Dallas Cowboys: 5 players whose stock is on the rise

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(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /
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Jaylon Smith #54 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

Dallas Cowboys Standouts: Jaylon Smith, LB

Status: Year 4

It may seem crazy to say a player who’s coming off a Pro Bowl season is exceeding expectations a year later, but let me explain… Pro Bowls mean jack-diddly-squat. Jaylon should have gone to the Pro Bowl in 2018, but he inexplicably didn’t. Then in 2019, he shouldn’t have gone but voters sent him anyway.

By all quality accounts, Jaylon had a disappointing season last year. It wasn’t terrible (he still finished in Pro Football Focus’ Top-25 ILB), but it was clearly a step back from the season before. Fans were left wondering – was the real Jaylon the guy from 2018 or the guy from 2019?

If training camp is any indication, he’s the guy from 2018.

Jaylon has been a constant standout this training camp, providing those big splash plays in the backfield as well as the routine. Even more shocking is his steady play in coverage. Almost every day Jaylon makes a play in the passing game, silencing doubters, and improving on his biggest weakness.

Cowboys Camp began with Jaylon switching positions. Instead of playing MIKE where many of his weaknesses were exposed, Jaylon is playing WILL. The idea is that it would let him attack and play downhill more. And he is. But he’s also playing like a new man when put in coverage.

We hoped for a bounce back season, but we’re getting even more than that. That’s very good news since Jaylon is an important cog in this defensive machine.