Cowboys' Week 1 MVP Was an Undrafted Free Agent in His First NFL Game

It wasn't the flashiest game, but Juanyeh Thomas made a massive impact in his first NFL game.

Juanyeh Thomas was the Cowboys' MVP in Sunday's win over the New York Giants.
Juanyeh Thomas was the Cowboys' MVP in Sunday's win over the New York Giants. / Tom Hauck/GettyImages

You don't need me to tell you how big an impact Juanyeh Thomas had early in the game. His blocked kick led to the first touchdown of the game, and Dallas rode that momentum to the second-biggest Week 1 blowout in franchise history.

But it was more than a one-play wonder for Thomas. The 2022 undrafted free agent was making under-the-radar contributions all night, having a phenomenal all-around performance on special teams while also getting the start and holding things down on defense.

Juanyeh was on the field for 59% of the Cowboys' defensive snaps, lining up at safety and covering in the slot.

He was officially credited with just 1.5 tackles (1 solo and 1 assist), but he was all over the field, regularly in the mix at the end of plays. If our entire defense hadn't been so terrific, he could've easily ended that game with 5-plus tackles.

He was also solid in coverage, locking things down and recording a pass breakup.

He didn't have the flashy plays that Trevon Diggs or Micah Parsons did, but he was absolutely rock-solid all game, and that's something Cowboys fans should be very excited about.

This is a guy who didn't see the field for a single snap as an undrafted rookie in 2022, spending the year on the practice squad.

He's a guy who was on the roster bubble all summer, and who people expected to be making the roster solely as a special teamer. But with an injury to Donvan Wilson, Thomas got his chance and absolutely ran with it.

It's going to be hard to keep him off the field at this point, so even when Wilson returns you can expect to see Thomas get rotated in on defense a lot more.

And of course, his impact will continue to be felt on special teams as well.

Dan Quinn will have a full week to figure out how he wants to maximize Juanyeh's talents against of next week's Sunday-afternoon matchup against the New York Jets.

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