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Cowboys offense has established stars, but here are 3 x-factors for 2023

These three Cowboys players could have a huge impact on the 2023 Dallas offense.

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Previously we spotlighted three players on the defensive side of the ball who could be difference-makers for the Dallas Cowboys. Now, we identify three more players in this new-look Cowboys offense that could be integral to the offense’s success. Some of these players are young prospects looking to prove themselves, while one is a veteran hoping to recapture a former version of himself. Here are three x-factors for the Dallas offense.

Michael Gallup

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Much of the headlines regarding wide receivers have surrounded Brandin Cooks and CeeDee Lamb. It’s understandable. Lamb is a uniquely dynamic receiver who is equally effective outside the numbers as he is in the slot. Cooks comes to Dallas with a reputation of being vastly underrated and underappreciated, with the speed fans of the Cowboys desperately covet. Both of whom contrast with Michael Gallup. Even before he was injured with an ACL injury and struggled to return, Gallup had a niche skillset juxtaposed to Cooks and Lamb.

Gallup doesn’t have elite speed and will not line up anywhere in offensive formations, but he has proven that if in the correct mindset and healthy, he can be a dependable option. An option that demonstrated he could make contested catches over the middle of the field and on the sideline. Gallup is a reliable option with just enough separation to make plays down the field. In short, Gallup is an x-factor this season because he exemplifies what the Cowboys were missing last season. This accounts for how badly the Cowboys lacked steady wide receiver play outside of Lamb and had to rely on Noah Brown or receivers with limited experience. Once again, if healthy, Gallup raises the floor of the Cowboys’ passing game.

Malik Davis

NFL: Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

When the Cowboys released Ezekiel Elliott, it opened the possibility for Malik Davis to carve out a bigger role with the team. Though not playing much in his rookie season, Davis made an impression in a brief capacity. He doesn’t have the breakaway speed of fellow running back Tony Pollard, Davis has decent speed to get to the third level of the defense. In 38 carries, Davis averaged 4.2 yards per carry.

Davis’ physical traits and running style resemble former college teammate and Houston Texans running back Dameon Pierce. Davis’ path to playing time is tricky since he has to contend with viable options on the roster. The Cowboys signed veteran Ronald Jones this offseason and drafted Deuce Vaughn in the sixth round. But if Davis can survive training camp as the number two runner and establish himself as the primary backup, he’d be a lock for an increased role with more on the table past this upcoming season. Tony Pollard hasn’t signed a new contract, and the Cowboys wouldn’t be afraid to take an extended look at what is behind Pollard on the depth chart. Keep your eyes on Malik Davis.

Matt Waletzko

NFL: Scouting Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Last year’s draft class is shaping up to be one of the best the Cowboys have had in recent years, and it deserves more recognition. Matt Waletkzo is one of the reasons. Over the offseason, Waletzko has been cross-training at multiple positions, taking snaps at left guard and right tackle. If this persists during training camp and the preseason, Waletzko could solidify his standing on this year’s roster at two positions. Though not slated to be a starter, it’s worth mentioning because of the tenuous health of Tyron Smith and the recovery of Terence Steele, who landed on injured reserve late last season.

The Cowboys plan to play Tyron Smith at left tackle, Tyler Smith at left guard, and Terence Steele at right tackle. Assuming that Smith does get injured, the Cowboys will likely opt to move Tyler Smith to left tackle while having Waletzko could step in at left guard after reshuffling their offensive line. The confidence the coaching staff has placed in Waletzko thus far points to him being a front-runner for a prominent role.

Waletkzo will be competing with Chuma Edoga for playing time at left guard among others who may also push for a spot in a reserve role. Like Davis, the incumbent starter, Terence Steele, is on a one-year contract. At minimum, Waletkzo is shaping up to be a primary reserve and, at most, a spot starter p;aying for a more expansive role beyond 2023.

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