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3 Cowboys players who could have breakout seasons in 2023

These three Dallas Cowboys players should take a big leap forward this season.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

This offseason the Dallas Cowboys were more active than what many fans have been accustomed to over the years. They added several veteran playmakers through trades, filling out areas of need that plagued them in key moments in the 2022 season. They also moved on from two familiar faces in RB Ezekiel Elliott and TE Dalton Schultz. It will be interesting to see the impact of not having these two veterans on the roster, and what other players could potentially step up in their place. Every year there are players who step up on their teams, and have “breakout” seasons. These are three players who are candidates to have those type of seasons for the Cowboys in 2023.

Jake Ferguson, TE

When TE Dalton Schultz signed a one-year contract with the Houston Texans in free agency, some fans were bothered that the Cowboys did not make a stronger attempt at re-signing him. It’s understandable, as Schultz has been QB Dak Prescott’s go-to target for the past couple of seasons. With that said, one reason why fans should feel a little better about Schultz playing for the other team in Texas is the potential that TE Jake Ferguson brings to the offense. Ferguson is an athlete, he showed explosiveness and athleticism through several plays in the 2022 season.

It also was announced on May 24 that Jake Ferguson committed to Tight End University, the highly-regarded summit held annually by star TE’s Travis Kelce and George Kittle. This year, former great TE Greg Olsen will also be a part of the camp. Ferguson will be spending a few days in June learning from the best tight ends the NFL has to offer, and should benefit greatly from the experience.

Ferguson should be considered a prime-candidate to breakout in 2023. Yes, the Cowboys spent their second-round pick on Michigan TE Luke Schoonmaker. However, Ferguson still has a great chance to be the starting TE heading into week one, a position he could thrive in.

Sam Williams, DE

One of the more exciting talents on the stout defensive line in Dallas is DE Sam Williams. The 6’4”, 265 lb defensive end has all the natural intangibles and athleticism to be a game-wrecker on the defensive line for the Cowboys. In his rookie season with the Cowboys, he had four sacks, three fumble recoveries, one forced fumble, ten tackles for loss, and nine quarterback hits. He did this despite not starting any games for the team.

Williams will again be competing in a very deep defensive line for the Cowboys. The defensive line currently includes DE’s Dorance Armstrong, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Dante Fowler. These are all players who have shown they can make a positive impact on the field. Despite the competition at the position, fans should expect to see Williams have a larger impact on the field. The 2021 second-round pick has been praised heavily by defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. With the Cowboys selecting run-stuffing DT Mazi Smith out of Michigan with their first-round pick in the 2023 draft, all the edge rushing defensive lineman should benefit from the attention he will bring from opposing offenses to the interior of their offensive line. Cowboys fans should be excited to see a big second-year jump from Williams.

KaVontae Turpin, WR/KR

It is hard to say a player will have a “breakout season” the year after he made the Pro Bowl, and being chosen to the inaugural Players’ All-Pro Team. However, Cowboys return specialist KaVontae Turpin is due for a better year in 2023 than the impressive year he had in 2022.

Turpin showed a lot of talent and potential in his first season returning kicks in the NFL in 2022. In 21 kick returns, he gained 508 total return yards, averaging 24.2 yards per return. His longest return of the season was 63 yards. Despite this, there were numerous occasions where Turpin was just one defender away from returning it all the way to the endzone.

Turpin should be even better at returning kicks in 2023 due to having an entire offseason to rest and study his tape. Many people forget that Turpin nearly played an entire calendar year of football in 2022, as he went straight from the USFL to the NFL. With more rest for his body, and more experience with special teams coach John “Bones” Fassel, fans can expect a couple of touchdowns for Turpin this upcoming season.

The NFL recently implemented a new rule that awards the 25-yard line to those who decide to fair catch, regardless of being in the endzone or not. When asked about the rule, Turpin had a pretty awesome response:

To be real, I don’t really care about the kickoff return rule because I’m not fair catching on kickoff return. Just being real with you.

Turpin is hungry to get his first regular season NFL touchdown, and fans can expect to see it in a breakout season in 2023.

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