Five Dallas Cowboys with the biggest Boom-Bust potential

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 24: The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders perform during the came against the at AT
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 24: The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders perform during the came against the at AT /
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ARLINGTON, TX – NOVEMBER 23: Melvin Gordon #28 of the Los Angeles Chargers holds off Jaylon Smith #54 of the Dallas Cowboys on a run in the second half of a football game at AT&T Stadium on November 23, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

Jaylon Smith

Jaylon Smith may not risk getting cut from the team, but given his draft status and questionable future, he has major bust potential.

The great news is the stage has been set for Jaylon Smith to take a massive step forward in his development this season. One more year removed from his career threatening knee injury, Jaylon has shed the awkward brace and regained much of his movement and explosiveness.

How much of his athletic prowess he’s recouped remains to be seen, but it stands to reason, if this blue-chip talent reclaims only 90 percent of his former self, he’ll still be good enough to be Pro Bowler as long as he’s put in the right situation.

Speaking of right situation…


The Dallas Cowboys are trying new things on defense this season. One of those things is using Jaylon Smith as a pass-rusher. With the addition of Kris Richard, the Cowboys will be borrowing more from Seattle’s schemes. Employing more three linebacker sets, the Cowboys will be able to let Jaylon Smith play more to his strengths – running downhill.

Related Story. Could Jaylon Smith be the No. 2 pass-rusher?. light

A few days ago we discussed the 3-3-5 defense. This nickel coverage scheme will still rush four, and many times the fourth pass-rusher will be Jaylon Smith rushing from a two-point stance.

At Notre Dame Jaylon was a dominant run-stuffer, multidimensional coverage man, and fluid pass-rusher. His sideline-to sideline speed was elite and his ability to avoid blockers while in pursuit were reminiscent of Sean Lee. He’s going to be given every opportunity to do this again.


When you draft a player in the top 40 of the draft, you have certain expectations. Those expectations become even greater when the player is drafted injured, and will miss his rookie season. Jaylon was drafted with Pro Bowl expectations and he’s failed to meet those expectations thus far.

With the Dallas Cowboys we’ve seen a slow start. Still noticeably recovering from his catastrophic knee injury, team injuries forced Jaylon into the lineup prematurely last season. The workload was too much too soon and we saw Jaylon struggle in nearly all parts of his game – including the cognitive portion.

But his play improved as the season went on. Mobility was regained, instincts started shining, and the speed reemerged. Swiveling his hips to drop into coverage is still a concern, but not one that can’t be overcome.

Jaylon has real Pro Bowl potential in 2018 if he’s used as a regular nickel pass-rusher. In the 3-3-5 he’ll be more a defensive end than a blitzing LB. But if he doesn’t improve on his play from last season and the pass-rush opportunities don’t surface, he may be a borderline bust.

Next. 5 reasons Dak Prescott will bounce back in 2018. dark

Players like CB Jourdan Lewis and S Xavier Woods have big-time potential as well. Both players are fighting for starting spots and both players could conceivably be Pro Bowlers. But the five on this list stand out as having the biggest Boom or Bust potential this season.

What players are on your list?