The Dallas Cowboys are one of the glamour franchises in the NFL and playing for the team usually brings great exposure. Jersey sales for good Cowboys players are routinely at the top of the list and their television ratings are always among the highest each year.
While players and Jerry Jones’ marketing strategy keeps the Cowboys in the spotlight, winning games is more important to the fans. While the 2020 team has plenty of stars to help lead them, there are some unsung heroes who could be the key to a successful season.
Here are five underrated Cowboys to watch for in 2020:
Michael Gallup - Wide Receiver
It may sound weird to have Gallup in the underrated category, but with Amari Cooper as Dallas’ number one receiver and the hype surrounding first-round draft pick CeeDee Lamb, Gallup gets lost in the shuffle. He shouldn’t. Gallup was a 1,000 yard receiver in just 14 games last season and is gaining steam as one of the better young wide receivers in the game.
If Gallup continues to progress and explodes in 2020, the Cowboys’ offense might be tough to stop.
Connor McGovern - Center/Guard
It was a lost season for McGovern, who never played a snap during his rookie season due to a pectoral injury last summer. However, the third round draft pick out of Penn State offers versatility along the interior of the offensive line. McGovern played both center and guard positions in college and he’ll be competing for a starting spot at both in training camp.
If McGovern doesn’t win a job in the starting lineup, he could be a useful backup, and with Connor Williams missing time in each of his first two seasons, McGovern could play a vital role on the Cowboys’ offensive line.
Tyrone Crawford - Defensive End
After another offseason where fans were counting the money that Dallas could save by cutting Crawford, Dallas kept around the valuable defensive lineman. Crawford is one of the unsung heroes of the defense and the unit lacked toughness without him in 2019. The Cowboys missed his leadership in the locker room after he was lost to a hip injury last October.
Crawford doesn’t have flashy stats or excel in any one area, but he’s versatile enough to play both inside, as well as on the edge and brings extraordinary effort. He’s also the only reliable RDE on the roster right now. Every team needs a grinder who helps make others better on the defensive line, Crawford fills that role for the Cowboys.
Aldon Smith - Defensive End
It’s hard to predict what the Cowboys will get from Smith’s return, but if he can regain some of what made him an elite pass rusher with the San Francisco 49ers, the defense will reap the benefits.
Smith looks the part, but those four years away from the game will have surely taken a toll.
Currently, the Cowboys have one good pass rusher, DE DeMarcus Lawrence. If Smith can provide pressure opposite Lawrence on passing downs and get after the quarterback, it will provide a huge boost to the defense. Smith may hold the key to the Cowboys defensively. If he recaptures his pass rushing skills, watch out.
Chidobe Awuzie - Cornerback
Awuzie has the title of best CB on the team, for now. We haven’t seen the rookie CBs play yet and there could be a position switch coming for Awuzie, although that hasn’t been announced. If Awuzie moves to safety, it could be in that hybrid role the team used former CB Byron Jones in when he began his career.
However, new coaches and playing in a new scheme defensively may benefit Awuzie more than any other CB. Playing with his back to the ball was a hindrance for Awuzie under former coach Kris Richard. Awuzie seemed to allow more completions despite having good coverage than any other Cowboys corner, so a change in style should help.
If Awuzie provides the versatility to play both corner and safety, as well as adjusts well to the new scheme, he might be the MVP of the secondary.
Which under-appreciated Dallas Cowboy do you think will make the biggest impact during the 2020 season? Share your pick with Ben on Twitter @BenGrimaldi.
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