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14) Who's Ready To Make Their First Pro Bowl?


(Editor's Note: Over the next month, the staff of is looking to answer the 20 biggest questions facing the team heading into the 2023 season. Today, the staff writers continue the series with a closer look at the backup running back spot.)

Nick Eatman: This is always one of my favorite questions – not sure it's the most-pressing but really what it's asking is which player is ready to take that next step. I feel like Donovan Wilson was right on the edge of making the Pro Bowl last year, probably an alternate. So with another season like he had last year, perhaps with a few more turnovers and sacks in the big games sprinkled in, that he'll probably take that jump to the Pro Bowl status. If not him, Tyler Smith seems like a good guess, too.

Kurt Daniels: Low-hanging fruit here, but isn't it about time Brandin Cooks got an invite? After all, he ranks 11th among active players with 8,616 career receiving yards. In fact, he's the only one in the top 14 who doesn't have at least three Pro Bowl nods. And after two seasons toiling away in Houston with an offense that was one of the worst in the NFL, he'll now play a key part in one of the best. Seemingly the only thing that might keep him from producing a Pro Bowl-worthy season in 2023 is just getting enough passes thrown his way.

Nick Harris: At both left guard and left tackle, Tyler Smith had a huge rookie year that surprised even those that believed in his early ability. Going into year two, if Smith can hone in on one position throughout the season, I see the Crowley native notching his first Pro Bowl appearance. Even if injuries do arise and Smith is forced to move around, his experience being that versatile option will prepare him even better for the next time it's needed.

Kyle Youmans: Last year, no one would've ever guessed KaVontae Turpin would be in the Pro Bowl, so I'm aiming to think outside the box in a similar way. The easy answers would be Tyler Smith and Mazi Smith as first-round picks and clear starters. But that's boring. I'll say Damone Clark, the second-year linebacker who battled through early-season injuries, will shock the world, and make his first Pro Bowl. He improved steadily throughout his rookie season without a first offseason to grow on. Now, he could not only fight for a starting job, but also become a huge part of the Dallas defense.

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