(Editor's Note: Over the next month, the staff of DallasCowboys.com is looking to answer the 20 biggest questions facing the team heading into the 2023 season. Today, the staff writers continue the series by identifying a player from the 2022 draft class that might be ready for a big leap in Year 2.)
16) Who Makes Biggest Year 2 Jump?
Kurt Daniels: There sure are plenty of options. On one end of the spectrum, Tyler Smith was solid in 2022, but could he become a powerhouse in Year Two? Then there's Jalen Tolbert, who basically had a redshirt season. Might he figure things out now? In between are the likes of DaRon Bland, Damone Clark, KaVonte Turpin, Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot. Each is expected to play a major role. But Sam Williams seems poised to really break out. After four sacks in his rookie campaign, he's shooting for 10 this year, which, in truth, might just be setting the bar low.
Patrik Walker: I'm going to have to go with either Sam Williams or Damone Clark here. I know, I know, you want me to choose one so I'll go 51/49 toward Clark and here's why: I believe Williams has a breakout season that might touch 10 sacks, but I don't know yet how his rep count will look. I know Clark is going to start beside LVE, and he's coming off of a full offseason of work with Dan Quinn (he was rehabbing in Year 1 and still made waves on a short year). Clark is primed to detonate.
Mickey Spagnola: I'm going to go with Damone Clark, who did more his rookie season than expected since he had pre-draft neck fusion surgery and did not get elevated from Non-Football Injury to the 53-man roster until Oct. 26, in time for the eighth game of the season. And without any offseason work or training camp, Clark in 10 games started five and finished with 50 tackles and two forced fumbles. He's been working in the offseason with the first team defense alongside Leighton Vander Esch at linebacker and watch out for the second-year guy to make a huge splash.
Nick Harris: All of the buzz around Jalen Tolbert's progression this offseason has me excited about what he can do on the field in 2023. Things never really clicked for Tolbert as a rookie both on and off the field, but the chemistry grown with Dak Prescott paired with a strong showing in OTAs and mini-camp has him set to take control of the WR4 spot in the preseason. As a rookie, Tolbert recorded just two receptions for 12 yards. In year two, I see Tolbert topping 300 yards and 20 receptions.