Who is the most under-appreciated player on the Dallas Cowboys? A good answer to that question might be someone like La’el Collins. It is a question based on a subjective measurement so answers are going to be all over the place depending on who you ask.
There are some ways to measure how great certain players are, but as you are likely aware you can find a statistic to tell just about any story that you want. NFL Media’s expert on statistics, analytics, and everything in between, Cynthia Frelund, recently took a stab at identifying the most under-appreciated player on every team and her answer for the Cowboys might raise your eyebrow.
NFL.com named Chidobe Awuzie as the most under-appreciated player on the Cowboys
If you asked people who the most disappointing member on the 2019 Cowboys was there would likely be a few hands raised for cornerback Chidobe Awuzie. Chido has yet to achieve real star status three years into his career, but he also has been a bust, either.
Perhaps this makes Chido the perfect candidate for the team’s most under-appreciated player. He’s solid, but people have really high expectations. Cynthia Frelund believes Awuzie deserves more props.
While Byron Jones’ free agency resulted in his departure from Dallas, the other Cowboys corner, Awuzie, has been far less talked about despite forcing 18 incompletions in 2019 (third-most in the NFL, per PFF). Defensive fronts and backfields influence each other’s efficiency levels, and the combination of Jones, Awuzie and the defensive front — DeMarcus Lawrence, specifically — created more value for all three than each individual would’ve had alone. This season, the Cowboys’ high-potential offense will likely require the defense to stop the pass in order to maximize its ability to play a complementary role. This means the coaching staff is likely trusting Awuzie will continue his levels of production from 2019, even replacing Jones with second-round rookie Trevon Diggs, who will have to be strong out of the gate.
Awuzie is entering a contract year with the Cowboys and to be fair he might see some of it at a position other than cornerback. There are many that think a move to safety could be prosperous for him, but the general idea here is that his talents at corner should be appreciated as opposed to contemplating how they could be utilized elsewhere.
I’d still argue that La’el Collins is the most under-appreciated Cowboys player as he doesn’t get elevated into Tyron Smith and/or Zack Martin territory (an admittedly difficult thing) despite being the best offensive lineman on the team last year, but there is certainly a worthy argument that the title belongs to Chidobe Awuzie.
What do you think?