Recently, Bleacher Report ran an article predicting who the breakout player will be for each NFL franchise. There weren’t many limiting parameters as to who could be a candidate, just a player that is ready to take his game to a new level. It could be a rookie, or a veteran with plenty of games under their belt. They even mention DeMarcus Lawrence in their opening as an example of a 2017 breakout player.
Based on what the Dallas Cowboys’ young cornerback group showed on the field in the previous year, Jourdan Lewis flashed the most as a breakout candidate for the upcoming season.
As a boundary defender, Lewis mirrored receivers and didn’t allow too many big plays or much cushion for yards after the catch. He may have surrendered some touchdowns along the way, but it’s part of the learning process as a first-year player.
The Michigan product played 746 snaps during the previous term, which converts to a little more than 71 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.
That’s not a bad choice. The Cowboys young secondary performed well in 2017. Lewis was thrust into a starting role early on and didn’t falter. This year, he’s likely to be displaced as one of the outside corners and move to his more natural slot position. Byron Jones will likely man one corner while Chidobe Awuzie handles the other, allowing Lewis to slide inside.
Just talking about the Cowboys secondary brings to mind a whole group of potential breakout candidates. Byron Jones could see a career revival at corner. Awuzie could build on a fine rookie season and join the top-tier of corners. Safety Xavier Woods could become the center fielder the Cowboys have craved.
It doesn’t stop there. Elsewhere on defense, Leighton Vander Esch, if he wins the staring MIKE position, would be in line for a huge rookie season. Maybe 2018 is the year David Irving puts it all together and is consistently great for 16 games instead of just flashing it every so often. Let’s not forget about Taco Charlton. It’s true he was not good early in 2017, but as the games wore on he got better and better. It took DeMarcus Lawrence a while to truly reach his potential. Could Charlton see a huge leap in 2018?
On offense, the tight end position has two guys who have potential to take their game to a new level. Blake Jarwin has the Cowboys coaching staff excited, but can he translate that to the field? Then there is Rico Gathers, a guy who has been tantalizing the faithful for a few years. We know he has the athletic gifts to excel, we’re just waiting to see if he can turn that into action.
There are couple of rookie candidates on offense, too. Connor Williams has a chance to be the starting left guard and elevate the Great Wall of Dallas to new heights. Wide receiver Michael Gallup will be given the chance to make his mark with a wide open competition at wide receiver.
The Cowboys don’t have a whole lot of open battles for spots on the 53-man roster, but they certainly have a lot of young talent that could end up being stars by the end of the 2018 campaign.
Over to you BTB. Which player do you see as the most likely to take his game to a new level in 2018? Who will we be talking about after the season is over and thinking this guy is a star?
Who's your candidate for the Cowboys breakout player in 2018
This poll is closed
CB Jourdan Lewis
CB Byron Jones
CB Chidobe Awuzie
S Xavier Woods
LB Leighton Vander Esch
DT David Irving
DE Taco Charlton
TE Blake Jarwin
TE Rico Gathers
OG Connor Williams
WR Michael Gallup