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‘The Jump’ Is Huge For Dallas Cowboys

DeVonte Holloman

The NFL is full of theories and sayings, one of which will be of particular importance for the Dallas Cowboys in 2014. One of the theories suggests that players typically make their biggest improvements from year one to year two. It’s referred to as the ‘The Jump’  and the Cowboys need that old adage to hold true if they are going end their playoff drought.

Dallas has some key pieces that need to ascend into big-time players in just their second year for the team to end their streak of mediocrity. If it happens, the team could be looking at brighter future, and hopefully, a playoff berth.

Here are the names to watch-out for:

TRAVIS FREDERICK 

The debate over whether Frederick was worthy of a first round pick should be long gone by now. If his play from 2013 was any indication, the Cowboys have a center capable of anchoring the offensive line for years to come. Improvements from Frederick will likely result in a Pro Bowl type of season and should help keep Tony Romo very comfortable in the pocket.

GAVIN ESCOBAR

There is no need to re-hash the selection of Escobar or who they could have drafted in his place because that time has long passed. The Cowboys saw potential in Escobar as an elite pass catching tight end to keep up with the new trend of athletes at the position. Things did not work out well since the Cowboys ditched some of their plans in how they were going to utilize their tight ends, so Escobar didn’t do much more than just flash his athletic ability. However, a full off-season in the weight room, a renewed commitment (so we hear) to getting him on the field in better position to make plays and we could see a big jump from the sophomore tight end. Escobar certainly has the talent to create miss-matches all over the field.  If he can do the things fans were promised when he was drafted, Dallas’ offense could be unstoppable.

When it comes to Escobar, there are believers and doubters among Cowboys fans. Many here at Cowboysnation.com are believers, which are you?

TERRANCE WILLIAMS

Aside from Frederick, Williams was the most impressive rookie for the Cowboys last season. He was pressed into action early and didn’t disappoint. Williams produced  a lot of big plays. He may have slowed down near the end of the year, but that is typical for a rookie. Now he’ll get a full off-season to get stronger, better at getting off the line of scrimmage cleanly. He will also become the beneficiary of being across from Dez Bryant. Big things should be coming for Williams and if he makes that leap in his second season, the offense should be one of the best in the league.

J.J. WILCOX

Like with Escobar, the ability is there, but Wilcox flashed much more potential than his offensive counterpart, he just had a few bad breaks throughout the year. Wilcox has the potential make a very big jump in year two and the team believes in him so much they didn’t feel the need to draft a safety with a high selection in May. The athletic attributes are there for Wilcox, he just needs to learn the game and for things to slow down for him, which is what the off-season is for. If Wilcox can make the jump, the Dallas defense has found themselves a keeper at safety.

Wilcox appears to be a another player who fans believe in or not; count me in as a believer.

DeVONTE HOLLOMAN

Some people feel the Cowboys stole Holloman in the sixth round of last year’s draft and that he needed time to develop. Those ‘people’ appeared to be right when Holloman always seemed to be around the ball during the pre-season and was on his way to being a nice piece for the depth of the Dallas defense. An injury derailed some of what could have been a good rookie season, but Holloman finished out the year with a strong performance against the Philadelphia Eagles in place of Sean Lee at middle linebacker.

In fact, Holloman’s athleticism, speed and experience as a safety in college could lead him to winning the middle linebacker spot in place of Lee in 2014. He seems to be the best fit on the roster to do so, and it’s that type of improvement in year two that could lead to big things from Holloman and the Cowboys.

If these five players can make ‘The Jump’ in their second seasons, the Cowboys will have found some key pieces to build on in the future and it could make the difference in the team making the playoffs in 2014.

As usual with the Cowboys, here’s to hoping!

You can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi  

Ben Grimaldi

Ben Grimaldi

Senior Analyst ProFootBallTalkLine.com at SportsTalkLine
Writer for ProFootBallTalkLine.Com. Associate sports producer. Lets talk sports! On Twitter @BenGrimaldi and Podcasting for STL!
Ben Grimaldi





  • hardwater

    Like the 2nd year prospects for the all the above with the exception that Escobar will be stuck behind Witten until he retires. Sort of like drafting a QB to sit behind Romo.

  • cowboys maniac

    big jump from Escobar? sacrificing your defense for a non-blocking TE was an idiot move – now waiting until the 7th to get trench guys for the defense will haunt this team. When is this BPA drafting strategy from an 8-8 team (really 4-12 team without Romo) going to finally be seen for the idiocy it is? Come on man!

    • Ben

      Maniac the piece wasnt about draft strategy & im not disagreeing with you but Esco can make the jump into a useful player

      • McShrek

        Hanna has better skills, more speed and quickness, but since they did not trade up to draft him he gets no respect………another reason why this franchise struggles…..same thing Austin went through sitting behind Roy Williams after Jerry got fleeced in that trade……..just using the visual test Miles had more of everything than did Williams….

    • Steven Van Over

      Doesn’t matter “where or when” you get them. Romo was UDFA, so was Ratliff. Two positions that other teams spent high picks on. what matters is that you get them. Lately has been better, but after years of horrible drafts it’s not an overnight gig to stock the talent coffers. If they draft a bust, then I’m bummed. As long as they are getting talent, we can use it everywhere.

  • Football Mensa

    “When it comes to Escobar, there are believers and doubters among Cowboys fans. Many here at Cowboysnation.com are believers, which are you?” Hey Ben , just wondering….which category do you think I belong in concerning Escobar ?

    • Yuma Cactus

      I’ll go with the Jerry sucks category for you Mensa….lol
      I really like the player and think he will take some catches from Wit this year and more in ’15.

      • Football Mensa

        LOL , Yuma….and see I didn’t say one thing about Jerry 😉 . I hope Escobar becomes a good player. However in my opinion he needs to have 50 catches for 600 yards to warrant being a second round pick.

        • Steven Van Over

          He will, soon as Witten taps out. Amazingly this organization gets keel hauled for not drafting a ready backup for Romo, Ware, etc. When they do draft a backup for an aging star, they also get keel hauled. Double standard squared. it’s to early to pass judgment on the pick or the player. Anything else is just rampant emotions. Understandable, just not very believable. Could the 2nd round pick have been used “better”. In hind sight almost every pick can. Specious argument.

          • Football Mensa

            Te’s can be found in any draft. Especially ones who aren’t good at blocking. Qb’s and pass rushers not so much. HAVING to give a qb in his 30’s a 100 mil contract extension because you don’t have any options isn’t good football business. Not that it’s any different than wasting your qb’s career because you refused to build a good o line.

            Oh and we have tried the draft a te in the second round thing a few times. Where do we stand on drafting a pass rushing de or a qb or even a dt in the second round as potential replacements for the current starter ? (formerly Rat/Ware and still Romo )

          • Steven Van Over

            Money in the bank. Thanks for showing exactly what I mean. Props! Drafting Ware was a pretty good stab at DE. Ya? QB … I’m waiting, but when they do, it won’t be the “right” one for the masses. The loudest QB crowd want’s Jerry to trade (the farm) for a #1 pick and draft a RGIII clone. It’s not missing on any “one” pick (2nd round TE) it’s missing on a LOT of picks. Which they did, and now they are not. Try incorporating that into your logic tree. You will be smiling more.

            If you want to cherry pick for doom and gloom, enjoy the day my friend. Cowboys were eviscerated for not drafting OLine with high picks. They have. Spent a #2 on DE (which you left out in your DE gloom section) and have been hitting (finally) the last few years. You yourself have mentioned how it can’t be done all in one year, yet blast them for not getting it done in .. one year.

            The double standard on display is in full effect from a lot of angles. Of course winning is the cure all for this bane, but even then there will be those that go “yea but” …. always will. Me, I plan on enjoying the day, a great QB, talented RB and incredible offensive line. I am going to watch the young TE and WR’ers grow and smile. A lot I hope. I will continue to track their new approach towards the off season and see how dedicated they are to continuing to build thru the draft. I really like a lot of these young players, guys we have been clamoring for. Time to enjoy the view. Or not. Plenty of room on the bus. Jump on! 🙂

          • Football Mensa

            Yikes….earth to Steven , come back home.

            The “and now they are not” isn’t exactly accurate. Lee hasn’t played enough to warrant a second round pick. Carter was bench material at times last season and had a horrible year. Mo has lost his starting job. Not to mention the picks given up to draft those guys. Where they have improved is o line drafting. I was all for finishing the o line rebuild. I’m glad they drafted Martin. Face it, Dallas is pathetic at drafting o linemen not in the first round. A fact that is undeniable.

            The spent a #2 AFTER Ware was gone. Sorry you missed the point there.

            “A lot I hope.”……a true sign of it must be the off season.
            Now about that coach. :-p

          • Steven Van Over

            And … Mo hasn’t lost his job.. there are three starting CB’s now… that’s a wash. BUT … you went (again) all negative. You left out Tyrone Smith, Frederick, Dez, Williams, DeVonte … and on and on (yes there are more good ones) … keep on looking at the black. Must be hell, but somebodies got to do it. Me, I look at the sunset and the sunrise. I have no blinders on about what needs to be done. Difference is I acknowledge it when I see it. Others, not so much. 🙂

          • Football Mensa

            Don’t point the finger at me for Beard. I was on board with that pick.

            I smile all the time. I have a good life. It begins with a great wife. Of course her looks don’t hurt :-).

            Dallas hasn’t earned the right imo to say everything is on the upswing. Except for o line which I have acknowledged. Mo did lose his starting job. When you give up what was given for Mo you damn sure better hit. Those kinds of misses hurt a team. Mo could become great but not first and second rounder great.

            There wasn’t a young Rat either in the draft. But when you keep ignoring position groups you end up doing what Dallas is having to do. And that is spend multiple first rounders on o line because it disintegrated so badly. That’s why they had to give up a valuable 3rd to move up for Lawrence. Of course not drafting first round part timers like Felix would go a long ways in helping the situation. And maybe they should examine drafting injury prone players in the second round.

            I need to see more from Devonte. I need to see Murray do it again. There have been many one year wonders in the nfl. Beasley’s and Harris’ come by the dozens. It’s easy to find a 4th string wr.

            Like you I hope they win. I am tired of the same crap every year but I haven’t seen anything that says it’s different. Have more wins than losses and maybe they change my way of thinking. 8-8 doesn’t do that for me.

          • Steven Van Over

            glass 3/4 empty guy eh? 🙂

          • McShrek

            Steven……….how can you say that?? MO LOST his job to Scandrick last year, even if initially it was injury driven, when he came back he could not unseat Orlando due to his play……..the fact that they may play three corners to match up against any one offensive formation is not germane to the discussion…..he was the number three corner at the end of 2013……insisting that these trades up were worth the picks we gave up dampens your credibility……..we can certainly have civil discussions on these issues but facts are facts…..what happens in 14 will be determined by on the field performance…tell you this, lots of name corners have been released over the past 48 hours…..they need to kick the tires and possible pick one of those guys up and then release the worst of the lot including Carr or Mo if the cap hit allows

          • Steven Van Over

            I agree and have stated before that the team was probably going to choose between Mo & Carr in 2015. I could be wrong if they both play to capabilities. $$ would seem to dictate otherwise. ROOKIE WATCH: Terrence Mitchel – he is a handful!!!!

    • Ben

      Oh, I know where you stand!

  • IronRing

    We’ll need a jump from more than just the sophomores

    • Football Mensa

      Correct. We need a jump from the coaches as well.

      • McShrek

        Well we certainly have enough offensive and defensive coordinators do we not?? Maybe we can release a couple after camp breaks????

        • Football Mensa

          So true McShrek.
          Shrek this is my final post on this site. I have even cancelled my twitter persona of the same name. Good luck and cheers to you and all of the other fans here as well. Nice chatting with ya.

          • McShrek

            Mens………you would be greatly missed….some of the guys who write for the site get overly sensitive as to their public records/statements then feel like they have to dive onto their swords trying to defend them……don’t think they they mean anything derogatory, but at times they may be get overly personal iwith their comments….. give it a couple of days you bring much to the site

          • hardwater

            Stick around Mensa. You and Van Over seem to be like oil and water but that’s OK. I’ve been pissed before on other forums but eventually make my way back in at least a limited way. You add something to the site.