Which rookie will make the biggest impact?

Which rookie will make the biggest impact for the Cowboys in 2013?


(Total votes: 3,014)


WR will give offense many options

Taylor By Jean-Jacques Taylor

Miles Austin's balky hamstrings have made him a liability each of the last two seasons, which is among the reasons he hasn't been a 1,000-yard receiver since 2010.

He also is a dangerous receiver from the slot since it prevents cornerbacks from jamming at him at the line of scrimmage and allows him to take advantage of his speed.

Now, do you understand how third-round draft choice Terrance Williams' helps the Cowboys?

No longer will the Cowboys be held hostage by Austin's hamstrings because if he can't play, Williams will take his spot and the Cowboys will still have a viable weapon on the outside.

And if Austin is healthy, Williams' presence will allow him to operate in the slot, when the Cowboys use formations with three receivers.

So don't look at Williams as just a third receiver because he's more than that. He's an insurance policy who ensures the offense won't take a significant step backward just because Austin's hamstrings are bothering him yet again.

But he will also bring some juice to the Cowboys' offense. With Dez Bryant, Austin and Jason Witten on the field, the Cowboys' third receiver is almost always going to draw single coverage.

Laurent Robinson, the epitome of a journeyman receiver, exploited his matchups against third cornerbacks and safeties and caught 54 passes for 858 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Williams is certainly capable of doing that.

He's a long strider with big-play ability, and if he can quickly establish a rapport with Tony Romo then he will get opportunities to make plays. Jason Garrett believes in taking what the defense gives him instead of forcing the ball to his best players, so Williams will get opportunities to make plays.

The attention the others receive will dictate that Romo give him opportunities to make plays.

If he does, the Cowboys' offense should be significantly more explosive than it has been the past five years.

Cowboys hope C solidifies O-line

MacMahon By Tim MacMahon

First-round pick Travis Frederick will be the only rookie who will be a walk-in starter for the Dallas Cowboys.

Others, including second-round tight end Gavin Escobar, third-round receiver Terrance Williams and fifth-round running back Joseph Randle, should play key reserve roles. But Frederick will be the one rookie the Cowboys are counting on to play every single offensive snap.

There's no doubt that Frederick, whom Jerry Jones has already anointed as the "foundation" of the interior offensive line for years to come, will make a major impact as a rookie. It just remains to be seen whether that impact will be positive or negative.

If the Cowboys are right about Frederick, the No. 22 player on their draft board will fix one of the primary flaws that have plagued the Cowboys during their three-year playoff drought. He'll solidify the center position, which has been a Valley Ranch problem since Andre Gurode's reputation was making the Pro Bowl.

The Cowboys envision Frederick's size, strength and smarts giving Tony Romo an extra half second to throw and helping to open up holes that weren't there for a running game that ranked dead last in the NFC last season. They believe that the 6-foot-4, 320-pound chemical engineering major's bulk and brains will make their mediocre guards better.

What if the folks around the league who thought Frederick was a major reach with the 31st overall pick are right?

Then Frederick will be overwhelmed by athletic defensive tackles and inside linebackers. There will be havoc in the Cowboys' backfield on a consistent basis. The running backs won't have much room, and Romo will be running for his life.

And the Cowboys will have whiffed on a first-round pick. That's not the kind of impact you're looking for, but it's definitely impactful. After all, the spring is all about pumping sunshine in the NFL.

But let's not end on a negative note. Bill Callahan compares Frederick to Nick Mangold, a Pro Bowler all four years Callahan coached him with the New York Jets. Pittsburgh's Maurkice Pouncey, the last center picked in the first round, has been a Pro Bowl selection his first three seasons.

If Frederick is anywhere close to that class, the Cowboys' offense ought to be elite.


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