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Mailbag: Breakout Cowboys Players In 2020?

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Hearing from the new assistant coaches got me optimistic about their ability to raise the roster's level of play. Who do you think could have a breakout season on offense and defense next season?MIKE S / DALLAS, TX

Rob: It's fair to call Dak Prescott's 2019 season a breakout based on his numbers and his growth as a passer. But the Cowboys believe he can reach new levels. That's why they want to get a long-term deal with him. And that's a big reason why they hired Mike McCarthy. I think Prescott takes another step in 2020. Defensively, there are so many unknowns because of expiring contracts. I'll go with Jourdan Lewis, who earned more playing time at cornerback last season. New defensive coordinator Mike Nolan spoke Monday about the importance of takeaways, and Lewis usually seems to find the football.

David: It's tough to answer that question when the roster has so many free agents. We literally only know what half the roster is going to look like right now. But I'll throw out my guy Tony Pollard. He had a really productive rookie season, and I'm hopeful this coaching staff will be willing to get a little more out of him. Between his abilities as a runner, receiver and returner, he can do way more.

I know it is early, but where do you see Connor McGovern fitting in with our current offensive line situation? - MICHAEL BOOKHAMER / CLEARFIELD, PA

Rob: The Cowboys have some question marks on the interior offensive line. Joe Looney, their primary backup center, is set to be an unrestricted free agent. So is Xavier Su'a-Filo, their primary backup guard. Depending on what happens there, McGovern could have added responsibility. He played both positions in college but couldn't get on the field last season because of a pectoral injury.

David: Right now, I'd assume he will fill the "swing interior lineman" role that Joe Looney has held the last few years. It's possible Looney could come back, but if he doesn't then McGovern could serve as a backup guard and center. Of course, it's possible he pushes for a starting job — but I think it's unlikely, given that Connor Williams has a two-year head start on him. That said, if McGovern is good enough to grab the starting left guard job, perhaps the coaches could try to convert Williams to swing tackle. I think that's unlikely, though.

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