. So let’s take a little step outside the box and look at some crazy possibilities based on what we’ve seen so far during camp. Keep in mind, these are bold predictions for a reason. If even one of these things holds true, it will be surprising.

#1 Rico Gathers gets cut and Noah Brown takes his spot at tight end

He might be your pet cat, but right now he’s in the doghouse. Picked late in the draft last year and hoarded on the practice squad, the former basketball star from Baylor is trying his darnedest to make the transition to tight end. Things have been a little rocky for him so far as he has struggled with the little things. The Cowboy are trying to capitalize on his size so they can create a mismatch to help exploit opposing defenses. Gathers is a big boy, but can he develop his football skills enough to carry out his assignments?

There are a few things working against him here. First and foremost, is his own progress. But beyond that, Cowboys seventh-round draft pick Noah Brown has had a good showing at camp. At 6’2”, 220 lbs and wearing number 85, he’s even been mistaken for a tight end. He is a good blocker and can be utilized on special teams so he’s got a real shot to make this team. And while many thought he could challenge Brice Butler for the #5 WR spot, Butler has been playing well also.

The Cowboys could end up keeping six WRs and cut loose one of their tight ends to make room. While Brown having that hybrid-type ability to block and catch passes, he could end up being more valuable to the offense than Rico.

#2 Damontre Moore is the team’s starting right defensive end

Taco Charlton was selected with the 28th overall in hopes to be the Cowboys right defensive end. While he might eventually get there, he’s more comfortable from the left side. Join the club. The team has a surplus of LDE’s but are scratching and clawing for a legit RDE. That role went to Benson Mayowa last year and he led the team in sacks, but it could be another former Seattle Seahawks edge rusher who gets the nod this season.

Damontre Moore is off to a good start. He’s the one player that is challenging Tyron Smith the most. The cast-off defensive end has had character issues where his work ethic and attitude have come in question. Those haven’t been factors thus far in Dallas and if he continues to play with this type of mental focus, he has a chance to unleash some of that potential.

I’m not alone on this as some other fans are thinking the same thing.

#3 Chidobe Awuzie gets moved to safety

The Cowboys second-round draft pick has been playing well so far in camp. The way he’s been performing, he’s on pace to be a solid starting corner for the Cowboys. But there are several corners who should be able to hold down starting spots for the defense. The same is not true of the safety position. Right now if you were to rank the top eight defensive backs, six of them would be corners (Orlando Scandrick, Anthony Brown, Nolan Carroll, Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and even Marquez White), leaving Byron Jones and Jeff Heath as the two safeties. Rookie Xavier Woods has been quiet so far. That’s not to say he still can’t emerge, but all three of the rookie corners have shined. Both Awuzie and Lewis have been as good as advertised. The long arms of White has helped him break up some passes in team drills and that has put him on the radar.

The Cowboys have a lot of options at corner and you better believe they will find a way to put their best defensive backs on the field. That might include capitalizing on the depth at CB and sliding Awuzie over to safety.

Jeff Heath has been playing well too and his contribution are not to be discounted unless something fluky happens.

The Cowboys rely on plenty of snaps from the safety position. Last year, the safety to corner snap distribution was 47/53 which is pretty close to even. Byron Jones, Barry Church, and J.J. Wilcox all saw significant playing time last year. If the defense continues to use safeties at this rate, the need for a viable third safety is there.

#4 Joe Looney will be the team’s starting left guard

Right now, the favorites to fill the vacant guard spot are Jonathan Cooper and Chaz Green. They are the two players who got time running with the 1’s during minicamp, but both of these players have some things working against them. Cooper has bounced around as he’s struggled to live up to expectations. Fans are enamored by his first-round draft stock, but all that means nothing now. He’s got to show up and make plays. Green’s biggest obstacle has been his ability to stay healthy. And now he must make the transition from tackle to guard.

Looney has been held out of action because of a sore back, but he could end up being the most effective player once he returns. He logged 156 snaps last year and even worked himself into his own “Jumbo Joe” package. He was third on the depth chart last year which doesn’t sound flattering, but La’el Collins and Ron Leary were the guys ahead of him. They aren’t standing in his way now.

The best guard plays and Looney has just as good of a chance as the rest of them to win the job.

#5 Ryan Switzer will lead the Cowboys in targets for the month of December

Remember when a certain player got hurt last year and a certain fourth-round pick took his added opportunities and ran with them? Yes, we all have a very good recollection of how the Dak Prescott era began. But could lightening strike twice for the Cowboys? Rookie Ryan Switzer is a fourth round pick who is getting some great reps while Cole Beasley is resting his hamstring.

The Cowboys have a great receiving group. It’s hard for a rookie to just step in and start stealing targets. He will be just one of the many mouths Prescott will have to feed and there are some really good pass catchers ahead of him. But as the season progresses, watch out for this kid. He and Prescott will have some good chemistry towards the end of the season.

Of course some people have some big expectations from Switzer in the kicking game.

While some people can actually envision such a thing, it’s not so apparent just how much of a crazy-bold prediction this is. According to Pro Football Reference, only 15 Cowboys players have ever returned a punt for a touchdown. Only eight have done it twice. And only four players have returned three for scores. And this is throughout their entire career in Dallas.

If Switzer brings his affinity of returning punts to the house to Dallas, he should at some point become the teams all-time leader in punt return TDs.

Those are my bold predictions. What about you?

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