If you ask old school scouts what is required to field a championship contender, they will quickly tell you that it takes eight to twelve blue-chip players to compete for a title. This premise has been the standard for general managers around the league and I rely on it to help me identify the players to watch on game day.
With that in mind, let's identify the players to watch on the Cowboys' next opponent. Here's a quick report on the current blue-chip players for the Washington Commanders.
Terry McLaurin, WR: The Commanders' WR1 is an explosive pass-catcher with a combination of speed, quickness, and burst to blow past defenders on vertical routes. The fourth-year pro is a rare find as a deep threat with A-plus route running skills and sticky hands. The playmaker's ability to thrive as a big play specialist and "chain mover" makes him a legitimate No.1 option in any offense.
Curtis Samuel, WR: Despite a pedestrian yards per catch average (8.2) that does not pop off of the stat sheet, the sixth-year pro is a hybrid playmaker with the capacity to pick up first downs as a runner-receiver on the perimeter. Samuel is the Commanders' leading receiver and his playmaking skills make it imperative to track his whereabouts on every down.
Carson Wentz, QB: The veteran quarterback possesses the physical tools to take the Commanders' offense to the next level, but he must be a more consistent thrower from the pocket. Although Wentz has completed 63.1-percent of his passes with a 7:3 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a 90.6 passer rating through three games, he continues to struggle with turnovers and ball placement issues. That said, the streaky passer can get hot at a moment's notice and the Commanders' offense looks different when he gets it going from the pocket.
Antonio Gibson, RB: The Commanders' feature back is a wide receiver masquerading as a running back. Gibson's versatility as a pass-catching back creates mismatches for opponents when the Commanders take advantage of his skills on the perimeter.
Montez Sweat, EDGE: The extra-long pass rusher is a potential disruptor at the line of scrimmage due to his motor and athleticism. Sweat is a power rusher with enough speed, quickness, and explosiveness to create problems at the point of attack. Although the veteran has yet to register a sack, he has the potential to come up with a key strip-sack or QB pressure that changes the flow of the game.
Daron Payne, NT: The massive defensive tackle is a sneaky good pass rusher with disruptive run-stopping skills. Payne owns the line of scrimmage as a heavy-handed defender with the size, strength, and power to throw blockers around. If opponents fail to pay extra attention to No.94 at the point of attack, the veteran will wreck the shop and ruin a game plan.
Jonathan Allen, DT: The all-star interior defender possesses the size, length, and athleticism to create chaos between the tackles. Allen's technical savvy and non-stop motor make him difficult to control at the point of attack when the Commanders are able to put their opponents in obvious passing situations.
Kendall Fuller, CB: The crafty veteran was once viewed as the top nickel cornerback in the game. Fuller's instincts, awareness and ball skills should make quarterbacks nervous when targeting receivers in his area.