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Grading all the Cowboys’ draft picks post-Hall of Fame game: Plenty of room for improvement

How did the rookies fare in their first preseason action and taste of the what’s to come in the NFL?

NFL: Pro Football Hall of Fame Game-Arizona Cardinals vs Dallas Cowboys Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time again to look at the progress reports for the Cowboys’ rookies after some got their feet wet in the Hall of Fame game. How did these young players fare on their missions to “earn the star”? Quickly a reminder for how we grade:

[How we grade:

Outstanding- player(s) that really stood out with playmaking abilities

Good- player(s) that had solid performances with high potential shown

Fair- player(s) that flashed potential but need more opportunities to improve

Poor- player(s) that are failing to develop or playing poorly

Incomplete- player(s) that haven’t been mentioned, unknown commodities, Non-participants]

Taco Charlton- Fair

Cowboys’ Twitter timelines would make you think that Taco Charlton is a bonafide bust. It was literally his first preseason action but folks are so quick to label a player in a limited number of snaps. He made some mistakes like trying desperately to make his spin move work to no avail. He also showed some flashes of great leverage and ability as a run defender. He did’t get to the quarterback and that’s what critics will ultimately use because he’s the first-round pick.

Again, Taco Charlton had 16 snaps, which amounted to basically a quarter of play. He's done some good things in practice and it didn’t translate to this game very much. He’ll undoubtedly get a chewing from Rod Marinelli who said he “wasn’t good enough”. Still, he doesn’t deserve the overreaction he’s getting. Don’t be so quick to throw that ‘B’ word around after one week of practice and one preseason game in.

Chidobe Awuzie- Good

Awuzie started out struggling as did the entire Cowboys’ defense with Blaine Gabbert getting the best of them. However, as the game wore on Awuzie got better, showing that he's a quick learner. He made it tougher on Gabbert in the second quarter contributing to the Cardinals offensive struggles.

He played tight coverage, off coverage, and almost got an interception. He made a heads up play to jump the route but couldn’t come away with it, settling for the pass breakup. He ended up with only two tackles on the stat sheet but overall, it was a solid first outing.

Jourdan Lewis- Incomplete-Did Not Participate

Lewis is part of the hamstrung club and didn’t participate in the game. The team is hopeful that he’ll get back into practice after this weekend’s Hall of Fame festivities. A lot of coaches are very excited to see what he can do but he awaits a re-evaluation on his hamstring.

Ryan Switzer- Incomplete- Did Not Participate

Last week’s rookie report was good for Switzer as he was looking like a player that was uncoverable. We mentioned that he came up lame with a hamstring last week as well. His hamstring isn’t considered anything that will hinder him long-term and he may get back on the field this week. The Cowboys will re-evaluate Switzer and make a determination but they will exercise caution. Hamstring injuries are very common in the NFL but they’re also very delicate situations.

105.3 The Fan’s Mike Fisher spoke from his knowledge of Switzer’s situation basically saying the Cowboys’ already trust his abilities. They’re not likely to push him too hard as the coaches have big plans for the fourth-round pick.

Xavier Woods- Fair

Woods was projected to get some ample playing time in this game but didn’t see action until the fourth quarter. In limited action, Woods was able to force Trevor Knight to get rid of the ball. He showed that incredible closing speed too but he whiffed on a tackle that ended with Jameill Showers lowering the boom on the guy. We need to see much more playing time for Woods over the next few weeks.

Marquez White- Good

White only recorded one tackle but his coverage was very solid for his first game. He showed the ability to stick to his man and hold his guy in check. He didn’t get battered at all and just did his job, except for one play when he let a receiver get loose for a pretty good gain. The one good play that got him noticed was a simple go-route where he forced an incompletion:

White played well but he’ll need to make more plays to solidify a spot on the roster. There were at least two-three dropbacks where the Cardinals’ quarterback quickly checked out of throwing his way.

Noah Brown- Fair

It wasn’t a great night for BTB’s fan favorite as he failed to record a single reception. He was outshined by Andy Jones but he did force a pass interference and had a really good block on another play. Like Taco, he wasn’t good enough in his debut but wasn’t playing poorly either. Only three passes came his way all night. One was a DPI, another was a poor pass by Kellen Moore that was picked off in the end zone, the last one was overthrown and overshadowed by a holding call on the offense. He didn’t exactly get many opportunities.

Joey Ivie and Jordan Carrell- Poor

Both of these seventh-rounders struggled against the Cardinals’ offensive linemen. Neither one of them really showed much penetration and it was evident with how they were being pushed off the ball. Ivie and Carrell only recorded two assisted tackles.

Carrell started the game but was bullied by the Cardinals’ ball carriers. Ivie was called with a penalty. They’ve haven’t seen many mentions in practices but also didn’t do much to help themselves in their first preseason game. It’ll be extremely hard for them to push through at defensive tackle.

Overall, it was a mixed bag for the draft picks, they were often outplayed by other guys on the roster. Damontre Moore played better than Taco but they had almost no help from the defensive tackles. The only two players that stood out were the two rookie cornerbacks. It’s the first of five preseason opportunities, it also ended with a win but there is clearly room for improvements.

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