Last week, the Dallas Cowboys finished up their mandatory minicamp before breaking for the summer. They will start up again at training camp on July 24th. With only 6 practices (3 OTAs & all of Minicamp) open to the media, fans have only gotten a glimpse of the new, and hopefully improved, Dallas Cowboys team. We don’t have much to go on, but based on what we’ve seen, here is my list of the top 5 winners going into the summer break.
Zack Martin finally got the payday he deserved last week when the Cowboys signed him to a record breaking contract extension worth $84 million with $40 million guaranteed over six years. Good thing too because I’m sure there were plenty of teams foaming at the mouth to get their hands on him. He’s been to the Pro-bowl all four seasons he’s been with the Cowboys and last season he was named the number one guard for pass blocking efficiency by Pro Football Focus. Big congrats to him. Since he’ll be around for a while, I wouldn’t be surprised if his leadership skills develop and he becomes a mentor the younger guys can look up to.
If you have read any article about who stood out during OTAs and Minicamp, you’re bound to see Jihad Ward’s name. The Cowboys traded their 2017 4th round draft pick, Ryan Switzer, in order to obtain the defensive tackle. Ward was with the Raider’s for two seasons. He played all 16 games his first season and got 30 tackles and no sacks. This last season he only played five games before he had a foot injury that required surgery. Apparently being on a new team has him feeling like a new man because he’s been impressing coaches with his abilities. I’m excited at what he can bring to the team.
Ok I know it seems cliche to include our quarterback but Dak deserves some credit. He’s got a big season ahead of him he’s going into this expecting people to want to see him fail and who don’t believe in him. That’s a lot riding on someone’s shoulders especially at 24 years old. If you look at him though, you wouldn’t be able to tell. He is making the Cowboys HIS team and, in my opinion, doing a good job of filling the leadership void left by Jason Witten and Tony Romo. When asked about Dak, newly acquired wide receiver, Allen Hurns had this to say:
When I first got here, what surprised me a lot was Dak’s leadership. He’s only in his third year, but he’s a very vocal guy. He runs things. I was very surprised by that. … I don’t think we’ll have a problem with leadership.
Jones played safety for the past two seasons for the Cowboys. Now that the new passing-game coach, Kris Richard, is running things, Jones has moved to cornerback and it seems to be working nicely for him. His athleticism and height are qualities that Richard values. I wouldn’t be surprise if Jones is part of Dallas’ own Legion Boom.
Filling Jason Witten’s shoes will be tough and I don’t know if it can be done, but Blake Jarwin is playing like he wants the job. During OTAs, Jarwin turned heads and even impressed Dak with his work ethic in the weight room, his speed, and his ability to catch the ball. This guy is one to watch.
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