Who to Watch: Opportunities for Rookie DTs

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The last time the Cowboys faced the Rams, the stakes were much higher obviously. But the defense didn’t have its best performance that night in LA, and saw the season come to a crashing end.

The players will be different for both teams, but for some of the individuals, this is a huge moment to make a case for their roster spot

Our staff writers were at camp for the entire time and will be keeping tabs on several players.

But here are four defensive guys that the writers will be paying attention to Saturday against the Rams.

Rob Phillips:

Daniel Wise: Here’s a really good problem for head coach Jason Garrett and his staff. They’ve got 16 defensive linemen in camp, and at least a dozen could be in strong consideration for a 53-man roster spot. Wise, the undrafted rookie out of Kansas, is in that group. He was active against the 49ers, penetrating into the backfield and creating rush lanes for others. Wise has versatility, too – he has lined up inside and on the edge in different practice drills. Can he separate himself Saturday? The amount of young talent in this group is impressive. At one point last week, five rookies were among the first eight linemen lining up in team drills.

David Helman:

Ricky Walker: Speaking of forgetting people, I owe Ricky Walker an apology. During the first two weeks of training camp, I struggled to remember the guy was even on the team. With so many talented pass rushers, it’s hard to keep track of everyone — especially the undrafted rookie from Virginia Tech. Then came the San Francisco game and the dude was everywhere. Walker tallied three tackles, a quarterback hit and a tackle for loss against the 49ers. Now comes the real challenge: can he do it again? If he can, it’ll be quite an interesting development at the back of the D-Line depth chart.

Nick Eatman:

Donovan Olumba: Even though he’s had a good training camp so far, the deck still seems stacked against him in terms of making this team. Four veteran corners (Jones, Awuzie, Brown, Lewis) will probably make it and C.J. Goodwin is one of the best special teams players. And then there’s drafted rookie Mike Jackson, who might win a tiebreaker if it’s close. So Olumba has to be better than Jackson by far, which he has been in camp. Let’s see if he can get his hands on the ball a few times against the Rams and maybe come up with a pick.

Bryan Broaddus:

Donovan Wilson: With Kavon Frazier and Darian Thompson’s play leveling off, it’s given Donovan Wilson the opportunity to make this squad. The coaches love Thompson and know what they have in Frazier but Jason Garrett said it himself that he ideally would like players on the roster who can play both defensive snaps and special teams. Wilson might be a rookie but he’s shown smarts for his positioning and has not been adverse to stepping up and tackling. He’s been a good practice player and showing up in those situations such as the Blue/White scrimmage and the 49ers game. Needs to finish this off to put one of these veterans on the street.

The Cowboys kick off the regular season against the New York Giants on Sept. 8th. Tickets starting at $35. Get your tickets to see your Cowboys at AT&T Stadium this season!

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