(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 2022 season. Today, the staff writers highlight talented second-year players on the roster.)
FRISCO, Texas – The "second-year jump."
It's a phrase commonly used by Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy to describe a player's jump in production, and confidence, as they go through their second season in the league. A perfect example is cornerback Trevon Diggs, who followed up a solid 2020 rookie season with a franchise-record tying 11 interceptions in 2021, and wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, who also reached the Pro Bowl in his second year.
Who will make a second-year jump in 2022? The staff writers debate in our latest "20 Questions" entry.
19) Which Second-Year Player Will Make The Leap?
Rob Phillips: In the "besides Micah Parsons" category, I'll go with Osa Odighizuwa. He did a terrific job filling in for Neville Gallimore for the better part of 2021 and finished his rookie season with 12 pressures (good for fifth on the team) along with 34 tackles (four for loss) and two sacks. He's got a nice balance of power, quickness and technique as an inside player. The Cowboys are excited about his potential, and his approach is a big reason why. He might emerge as one of the best Day 2 draft picks the team has had over the past several years.
Mickey Spagnola: Let's go with last year's fourth round pick Jabril Cox. The LSU linebacker didn't get much of a chance in 2021, getting off to a slow start. And just when it seemed he was earning a chance for snaps Cox suffered a season-ending torn ACL. He should be ready to go early in training camp, and there is opportunity for him on special teams for sure, and as a nickel linebacker. With the Cowboys deciding not to re-sign Keanu Neal, his spot on the standard nickel defense is wide open, so look for the multi-talented Cox to take advantage of the opportunity in his second season.
Nick Eatman: To be honest, Micah Parsons might actually leap over all of them. And I know he's not really the premise behind this question, but his jump could be bigger than anyone else. But let's play along. Give me, Chauncey Golston. I think he's got something to his game and he's always somewhat forgotten. But when he's had chances, he's made plays. I think he'll play some tackle and end and will wind up as a difference-maker in 2022. My second option would be Israel Mukuamu. I think he'll make a big jump this year.