(Editor's Note: Last summer, the DallasCowboys.com staff attempted to answer 20 questions about the Cowboys' roster leading into training camp. With the 2015 season complete, we're picking out the 10 best and most applicable questions and reviewing how our predictions fared.)
6) Which of the Big 3 rookies (Byron Jones, Randy Gregory or La'el Collins) contributes the most in 2015?
David: I answered this particular question before training camp, and I seem to remember changing my mind quite a bit. Before camp I said Byron Jones, and I think that turned out to be fairly accurate. But man was I blown away by Randy Gregory's performance in camp and the preseason. Somewhere on this site, I predicted Gregory would be a Rookie of the Year candidate with eight or so sacks – and that turned out to be very far from the case. So me being right about Byron feels pretty hollow when you factor in my whiff on Gregory. All of that said, I think the Cowboys have a lot to be optimistic about with all three of their big-name rookies. La'el Collins obviously handled himself well as the starting left guard, and Jones had a solid but not spectacular debut as the defense's utility man. Gregory is easily the guy with the most to improve, but he also might have the most intriguing upside. Even after a disappointing rookie campaign, I'm very interested to see what kinds of gains he can make with a full offseason to prepare himself.
Nick: Whoops. I never wavered all summer long saying Gregory would not only be the best of the three top-rated rookies, but he'd be one of the NFL's top defensive rookies. That high ankle sprain was a devastating setback for Gregory, who never even recorded a sack. He did end up with 16 QB pressures, which ranked fourth on the team.
Rob:Back in the summer I felt Byron Jones had the best chance to contribute early because the Cowboys might need him at two different positions, cornerback and safety, and indeed that became necessary because Orlando Scandrick's ACL injury late in training camp definitively made corner less deep than they expected. Jones had the biggest impact of the rookies, largely because he rarely came off the field, playing 83 percent of the snaps in a variety of roles. Gregory's high ankle sprain in the opener threw his rookie season off balance to some degree. Collins showed promise as the starter at left guard once he got the opportunity.
Bryan: During training camp I went with Randy Gregory as my rookie that would make the biggest impact. I wish I would have had the guts to go with La'el Collins but it didn't work out for me. It was unfortunate that Gregory suffered an injury in that opening game against the Giants because I think his season would have been different. I was positive that the coaches had a plan for him not only in nickel packages but in base defense as well. Gregory needed to play because in missing those games, he lost his ability to play with technique. It was like he had to start all over again and any momentum that he was able to gain from the preseason was lost. There has been some comparison between Gregory and what DeMarcus Lawrence was able to accomplish as a rookie when he returned from missing the first eight games of the 2014 season. The difference here is that Lawrence took the opportunity to add strength while he was away and that is why he was able to carry over his play from his rookie season to this one. I didn't get the feeling that Gregory was able to make a similar gain but hopefully he will be able to do that this offseason.
To review our original answers, click here: http://www.dallascowboys.com/news/2015/07/10/20-questions-which-cowboys-rookie-will-make-biggest-2015-impact