The Dallas Cowboys are playing football on Saturday as they begin the first of their three preseason games this year. They’ll kick things off with the Denver Broncos after scrimmaging against them on Thursday. With the uniforms on and players hitting each other, it’s a great time to see how some of these young players perform. Here are ten players to keep an eye out for on Saturday.
The Cowboys' prize first-round draft pick has looked good in camp against some feisty interior defensive lineman. Now, he’ll get the opportunity to maul players from the opposing team and showcase his strength. We know the talent is there, but how quickly can he pick up on the mental aspects of the game to be an immediate contributor? This will be his first test to see if he remains on track to be inserted as the team’s starting left guard come the regular season.
Sticking with the offensive line, all eyes will be on second-year tackle Josh Ball as he enters the game as the team’s top swing tackle option. With teammate Matt Waletzko unavailable due to a shoulder injury, Ball is the guy. The team’s tackle situation is a little worrisome with Terence Steele not having a great camp and the often injured Tyron Smith always a play away from being shelved, so anything to give the team some reassurance at the backup tackle spot would be welcoming.
If the protection can hold up, we should be able to get a taste of what the Cowboys have to offer at wide receiver. There are a lot of young players who have done well in camp, and one of them is second-year receiver from Stanford, Simi Fehoko. We didn’t get to see much of him last year as he was used sparingly, but things are different now. Fehoko has been fantastic in camp and watching that translate to game action would make fans feel better about the wide receiver position group considering Michael Gallup will miss the first part of the season.
Fehoko isn’t the only receiver who will garner our attention as the UDFA flavor of the year belongs to Dennis Houston this season. Normally, the hype comes from a player with a unique skill set who makes a highlight catch or two in camp (cough, cough, T.J. Vasher), but with Houston it’s been his consistency that has been impressive and he has already shown good chemistry with Dak Prescott. These dreams die pretty quick when the no-name camp-star receivers disappear in preseason games, so it will be interesting to see if Houston can buck the trend.
Capping things off for the receivers is the team’s recent addition, KaVontae Turpin. The reigning USFL MVP is lightning quick and should be fun to watch in space. He should get a heavy dose of the return action, but any time he gets those legs moving, it’s going to be hard to contain our excitement. Can he flash enough to earn a spot on the team and be a legitimate weapon on the offense?
The rookie suffered a hamstring injury that caused him to miss some practice time, but he was back on the field this past week. He has shown good blocking ability in camp and he’ll need to continue to do so if he wants to earn playing time once the season begins. His reps might be limited due to his health, but we’ll have our eyes on him when he’s on the field.
The excitement for this UDFA came early for Bell and everything he’s done in camp thus far has allowed that excitement to grow. He has done a great job in coverage and is in a nice camp battle with second-year safety Israel Mukuamu for a roster spot. Can Bell keep it up and come up with big plays in preseason action? This would go a long way in shoring up a roster spot.
It’s easy to forget about the Cowboys' second-round pick of last year as Joseph has done little to impress so far. The notion that he would replace Anthony Brown on the outside is long gone as now Joseph is just trying to prove he deserves a spot on the team. He has the speed and he can make plays, but doing it consistently has been his bugaboo. He needs to have a good showing in preseason action.
While last year’s second-round pick has fizzled, the hype for their second-rounder this year remains strong. Williams is having a solid camp and he’s done well with the opportunities he’s been given. The team’s edge rushing rotation remains a mystery as there are a lot of different guys vying for reps, so it will be interesting to see how much noise the rookie makes in the preseason.
The Cowboys have a kicking problem and we are not sure how it’s going to play out, but if the elevated altitude of Denver can’t help these guys, nothing will. Whether it’s Liram Hajrullahu or Brett Maher, somebody nailing field goals would be a sight for sore eyes on Saturday.