A look at 4 players who need to standout immediately that will be worth watching in the third preseason game.
1. DT Zach Minter:
Minter was only signed 5 days ago from the Bears when injured rookie defensive lineman Ben Gardner left the team for surgery. Minter entered the game in the 2nd half against the Ravens and made the most of his time by making 2 sacks and causing a fumble.
It was an impressive performance by Minter for sure however, his achievements come with a bit of caveat since he did all this against third string Ravens. During practice this week, Minter has been running some with the first team defense and that means we should see him much sooner in the Dolphins game and against better competition.
Can Minter show up like last week when playing against starters on the offensive line? That’s exactly what the Cowboys defense needs to find out because the defensive line is where they could use the most help.
2. LB Will Smith:
Smith was drafted by Dallas in the 7th round but you probably have heard very little about him during camp. Smith has missed time with a groin injury. Injured groins appear to have replaced the hamstring injuries that Dallas was once plagued with in a case of “if it isn’t one thing it’s another”.
Smith saw his first action as a Cowboy late in the Ravens game and was actually pretty impressive in a short amount of time getting credit for a tackle and an assist.
In evaluating Smith’s college play after Dallas drafted him, I was quite impressed with his ability to move and get to the football. I came to the conclusion that he would impress when the pads come on and I still believe he can help this defense. He is a solid tackler and very active on the field.
Holloman has a neck injury and Dallas is still searching for a LB combination for week one. Smith needs to make the most of his opportunities in the next 2 games and I’m looking for this guy to show the coaches what he can do.
3. CB Tyler Patmon:
The undrafted rookie corner out of Oklahoma State impressed in OTAs but has missed practice in camp with a hip flexor (at least it’s not a groin). He returned to action in the second half of the Ravens game and he recorded a tackle and an assist in limited action. I thought Patmon displayed good cover skills and I noticed that the Raven QB avoided throwing his way because the receiver was covered.
Currently Dallas knows Scandrick will miss the first four games of the season. Claiborne has missed time with a shoulder injury, Webb has continued to struggle in coverage, and the rookie Mitchell has been inconsistent. Patmon will need to have a couple good preseason game performances to make the roster but he should certainly get an opportunity.
I’m watching Patmon to see if he can make some plays and convince the coaches to keep him on the roster.
4. RB Ryan Williams:
The 2nd year player that Dallas signed from the Cardinals, is in a battle for a roster spot with 2nd year player Joseph Randle. I believe Randle may hold a slight edge primarily because he is contributing on special teams. Last week Williams showed something with a TD and 36 yards on 6 carries. His running has been impressive displaying a combination of power and quickness.
Have to think Dallas would prefer to keep just 3 RBs on the roster, but Williams is making a solid case for keeping him as the 4th one. I’m looking for Williams to put together another solid performance to convince the decision makers that they need him on the roster.