We’re at that slow time of year in the NFL, which means there is still time to project some of the surprises that might arrive when training camp comes around. During the draft there are pet cats that fans hope would fall to the Dallas Cowboys; now, we’ll look at some of the favorites to surprise us this season.
We know all of the big names and superstars to watch when the Cowboys begin camp in a few weeks, but here are a few players with lower expectations to pay attention to in the preseason:
Ealy is a former second-round draft pick for the Carolina Panthers and he’s had some nice moments in the NFL. His most impressive stretch of play was in the 2015 playoffs and Ealy collected three sacks in the Super Bowl. Ealy’s first three seasons saw him total four, five and five sacks respectively before his numbers dipped with the New York Jets last year. However, Ealy still found a way to be disruptive, batting down nine passes at the line scrimmage in 2017, good for second in the league. At 26-years old, Ealy could be a very valuable rotational player who can pressure the quarterback.
Jones is a former first-round pick who found a nice niche with the Cowboys late last year. In four games with the team, Jones picked up a sack and two tackles for a loss. The veteran flashed some potential inside after playing defensive end most of his career, a switch that could land him a role in Dallas. Jones might end up being an ideal situational pass rusher on the inside.
This is the wide receiver not named Michael Gallup to pay attention to in camp. As we mentioned a few weeks ago here, his offseason work has been stellar and he is just 22-years old. Brown saw significant time last year and that puts him ahead of the learning curve for a guy who caught just four passes in 2017. He has the frame the Cowboys love (6-2, 225) and Brown’s blocking was one of the main reasons he was active last year. This season he could surprise as a receiving threat, especially in the red zone.
The Cowboys picked up March-Lillard after the Seattle Seahawks released him during the 2017 season. He’s bounced around a little bit, but JML has made an impression this offseason. March-Lillard ran with the first team defense in the OTAs, mostly because of injuries, but still managed to stand out in practice. The veteran linebacker should be a valuable substitute at a position where the Cowboys have trouble staying healthy and March-Lillard is a dynamite special teams players.
An undrafted free agent pickup, the safety out of Oregon could be one of the biggest surprises for the Cowboys this summer. It helps Robinson that Dallas appears to still be searching for guys at safety and he has the size (6-3, 200 lbs.) new secondary coach Kris Richard likes. Resident team scout Bryan Broaddus has mentioned that Robinson has caught his eye already and working with Richard will only strengthen Robinson’s case to make a bigger impression when the pads come on for real. Keep an eye out for Robinson in training camp.
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