The Dallas Cowboys have plenty of established stars on their roster, which makes things exciting for the upcoming 2020 season. Even with veteran players who are known talents, the Cowboys are a young team with several potential rising stars on the squad. Last year, one of those young players, MIchael Gallup, emerged as reliable NFL wide receiver. Gallup racked up a 1,000-yard season in just his second year in the league.
So, which Cowboys player is next in line to come out of nowhere and have a big season? Recently, Bleacher Report listed every NFL team’s biggest potential breakout player for the upcoming season, and this is who they chose for the Cowboys...
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis had a good 2019 campaign, finishing with 51 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions while manning the nickel back role. Lewis, a 2017 third-round pick out of Michigan, may get an opportunity to start on the outside in 2020.
This is because starting cornerback and 2018 Pro Bowler Byron Jones is scheduled to hit the free-agent market.
If Jones departs, Lewis could be given a shot at the starting job opposite Chidobe Awuzie. This could lead to a significant increase in playing time and breakout potential.
According to Football Outsiders, Lewis played just over 54 percent of the defensive snaps in 2019 while appearing in all 16 games. Awuzie and Jones were on the field for 94.6 percent and 85.4 percent of the defensive snaps, respectively—and Jones did not play in the season finale.
Lewis is a good candidate as he should see a larger role next year. While anything’s possible, it’s hard seeing the Cowboys letting Jones leave in free agency. He’s been a very strong player since making the full-time switch to cornerback in 2018. And if for some reason, he does depart, Lewis playing on the outside may not be the most ideal situation for him. What is more feasible is that Lewis takes over the slot corner position from Anthony Brown, who is also a free agent this year. Both Brown and Lewis are very capable slot corners.
Do you agree with Bleacher Report’s selection? Are there any other players you’d like to throw out there?
What about Dorance Armstrong? The edge rusher from Kansas will be entering his third season. He’s been slotted behind players like Robert Quinn, Tyrone Crawford, and even Taco Charlton and Randy Gregory in the past, so Armstrong’s opportunities have been limited. He played in just 27% of the defensive snaps (15th) his rookie season, but then saw a drop to 24% (18th) last year despite both Charlton and Gregory not playing. This was largely due to the additions of veterans Quinn, Kerry Hyder, and Michael Bennett, who all saw a heavier dose of snaps than Armstrong. All three of those guys are unrestricted free agents this offseason, so there’s a good chance that Armstrong moves up the depth chart this upcoming season.
The young pass rusher should also benefit from the addition of new defensive lines coach Jim Tomsula, who has a track record of developing young talent in the trenches. His most recent project was 2016 fifth-round pick Matt Ioannidis, who has proven to be a flexible defensive lineman for the Washington Redskins. Ioannidis has improved each year and he’s mustered up 16 total sacks over the past two seasons. That is more than any of the nine Cowboys defensive linemen they’ve drafted since 2016 have had in their entire career. Tomsula could be just the person to help Armstrong have a big season in 2020.
Another guy that has breakout potential is safety Donovan Wilson. He flashed during the preseason as he came up with three interceptions in four games of action. Unfortunately, an ankle sidelined him early, and when he finally got in the game, it was mostly just on special teams. Wilson only logged 16 total snaps at safety, with 12 of them coming in the Cowboys 44-21 blowout win over the Los Angeles Rams.
Wilson is a guy who has shown the ability to make plays, but will the new season provide additional opportunities for him?
Which Cowboys player do you think will have a breakout season in 2020?