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Cowboys offense: One dark-horse candidate at each position who could move up the depth chart

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Once last chance to stake your claim on your favorites before training camp reveals the winners...so, who you got?

NCAA Football: Boise State at San Diego State Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Once training camp officially begins for the Dallas Cowboys, the reset button will be pressed and all these preconceived notions about how good this guy is versus that guy will be set aside as everyone will be given a fair shake to compete. Sure, we’ll still have our favorites, but let’s be real - anyone wearing the star is a guy we love to root for. So, before we have a clean slate with several weeks for conjure up new thoughts about certain players, here is one final show of support for some of the lesser-known players sitting on the bubble.

Let’s start this thing off with the offensive positions...

QUARTERBACK

Instead of Cooper Rush ...Mike White

It’s hard to describe how exciting it was to watch Cooper Rush play in the preseason last year. And all the time advocating for him over veteran Kellen Moore would suggest I’d be all-in with Rush as the team’s new backup quarterback going forward. But not so fast. The whole quarterback situation in this year’s draft was odd. Many of the top arms were taken on Day 1, but then teams just stop taking an interest. This allowed a few intriguing options to slide and the Cowboys pounced on one of them when they selected Mike White in the fifth round.

Reasons for loving White: He’s just a perfect fit in Dallas. The arm strength, the accuracy, his ability to mix up soft throws and fireballs. He’s the prototypical NFL quarterback and the only knock on him is his heavy feet and poor reaction under pressure. Well, guess what - he’s in Dallas, where good protection is available upon request.

RUNNING BACK

Instead of Rod Smith... Bo Scarbrough

First off, this needs to be said - Rod Smith is making the team, whereas the same guarantee cannot be said for Scarbrough. Smith is like a Swiss army knife for running backs. He can block, he can catch passes, he can run, and he can even play special teams. His versatility makes him a valuable piece to the roster. He’s no longer just Jaylon’s older brother.

But this is more about who is better suited for the number two running back in Dallas. While Smith is solid at many different things, Scarbrough brings a strong element to the Cowboys rushing attack - brute force.

Reasons for loving Scarbrough: If we’re looking for a guy to come in and get six to eight touches a game when Ezekiel Elliott is getting a breather, why not a runner that is going to punish tired defenders who can only muster the energy to arm tackle. His durability has lowered his stock, but he won’t be overextended in Dallas. And that type of role will keep him fresh and powerful when his number is called.

TIGHT END

Instead of Rico Gathers... Blake Jarwin

We could be approaching the time where the Cowboys wave the white flag with the Rico Gathers experiment. It’s fun to think of what he could be, but if the kid never learns to block effectively, then all he is - is just an over-sized, slow receiver.

While he doesn’t offer the size mismatch that Rico does, Blake Jarwin is the team’s best receiving tight end. And even though it’s not his strength, he does have the ability to execute blocks, making him one of the best in-line/receiving dual threat tight ends the Cowboys have.

Reasons to love Jarwin: He’s got good footwork and is sharp out of his routes. In an offense where his quarterback thrives when receivers are where they are supposed to be, Jarwin’s skills make him a solid target for Dak Prescott.

TRADE WATCH: Rico wasn’t a good blocker last season either, but it didn’t stop him from decorating the highlight reel in preseason. If the same type of thing happens this year and the Cowboys coaching staff just doesn’t think he’s well-rounded enough to hold down a roster spot, look for them to show off his receiving ability in hopes to entice trade offers.

WIDE RECEIVER

Instead of Noah Brown... Cedrick Wilson

Noah Brown is a fan-favorite and it is well deserved. His ability to block makes him a nice fit in the Cowboys offense. However, when it comes to what he offers as a receiver - there’s just not a lot to get excited about. The same is not true for rookie Cedrick Wilson. Both Brown (seventh round, 239th overall) and Wilson (sixth round, 208th overall) were taken late in the draft so sometimes there isn’t a whole lot of confidence about what they can add to the team, but we at BTB were high on Wilson. He was ranked 111th on our Big Board, just three spots after Dalton Schultz.

Reasons to love Wilson: He’s a good route-runner who changes up his speed to create separation. Wilson has the ability to lull defenders one way, only to kick it into that extra gear to get behind him. He’s got big playmaking potential and this offense needs a deep, vertical threat to keep defenses honest.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Instead of Marcus Martin... Kadeem Edwards

It’s really refreshing to know that the Cowboys have six strong offensive linemen on their roster. The additions of Cameron Fleming and Connor Williams really helps shore up the line. However, everything after that is murky. You have to figure the team will keep two more linemen on the roster, but who those players are is anyone’s guess. Can Chaz Green be fixed? Is Joe Looney’s colorful personality and Zeke impersonation enough to help mask a solid, yet mediocre skill set at guard?

Then there is free agent Marcus Martin who most people are predicting grabs one of the final roster spots. Martin is a former third-round pick and while he’s the new toy, there hasn’t been much about his progress thus far. Bryan Broaddus is a fan of Martin and that’s usually a good indication there is something good about him, but I’ve been sweet on Edwards since last year’s camp so I’m still leaning his way until given reason otherwise.

Reasons to love Edwads: Edwards has great size and moves pretty well. The tools are there, but he’s always been a guy that still needs work. Fortunately, he’s showing growth and he’s one of those right-kind-of-guys who can maximize his potential. Another year of development could help him get ready if one-year rental Cam Fleming departs after this season.


Which position groups do you agree with? Or maybe you have your own dark-horse player that should be ahead of both of them? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.