Star Evaluation: After Rookie Year on Practice Squad, Jones Ready to Shine?

The roster turnover is about to begin. Free agency opens in less than one month and the 2017 NFL Draft isn't far behind it. Over the next two months, the Cowboys will lose and replace a sizable portion of their roster.

For every new face, however, there are dozens of familiar ones who will return to begin a new campaign. From established veterans to second-year players, the vast majority of the Cowboys' 2017 team is already on the roster. In the coming weeks, the staff of DallasCowboys.com will preview those players, analyzing where they've been and where they're going.

Today we'll continue the series with receiver Andy Jones.

What's Been Good:Training camp was pretty good for Jones. That's where he made a name for himself, and for a while he appeared to be in a position to make the roster. While that didn't materialize, Jones stayed the course and continued to improve each week on the practice squad. Word around The Star is that Jones worked well with Tony Romo later in the season on the scout team, giving the Cowboys' starting defense fits during the week of practice.  

What's Been Bad:There isn't anything too bad yet for Jones, who was an undrafted rookie from Jacksonville. Not making the 53-man roster isn't exactly a bad thing, but considering he was on track early in camp and faded off in the preseason games, it had to be somewhat disappointing for him. One of the reasons he struggled in the games was inconsistency in catching the ball. And his lack of pure speed and ability to separate from defenders will always be a deterrent in his game.[embeddedad0]

2016 Highlight:For a guy that didn't make it on the roster, Jones doesn't have a significant highlight for 2016. There was improvement but obviously not enough to get him moved up on the 53.   

What's Next:The next few days might have a significant impact on a player such as Jones. While he's under contract and not going anywhere, a couple of players ahead of him on the depth chart could be moving on. Terrance Williams and Brice Butler are both free agents. If either or both of them sign with other teams, it will certainly leave some holes at the position. The Cowboys will likely address the receiver position in the draft and quite possibly in free agency if both Williams and Butler sign elsewhere. But considering players typically make the biggest jump from Year One to Year Two, it should signal a significant improvement for Jones. There's no reason why he shouldn't be competing for at least a spot on the 53-man roster here in 2017.

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