The Dallas Cowboys ended last season on a sour note getting beat in the first round of the playoffs. They won 12 games and had high expectations all season. But, no one would have thought that after the infamous “Dak Prescott didn’t clock the ball” play, multiple players would not return. Certain current and new Cowboys offensive players are going to have to step up.
First, the team’s former number one receiver was traded to the Cleveland Browns to help save cap room. Then, they lost a pass rusher that’s been on the roster since 2015 because of a contract dispute. Finally, they cut their former starting right tackle after he’d lost the trust of ownership.
They tried to revamp the roster through the draft and free agency. They used two of their three picks in the 2022 NFL draft on offensive players. Both were at positions they had lost in the offseason. In free agency, they signed a bunch of veterans to help address the holes left by their former starters and depth pieces.
The first practice at the Cowboys training camp in Oxnard, CA is scheduled to take place on July 27th. We have a chance to see via OTAs, Mini-camp, Instagram, and Twitter how the players have been training. This will be our first chance to see an intense practice with all the new additions.
Four Dallas Cowboys Offensive Players Need to Have a Strong Training Camp.
Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, Jalen Tolbert, Dalton Schultz, Sean McKeon working out in Florida
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) July 2, 2022
1. Jalen Tolbert, Wide Reveiver
With the enormous losses of former starting receiver Amari Cooper and key depth player Cedrick Wilson, Jalen Tolbert will be looked upon to step up early. He showed promises at the end of minicamp being able to run with the starters.
According to Warren Sharp, at South Alabama, Tolbert lined up in the slot for 47% of his targets and picked up 20% more yards after the catch than expected. He’s a wide receiver that’s shown the capabilities to play inside and outside. His ability to track deep passes was put on display throughout his college career, hauling 91% of his catchable targets. With the elevation of CeeDee Lamb and the injury to Michael Gallup, the Cowboys are looking to Tolbert to stand out at training camp.
2. Tyler Smith, Offensive Line
— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) July 18, 2022
The Cowboys drafted Tyler Smith with their first pick in this year’s NFL draft and it surprised a lot of people covering the team. Smith showed a lot of potential in college as an absolute mauler in the run game. Smith posted a 93.9 run-block grade, the highest by an AAC Tackle in PFF history. All that mean play comes with a caveat. He had 16 penalties last season, 12 of which were for holding.
Most Cowboys fans were annoyed when their former player, Connor Williams, would get a lot of holding calls to slow down drives. So it shouldn’t sit well with fans that they replaced him with someone with a similar issue. Cowboys fans will have to hope that Smith will continue to improve since he is one of the youngest players in the draft. He’s been working with a reputable offensive line coach all summer, and it should be interesting to see his growth.
3. Terence Steele, Offensive Tackle
After losing La’el Collins to the Cincinnati Bengals, the Cowboys need their former swing tackle to continue improving his play. During Collins’ last two seasons, he played over 600 snaps and he received an 80+ grade from PFF. These are massive shoes for Terence Steele to fill, but he’s continued to work on his weaknesses every year he’s played.
Steele allowed nine sacks in 2020 while filling in as an undrafted rookie for an injured Collins. In his sophomore season, he filled in for an injured Collins again, but this time he reduced the number of sacks given up to two and raised his PFF grade by over 10. He still has a long way to go to be as good as Collins, but if history shows anything, it will show he’s at least going to try.
4. James Washington, Wide Receiver.
Sadly, Cowboys fans didn’t get a chance to see their new deep threat participate in minicamp or OTAs because of a boot on his foot. But, as one of the veterans on the team, he will be expected to step up in training camp. He’ll most likely come into camp as the number two receiver as Michael Gallup nurses his ACL tear.
Throughout his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington was an afterthought. However, getting to play with an elite quarterback and a new offense should give his career some life.
Jalen Tolbert at WR66 might be the player we see rise or drop the most based on preseason action
Cowboys 2nd WR seat is immediately open. Type of player – read rookie – where one big 40-yard contested catch TD vaults him up 12 spots
And if he doesn't claim it? Gallup inevitable pic.twitter.com/bxCuiaIAwP
— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) July 23, 2022