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Cowboys news: 5 Cowboys to watch in 2023 includes Jalen Tolbert

Here’s your Sunday morning news around the Dallas Cowboys

NFL: Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

Expect Dramatic Improvement from Cowboys’ Dak Prescott in 2023 - 33rd Team

Mike Martz analyzes all of Dak Prescott's interceptions in the 2022 season and finds plenty of culprits. Some were the quarterback’s fault, but more were due to undisciplined routes and shaky schematics. Martz believes placing the Dallas Cowboys offense under coach Mike McCarthy’s control is the right move.

5 Cowboys to watch in 2023 -Jesus Hernandez, Inside the Star

The Dallas Cowboys have undergone a bit of a makeover and are counting on these players to fill pivotal roles next season.

Defensive End Sam Williams

Defensive End Sam Williams recorded 4 sacks, 13 solo tackles, and 1 forced fumble in his rookie campaign. The second-round pick by way of Ole Miss University should see an increase of snaps with Dan Quinn staying put as defensive coordinator. In a crowded room full of amazing defensive ends, Williams should be able to get his fair share of action plays on his plate after a good first season.

CB DaRon Bland

Rookie Cornerback DaRon Bland — a 5th-round pick out of Fresno State — instantly made a name for himself on the team and within the league after he recorded 5 interceptions in 2022. After acquiring veteran Corner Stephon Gilmore, a true shutdown corner, this allows flexibility for Quinn and his defense. We can expect to see the younger and faster Bland play more in the slot. His rare combination of speed, IQ, and athleticism will be on display in the coming season.

WR Jalen Tolbert

With former Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore out the door, the Cowboys now turn to Head Coach Mike McCarthy to call the offensive plays. McCarthy called the plays for most of his tenure as head coach with the Green Bay Packers. He’s known to run a West Coast Offense. Wide receivers who can create yards after a catch (YAC) tend to do really well in a west coast scheme.

Luckily for Dallas, they drafted Receiver Jalen Tolbert in the 3rd round of last year’s draft.

In his career at South Alabama, Tolbert amassed a whopping 1,059 yards after the catch. Despite only having 2 catches for 12 yards in his rookie season, Tolbert showed promise in training camp. Tolbert also practiced at private workouts before the start of last year with fellow teammates Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb.

Spagnola: Shuffling the O Line back in Place - Mickey Spagnola,

Slowly but surely, the offensive line is starting to take shape entering 2023.

First, let’s not forget Steele tore his ACL on Dec. 11 against the Houston Texans, Game 13. The now fourth-year offensive tackle had his surgery to repair not only the ACL but his MCL, too, two days later on Dec. 13 and has until April 21 to potentially sign an offer sheet with another team or settle for the restricted free agent second-round tender the Cowboys qualified him at ($4.3 million guaranteed).

So, big question is, when will Steele be released to practice and will the previous undrafted rookie free agent (2020) be physically ready to start the season? Next, Tyron Smith. Is Tyron at 32 years old and heading into his 13th season still capable of playing left tackle as he has at a Pro Bowl level in eight of the past 10 seasons (excluding 2020 and 2022) when healthy? Or can a healthy Tyron play the right tackle he transitioned to in 2022, struggling at times to play a side he had not since the 2012 season after missing the first 14 weeks of this past season?

Now those answers can’t possibly be answered until the pads come on in training camp. But the Cowboys can’t wait. They must project for now. Good thing is, they have options, a lot of what ifs, and time on their side. Optimistically, COO Stephen Jones has said Steele is ahead of schedule with his rehab, usually taking a good seven to nine months to be game ready. Seven months would have him ready the first of August. Nine months means he starts training camp on PUP, and if need be, remains on PUP for the required first four weeks of the season.

Owner Jerry Jones has the Cowboys starting Tyler Smith at left tackle, Tyron Smith at right tackle and Steele working as the swing tackle, or transitioning their best run-blocking tackle over the past two seasons to left guard. And certainly that is endorsed by McCarthy, saying earlier of his capabilities, “I don’t know if Tyler Smith could play any better as a rookie.” But McCarthy answered the who-where question differently, saying they definitely will start cross-training Steele at tackle and guard too.

Currently, the left guard position is wide open and why the Cowboys signed free agent guard Chuma Edoga to the one-year, $1.232 million veteran exception, costing but $1.092 million against the cap. Certainly no guarantee to start at those numbers.”We’ve been talking about that. You know, get your five most veterans on the field at the same time,” McCarthy said last week at the NFL Meetings in Phoenix, Ariz., about the offensive line.

Daryl Johnston promoted to USFL president of football operations - Michael David Smith, PFT

Moose gets a promotion.

Daryl “Moose” Johnston, the former Cowboys fullback and longtime NFL broadcaster, is getting a new job with the USFL.

Johnston, who was previously vice president of football operations, has been promoted to president of football operations, according to Forbes. Brian Woods previously served in the president role but resigned at the end of 2022.

The USFL doesn’t have a commissioner, so Johnston is the highest-ranking football executive in the league. Fox Sports, where Johnston is employed as an analyst, owns the USFL.

Johnston has long maintained an interest in minor league football. He was general manager of the San Antonio Commanders of the Alliance of American Football in 2018 and director of player personnel for the Dallas Renegades of the XFL in 2019.

The second season of the new iteration of the USFL kicks off next weekend, with two games on Fox on Saturday, one game on NBC and Peacock on Sunday and one game on FS1 on Sunday

Cowboys 2023 draft scouting report: Arizona State RB Xazavian Valladay- David Howman, Blogging the Boys

A scouting evaluation of Arizona state running back Xazavian Valladay.

Burst: Valladay has burst/speed. At the Arizona State pro day, he ran a 4.46 40-yard dash and posted a 40” vertical jump and 10’3” broad jump, all of which would’ve been in the 90th percentile or higher among running backs at the combine. Valladay runs like he’s shot out of a cannon, exploding off his foot when he makes a cut up the field. When he gets into the open field, he easily outruns defenders.

Balance: He has an average frame for the position, and he runs with too high a pad level most of the time, neither of which is great for his balance. He doesn’t go down easily, though, as Valladay fights for every yard when making contact. If he can run with better pad level, he can become a more consistent home run threat.

Lateral Agility: This is where Valladay shines. His primary usage came on outside zone runs, and for good reason. He is a master of moving laterally and scanning the line of scrimmage for a hole, and then cutting into that hole to let his speed take over. Valladay was one of the best at outside zone runs this past year, largely due to his lateral agility.

Ball Carrying: Fumbles have been an issue at times, as he has eight fumbles in five years. That said, half of those came in just the 2021 season, and it was the only year he had multiple fumbles in a season. He looked to clean things up during his one year at Arizona State.

Pass Catching: Valladay never saw much usage as a pass catcher, as the Sun Devils maxed him out with 37 catches for 289 yards. Much of his work as a receiver came as a checkdown option, with a limited route tree. His athletic profile suggests there is more value to be had here, but Valladay has yet to show it. That said, he spent all five years playing in run-heavy offenses with limited talent at quarterback.

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