The Dallas Cowboys kickoff their preseason on Saturday night against the San Francisco 49ers. Cowboys Nation will be tuning in to see how the team looks in their first competitive action since the playoff loss to Los Angeles in January. Ezekiel Elliott won’t be there, while Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper will play very little if at all. However, Cowboys football is back and Saturday marks the official start to the 2019 campaign. One that Cowboys fans hope will end in Miami in February. For that to happen the usual suspects and stars will have to shine. Dallas will also need some guys to take that next step toward stardom. With that in mind here are my five Cowboys that will breakout this season.
1. Michael Gallup
Last season I was arguably the biggest Gallup supporter. I was all in on Gallup and despite him not living up to my expectations, I am doubling down and betting on him again this season. Gallup had 33 catches for 507 yards and 2 TD’s in his rookie season. I expect him to double those numbers this season. Dak Prescott and Michael Gallup were so close to connecting on multiple deep passes last season. With another year of chemistry, I expect them to turn those near misses into big plays.
2. Blake Jarwin
Jason Witten decided to leave the broadcast booth and return to the Dallas Cowboys for the 2019 season. So why am I predicting a breakout season for the other tight end? While Witten will be the starter and safety valve for Dak, I believe the Cowboys and new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore have big plans for Jarwin as well. Jarwin showed his breakout potential in week 17 last season with 7 catches for 119 yards and 3 touchdowns. I think that will carry over to this season and Blake Jarwin will make his case to be the Cowboys number one TE moving forward.
3. Maliek Collins
In three seasons with Dallas Maliek Collins has battled injuries and inconsistent play. He’s shown flashes but has never put it all together for a full season. 2019 is the year he lives up to his full potential. Collins is entering the final year of his contract so it’s now or never. While I believe it is unlikely the Cowboys bring Collins back after this season he will want to get paid by somebody. In order to do that he needs a breakout season. I believe he will have a career-high in tackles and sacks.
4. Connor Williams
Connor Williams had his ups and downs during his rookie season. Williams put on 15 pounds of muscle in the off-season and early reports from camp are that he’s much improved. Williams will show why Dallas picked him in the second round of the 2018 draft instead of using that pick to get Safety Earl Thomas from Seattle. By the end of the season, Cowboys fans will view Connor Williams the same way they view Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zach Martin.
5. Xavier Woods
Speaking of Earl Thomas and safeties. Everyone including me thought Dallas would pay the price to bring in Earl Thomas. There’s a couple of reasons they didn’t. One was the price but perhaps the bigger reason is Dallas likes what they have at the position. Xavier Woods was vocal about the fact they didn’t need Earl and he believed he could be what the Dallas defense needs at safety. Woods has backed those words up so far at training camp by making interceptions and locking down tight ends and receivers. I love the way Xavier Woods plays and the confidence he has in himself. I believe his ability and confidence will carry him to a pro bowl season. At the end of the year, fans will realize what they wanted in Earl Thomas was on the team all along.