- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Hey, how about a Dallas Cowboys post? Calvin Watkins texted me yesterday to give me grief for finding a baseball angle at the Super Bowl, and this reminded me that Calvin is still alive out there somewhere and covering the Cowboys. He has a post about the Cowboys and players 25 years old and younger, and about how many more of them they have than they had a year ago.
The premise is that this is a good thing, and that it represents the shedding of older players who are less productive than they once were. The question of course is whether the young players the Cowboys have can be major contributors to an organizational turnaround next season.
Calvin ranks the top 25-and-under players on the Cowboys' roster thusly:
1. Dez Bryant
2. Tyron Smith
4. Bruce Carter
5. Dan Bailey
I think it's safe to say that if all of those guys take big steps forward and emerge as major contributors in 2012, the Cowboys will be much improved as a result. Carter is the wild card, as the other four have demonstrated the ability to excel, at least in stretches. Carter should get the chance to become a more significant part of the linebacking corps beginning next year, assuming he shows he can handle it.
The Cowboys need to have a good draft and continue to look for contributors in this age group, and more importantly they need to find ways to develop them into contributors at the NFL level.