Football analyst Bryan Broaddus tackles three pressing questions for the Cowboys. This week, he talks about potential breakthrough seasons for players on offense, defense and special teams.
What offensive player do you think will have a breakthrough season in 2013?
Broaddus: This is always an interesting question because there are several guys that could be in the mix from just what I have observed during the OTA practices on how they are being used. I like what I am seeing and hearing about Lance Dunbar. I always knew that he had quickness and an ability to catch the ball but what he has shown as a route runner and in the open field has been impressive. He has been difficult for even linebackers like Sean Lee to cover in space. Jason Witten and I were talking about him the other day and he felt like if given the opportunity could be a 50 catch type of player as a third down back. But the guy I am going to go with is, James Hanna. If this team plays as much "12" personnel as I feel they will, Hanna has a chance to catch a ton of ball as well. Of the tight ends, he is the quickest and his ability to play with smoothness is quite impressive. He knows how to get open and can catch the ball anywhere outside the frame work of his body. Either one of these guys has a real chance.
Is there a young player on defense that you think will emerge into a larger role this season?
Broaddus: As we work our way toward Oxnard, the one defensive player that people will continue to have their eyes on is safety Matt Johnson. He appears healthy and ready to prove the confidence that this front office and coaches showed toward him last season was justified. Physically he looks in outstanding shape and ready to battle to win this job over Will Allen and J.J. Wilcox. I like the fact that he is playing with a chip on his shoulder because there were times on college film where he was productive playing not only in the running game but in coverage as well. These defensive coaches have shown confidence in his ability by allowing him to work with the ones even when Will Allen was healthy. He has the most to prove on this defense and if he can do that, he will have a much greater role as a starter.
Of the drafted players, what guy will contribute the most on special teams?
Broaddus:I had to really think hard about this question because I remembered from last Tuesday's practice and watching the punt and punt return units work and I didn't see a rookie on either of the groups. I am sure that will change as we get into the pre-season games and they have a better opportunity to work with them in full pads. If I had to pick out a player I would say, linebacker DeVonte Holloman has a good shot to help but I am going with safety J.J. Wilcox. There is a big physical side to his game. He is an emotional player that is [embedded_ad]
always around the ball. He tackles well besides that, he has a little "Head Hunter" to his game. I believe that they will be able to teach him to be an effective blocker in the return game as well. In watching this kid play on tape and practice, you can tell that he really loves the game and to be good on special teams, you have to be that can of player.