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37) Will Matt Johnson Take Advantage of His Opportunity?


IRVING, Texas – As the Cowboys focus on the offseason, training camp is still in sight.

Coming off two straight 8-8 seasons and three full seasons removed from the playoffs, the Cowboys have plenty of question marks surrounding them as they prepare for the 2013 season.

As we count down the days to camp, the writers of will take a different question each day that is hovering over this team.

With 43 days until the Cowboys take the field in Oxnard, Calif., today's question centers on the safety position.

37) Will Matt Johnson Take Advantage of His Opportunity?

For a fourth-round pick, from a small-school, who stayed injured all of last year, Matt Johnson is getting a great chance to prove himself here in his second season.

The Cowboys didn't draft a safety in the first two rounds that would've been slotted ahead of him. They didn't sign a high-profile safety for big money that would've also jumped Johnson on the depth chart.

Yes, they brought in J.J. Wilcox and Will Allen, but neither of them will prevent Johnson from winning the job outright.

Last year, Johnson missed all of the OTAs and all but one minicamp practice because of his school obligations at Eastern Washington. He then sustained three different hamstring injuries throughout the course of the season and only played in one preseason game all year.

However, Johnson still has a chance to win this job at safety, alongside Barry Church.

If he stays healthy, he'll likely be the favorite because of his youth and upside. Then again, staying healthy is something we've yet to see from him.

Sticking with our numerical journey to training camp, let's take a closer look at the number 37:


  • Darren Woodson tops the list of players the Cowboys have drafted with the 37th overall pick. The 1992 second-rounder became a five-time Pro Bowler and the all-time leading tackler in franchise history.
  • Other players who were drafted 37th overall include Andre Gurode, Kavika Pittman and Dixon Edwards.
  • Emmitt Smith's 37-yard touchdown run against the Vikings in 1996 is the sixth-longest run from scrimmage in Cowboys' postseason history.
  • Linebacker Mike Hegman returned a fumble 37 yards for a touchdown in Super Bowl XIII against Pittsburgh, ripping the ball away from Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw.
  • Matt Johnson is the 12th player to wear No. 37 for the Cowboys. The most notable player is likely James Washington, who played from 1990-94. Washington came up big in the Super Bowl, getting an interception in Super Bowl XXVII against the Bills, before a monster game the following year. Washington rivaled Emmitt Smith for Super Bowl XXVIII MVP honors by returning a fumble for a touchdown, picking off a pass and forcing another fumble.
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