1) Left Tackle: Tyron Smith, Age: 22, Experience: 2 Seasons.
Smith was taken with the ninth overall pick back in the 2011 Draft. He performed admirably in his rookie yr and won the starting left tackle job last season. He had an up and down season with penalties, pressures and sacks allowed, not to mention a pretty difficult family situation. Smith plays with very good power, tenacity and nastiness. He needs to get better with his technique and constancy. He’s entering his second season as the teams starting left tackle, Look for Smith to start taking steps forward to proving why he was a top 10 pick two years ago.
2) Cornerback: Morris Claiborne, Age:23, Experience: 1 Season.
The Cowboys traded up for Claiborne in last yrs NFL Draft and he had an inconsistent season. There were times you could see him shadow the opposing teams best receiver all over the field but also times were he struggled with penalties and adjusting to the NFL game. Claiborne gave himself a C as he rookie yr went on and i couldn’t agree more. The Cowboys need Claiborne to continue to get better in all facets of his game. I’m expecting him to take a big step forward be one the better corners in the NFC this coming season.
3) Linebacker: Bruce Carter, Age: 25, Experience: 2 Seasons.
Carter was enjoying a breakout season before an elobow injury struck and he had to miss the final five games of the 2012 season. Carter already had 70 tackles before he was hurt and was making plays all over the field. The Cowboys are switching back to the 4-3 defense this year and new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin has the old Derrick Brooks spot pegged out for Carter, Look for Carter and fellow linebacker Sean Lee to be one of the most formidable duo’s at the linebacker spot this season.
4) Running Back: Demarco Murray, Age:25, Experience: 2 seasons.
It’s quite simple the cowboys need a healthy Demarco Murray to be totting the football this season. His missed some time with injuries these last two seasons and the words “injury prone” are starting to become familiar with his name. The Cowboys need more balance in their offense because they rushed for a putrid 1,265 yards last season good for 31st in the NFL last season. When Murray carries the ball more than 20 times in a game, the cowboys are undefeated (8-0). With Bill Callahan taking over the play calling duties from Head Coach Jason Garrett, look for Murray to get the ball a whole lot more touches on Sunday Afternoons for Dallas.
5) Wide Receiver: Dwanye Harris, Age: 26, Experience: 2 Seasons.
Is it just me or did Cowboy fans really get excited when Dwanye Harris touched the ball last season. He’s becoming a real weapon on punt returns with seven returns over 20 yards including a 78 yard return against Philly in Week 10. He got more comfortable with the offense as the year progressed and started taking reps away from ex-cowboy Kevin Olgetree. He caught 17 passes for 222 yards and one touchdown. He’ll get some competition for rookie Terrence Williams for the third receiver spot but i believe Harris has what it takes to hold off the rookie during camp and have a nice third year with the Cowboys.
6) Safety: Barry Church, Age: 25, Experience: 3 seasons
I really liked what Barry Church was doing in the early part of the season before he tore his ACL in week 3 against Tampa Bay. Church seemed to have good awareness in the run game and pass game. It was nice see a safety not getting burned over the top like prior safeties for Dallas. The Cowboys are still confident in Church’s ability which is why they rewarded him with a four-year, $12.4 million dollar contract. He brings a physical presence in the run but will need to continue improving on his pass coverage abilities. Look for Church to make a nice impact in Dallas secondary that’s hungry for play makers.