Following an impressive season opener win against the New York Giants, three Dallas Cowboys players have their stocks on the rise for the 2017 NFL season. In the previous season, the Cowboys surprised us all by going 13-3 even though they played without starting QB Tony Romo who was injured. Dak Prescott stepped in and played his role exquisitely.
Having played his role well, Dak won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award and became the first guy after Tom Brady to go for more than 3,500 yards through the air and complete more than 20 touchdown passes against less than five interceptions.
But that wasn’t enough because the Giants won two times against Dak’s team and he couldn’t do anything about it. This time the second-year passer did what he had to do to keep the Giants offense on the sidelines as they crushed the only team that could shut them down the previous season.
However, Dak wasn’t the only player on the team with such a good performance, we will take a look at three other guys who contributed as much as Dak and if not even more.
JAYLON SMITH, LB
The Cowboys selected this fellow in the 2016 NFL Draft. It was a risky move considering that he was a second round pick. However, they had already done these kinds of things, and it paid off with Nebraska’s defensive end Randy Gregory.
It wasn’t all milk and honey in the beginning though. He suffered an injury where his knee was seriously damaged. He tore his ACL and LCL, but due to the post-surgery nerve damage, he was dropped. Smith spent the entire 2016 season doing everything to get those nerves to regenerate, and many believed that he wouldn’t be ready for this year.
Fortunately, Smith made his regular season debut on Sunday, and he played as the starting middle linebacker. He proved his worth and showed to the world why Dallas didn’t make a mistake picking him in 2016. This guy buzzed on the field displaying great speed and crazy good instincts. He had seven tackles, and he was only behind his teammate Sean Lee.
Even though his plays weren’t game-changing, it is good to see Smith start and play the match at a decent level. We believe that he will only get better and better throughout the season.
TERRANCE WILLIAMS, WR
Wide receiver Terrance Williams won hearts of hundreds of Cowboys fans when he decided to stay home during the offseason. He proved his loyalty, and once again he pledged allegiance to the state of Texas. Considering how Mohamed Sanu and Robert Woods had similar stat lines and took to open market earning themselves greasy yearly checks ($8 million) this guy decided to stay. He didn’t chase after cash.
But don’t think that Williams plays for peanuts, he agreed to a $17 million four year deal to stay with a team that drafted him out of Baylor in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Some would say that he was a bargain and we would agree.
He was pretty quick on Sunday and presented a huge threat to the Giants. But do you remember when he used to be the public enemy #1 in Dallas last year when he couldn’t get out of bounds in a one-point loss to the Giants? We do. This time he made sure not to repeat that mistake.
Dez Bryant being locked down and the top receiver being shadowed by cornerback Janoris Jenkins, Williams exposed Eli Apple to the tune of 68 yards on six receptions. He also made some pretty important catches on three downs and hauled in all seven of his targets. Quite impressive performance!
DEMARCUS LAWRENCE, DE
Incredible start of the season for this guy! Demarcus Lawrence was supposed to fix the Cowboys pass rush after being selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Boise State, and it finally started showing his quality now. He showed his potential in 2015, but only now he managed to prove that he was worth the investment.
In 2016 many said how he was a bust and he even got suspended for abusing the substance. Injuries also slowed him down, and he ended up with just one sack for the whole year. Demarcus had to forget that season, and we are glad he did.
His team was so displeased with him that they even sought a first round pick on Taco Charlton to play defensive end. However, they can stop now because Demarcus was brilliant on Sunday. He led the team with two sacks in his first game and surely this was a huge morale boost for a unit that is in desperate need of his good plays.