Previously we broke down both teams offense and defense for this week’s upcoming game between the Dallas Cowboys and L.A. Rams. Now we dive back into the position battleground, this time looking at how each team’s rookie class stacks up against each other.
NT Mazi Smith (First Round)
Mazi Smith may have the majority of the flak when it comes to talking about the Cowboys rookie class, but how he looked during training camp to how he looked in Week 6 already looks improved. He wasn’t the main factor that kept the rushing yards down against the L.A. Chargers, but he helped. Clogging the middle of the line to keep Royce Freeman from exploding upfield will be an important factor this week. Another game against the Rams like he had against the Chargers could see more fans get on his side.
TE Luke Schoonmaker (Second Round)
The best way to talk describe Schoonmaker at the moment is good blocker, below average receiver. But he’s a rookie tight end and with the all hype on this crop of tight ends from this years draft, only Sam LaPorta, Luke Schoonmaker, Dalton Kincaid and Brenton Strange have registered a touchdown. The position takes time to develop and Schoonmaker has developed his blocking so far as a rookie. Is it perfect or blowing fans away? Nope. He would have less negativity if he was involved more as a receiver.
K Brandon Aubrey (UDFA)
Aubrey continues to be the rookie highlight in Dallas, and rightly so. He’s one of the most accurate kickers in the NFL. The Chargers game was a close score and Aubrey made both his extra points and both his field goals. Without making them the game would have been lost, and his final kick in the fourth quarter was the final score for Dallas - a game-winning field goal.
FB Hunter Luepke (UDFA)
Luepke came in and helped in the run game as a traditional fullback and was good in his role. He was used more on special team duties, which is where we should expect to see him have the majority of work this week.
DE Tyrus Wheat (UDFA)
Wheat played five snaps on defense two weeks ago and recorded his first tackle. He had a blunder on special teams with a penalty. After that things leveled out for Wheat, it’s just a tough start for the Mississippi State standout. He will more than likely get a chance to redeem himself this week.
OG Steve Avila (Second Round)
This was the Rams first pick of the draft and someone most Cowboys fans was hoping the team would land. Avila joined an offensive line that’s rebuilding and so far this season he’s allowed 19 pressures, second-most on the team, and allowed two sacks, which is most on the team. But the entire offensive line for the Rams have allowed sacks as they try to fill the holes. Avila represents a good starting block for the Rams as they reorganize their line.
DE Byron Young (Third Round)
The Tennessee Volunteers pass rusher leads the team in sacks, more than Aaron Donald which is a task in itself. What makes Young so impressive is his speed. He’s not just fast, he’s insanely fast. He’s just over 250 pound and he registered a 40-yard time at the combine of 4.43 seconds. Now that’s moving. He’s not only fast though, he’s instinctive at locating the ball and uses his quickness to beat out potential blockers very effectively. His first step is great and he can dip and bend around the edge with ease when it comes to passing plays.
Sounds like a first-round guy so far. His issue is he’s super light for the position and putting weight on him would cause him to lose his speed and quickness that he requires to win. Once linemen get into him, or he has to play in tight quarters, the game is over for Young and he fails to shift any blockers in his way. His lack of power once he gets engaged has already seen him get bullied backward by NFL linemen, and this opens huge gaps for running backs to get into.
DT Kobie Turner (Third Round)
Turner made a name for himself by being one of the better players at the Shrine Bowl. He has the seventh-best run grade (74.6) and the 13th-best pressure grade (64.6) for all rookie defenders this season so far. Turner is a physical player with a strong core and powerful hands to shed blockers. He’s a high motor guy and understands the concept of “lowest man wins”. Where he struggles is due to him not being an explosive athlete. Turner lacks the quickness to consistently win and doesn’t have great lateral movement, hence why the Rams kicked him to the inside rather than play on the edge. He wins more through effort than technique.
WR Puka Nacua (Fifth Round)
The Rams certainly have won the diamond-in-the-rough award from this year’s draft. Nacua has the third-most receiving yards among all of this year’s wide receivers. When you think of talent at the wide receiver position in the NFL, even top-ten talent, Nacua is currently up there with the best. What makes his story even crazier is the fact this guy was the 20th wide receiver taken in this years draft. He’s not fast or twitchy, but what he is efficient in his routes, pure text book. He’s got reliable hands with good hand-to-eye coordination and ball tracking. Finding ways to slow him down is going to be a tough ask for the Cowboys secondary this week and he will need double coverage whenever possible.
P Ethan Evans (Seventh Round)
While Cowboys fans enjoy the story with their rookie kicker, Rams fans enjoy having a special team player breaking out on their roster also. Their rookie punter, Ethan Evans, isn’t a huge story like Aubrey is currently, but the rookie punter is still having a good start to his career. He’s seventh in average punt distance and he’s thumped a 72-yard punt which ranks the third-longest among punters this year.
Which team has the better rookie class.
This poll is closed