The 2018 season came to a close for the Dallas Cowboys this past weekend in Los Angles. Though fans won’t see Zeke hurdling over defenders for a couple months, the Cowboys front office has already begun the evaluation process for the 2019 season. With Dallas not included in the final four teams, or Philadelphia (thank goodness), Cowboy fans don’t have much at stake in the outcome of this NFL season.
However, there is a bit of an evaluation process we can do ourselves. This upcoming weekend will be the last time many of these players suit up for their selective teams. And, who knows, the next time we see them they may be sporting a blue-and-white jersey in for the home team. Here are five players you should keep an eye on in the conference round of the playoffs.
DT Malcom Brown (New England Patriots)
A first-round pick in 2015, New England defensive tackle Malcom Brown has been a serviceable interior lineman since his rookie season. He has constantly hovered around 50 tackles/season and has 8.5 sacks for his career. Smoldered in with second-year pro Adam Butler, fourth-year pro Danny Shelton, Adrain Clayborn and Lawrence Guy, the Patriots have quality depth on the inside of their line. At 6’2 320 pounds, Brown would instantly be the biggest body the Cowboys could place in the middle. He could provide a nice rotation with Antwaun Woods at the 1-technique and allow Maliek Collins to slide back full time as the 3-technique.
DT Ndamukong Suh (Los Angeles Rams)
There’s not a lot to be said on why Suh would be a nice fit here in Dallas. Not only was he a large part in shutting the Cowboys’ rushing attack down, but he also makes life uncomfortable for any offensive line and has presented multiple looks for Aaron Donald to get to the quarterback.
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 12, 2019
With Donald just inking a six-year deal worth $135 million, including $87 million guaranteed, it is highly unlikely for the Rams to invest large dollars into another defensive tackle. Especially one who just turned 32 a week and a half ago.
RB Spencer Ware (Kansas City Chiefs)
Most likely the backup running back in Dallas is a position that will most likely be filled in the draft, but for the purpose of this article Spencer Ware is a good candidate to play that role here. The sixth-year pro has been in-and-out with the Chiefs but was called back into a starting role with the departure of Kareem Hunt. Ware finished this season with 51 carries, 246 yards and two touchdowns. Not fantastic, but given Kansas City finished tied for 23rd in rushing attempts/game it’s a given.
This is a friendly reminder that Spencer Ware can really play. pic.twitter.com/PhvUBZ6azN
— Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) November 5, 2018
He also ended the season with 20 receptions for 224 yards, an area he’s always been able to shine given the opportunity. Rod Smith has been a stable back behind Elliott, but his 2.9 yards/carry average left much to be desired. Smith’s ability to contribute on special teams may present a larger value than the work he does as a spell back.
DE Dante Fowler Jr. (Los Angeles Rams)
Dante Fowler is eight games into his tenure with the LA Rams after being traded from the Jacksonville Jaguars in October. A former number three overall selection has yet to live up to his billing but has strung together a decent eight games with his new team. His 24 tackles greatly outpaced the nine he had in his six games in Jacksonville, but he has only been able to add three more sacks from the two he got prior to his arrival in LA. Head Coach Sean McVay did invest a 2019 third-round pick and 2020 fifth-round pick into Fowler, so he may not even hit the open market come free agency.
WR Dez Bryant (New Orleans Saints)
Dez always wanted to finish out as a Dallas Cowboy. The fans would love it if they could throw up the X for one more season. Cole Beasley may not be back here in Dallas. Allen Hurns will be come off of a gruesome injury. Dez, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup could make things interesting on that side of the ball again. Not much logic here, but what a story it could be.
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