The preseason is officially over for the Dallas Cowboys and it was quite the three weeks.
With just over 14 days to go until it all counts for real the next task ahead for the organization is trimming this roster down to 53 players. There weren’t exactly 53 spots up for grabs when the team arrived in Oxnard weeks ago, but they have used everything from then to this point as part of the evaluation for or against players at different spots.
Friday night’s contest marked the end of the evaluation period and there were several players who saw their stock rise while a few saw theirs dip just a bit.
Here is our stock report for the preseason finale between the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks.
Stock Up: Sam Williams
To this point, we had not seen any real splash plays from rookie Sam Williams, but that all changed when he came through with a sack in the first half of the game.
One of the prevailing themes from the last couple of months has been the depth of the defensive line. If Sam Williams can come along throughout his rookie season then it will serve as a rising tide for all boats.
It is worth mentioning that the Seattle Seahawks approached this game in a different manner than the Cowboys and had their starters out there to a large degree.
Stock Up: Israel Mukuamu
If we had to pick a most valuable player from training camp then the competition is somewhat wide. My own personal vote would go to Anthony Brown. But if we had to pick a most valuable player from the preseason, it isn’t even close. Give it to Israel Mukuamu and be done with it.
When camp started it was fair to wonder if Mukuamu may have been out of a roster spot with how deep the Cowboys are at safety (what world are we living in?). He has more than cemented his spot on the team. He needs to be a significant contributor. It is great to see him coming into his athleticism at the NFL level.
Stock Up: DaRon Bland
There was a touchdown that came against Bland against Seattle, but even that was not completely his fault as much as it was just an incredible throw.
For the most part, Bland continued his exemplary preseason. It is difficult to continue to impress when you have already made a name for yourself but somehow Bland is managing to do so.
It felt a bit premature to say that he was this team’s fourth-best cornerback after Trevon Diggs, Anthony Brown, and Jourdan Lewis, but it feels impossible to deny that anymore. We will see what happens with Kelvin Joseph as he was ruled out of the game with a concussion that came very early on and Nahson Wright has obviously struggled, but DaRon Bland is looking like quite the find.
Stock Up: Nahshon Wright
While Nahshon Wright has struggled for weeks and even did so early on in this game... he also had an interception!
Look, I’m not making the case that Wright is suddenly worthy of extreme praise. But he needed to have a big moment on Friday night and made one happen.
Corner is an interesting spot on the roster and Wright has played like someone who may have found themselves off of it before. Putting him on the team just because of this interception would be an overreaction, but moments like this can sometimes confirm priors, so maybe it gave the coaching staff exactly what they were looking for.
Stock Up: Jake Ferguson
There was no touchdown or anything from Jake Ferguson on Friday night, but he impressed both with the ball in his hands and as a blocker.
It wouldn’t be fair to expect much of Ferguson throughout his rookie season (especially with Dalton Schultz owning the tight end position), but as of right now it seems like the Cowboys have certainly found another classic tight end project that they are known for.
Stock Up: Brett Maher
There is no doubt that bringing Brett Maher back carries an enormous amount of risk and that he has had a difficult past with this team, but there is also no doubt that he improved last year with the New Orleans Saints.
Being objective here, Maher has been trustworthy ever since returning to the Cowboys. His misses so far were shots from downtown that shouldn’t be held against him.
Perhaps he has turned a corner. Perhaps this is all setting up for our inevitable demise. Who knows!
Stock Up: Will Grier
Cooper Rush is going to be the backup quarterback for the Cowboys in all likelihood, but Will Grier at least made things interesting on Friday night.
The game did not exactly start off well for Grier, but a lot of that was due to a porous offensive line that didn’t do him many favors. Was it enough? Rush played early on and then sat which seems like an indication that this is his job to lose. We will see.
Stock Up: Markquese Bell
At one point in the third quarter Dak Prescott was doing an interview and got cut off by a tipped ball that found its way into Markquese Bell’s hands for an interception. His reaction was awesome.
Bell has been ticketed for the 53-man roster from just about jump street but he has justified it with his play throughout camp and the preseason. This felt like the cherry on top of an earned locker inside of The Star and AT&T Stadium this season.
Stock Up: Malik Davis
This entire preseason period has seen a lot hype around the running game which is interesting given that the Cowboys don’t have any questions at the top with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.
Entering Friday night it felt like Rico Dowdle had played his way onto the team, but he had some fierce competition in Malik Davis. There is a case to be made that Davis deserves to be on this team as well, one that he strengthened on Friday night with some hard running, especially near the goal line.
Ultimately Malik Davis might not make this team and if he doesn’t it will be due to no fault of his own. He played extremely well throughout camp and the preseason and continually rose throughout it all, it is just hard to justify four running backs on this team in this year.
Stock Down: Josh Ball
What else is there to say at this point? It did not go well for him at all.
In case you were wondering literally what words there are to say, well, Nate Newton came up with a few things during the broadcast.
Nate Newton On Josh Ball pic.twitter.com/j3baI5UUWT— Andre’ Jackson (@therealdre_jack) August 27, 2022
The state of the swing tackle position was concerning before Tyron Smith’s injury this past week. The Cowboys absolutely have to figure out a solution here because it is obvious that Josh Ball is not a part of it.