For the first time in a long time, the Dallas Cowboys were eligible to appear in HBO’s Hard Knocks. Unsurprisingly, they were the chosen team to help the show’s ratings, which declined a lot last season. But if there’s one thing we know about the Cowboys, is that they provide eyeballs.
That should especially be the case in 2021 given the many storylines surrounding the Cowboys less than a month away from training camp. This year’s first episode of Hard Knocks drops on August 10th.
Here are my Top 5 Cowboys to watch!
5. WR CeeDee Lamb
Even without Dak Prescott for the entire season, Lamb had a terrific rookie season for the Cowboys. Not only did he show great hands, but great technique and toughness. His role on Kellen Moore’s offense could only increase as he enters his second year in the NFL. Lamb has gotten bigger this offseason, too, which could lead to more playing time outside and not only in the slot.
CeeDee Lamb's 43 first down receptions from the slot ranked 2nd among all WRs last season— PFF DAL Cowboys (@PFF_Cowboys) June 28, 2021
He ranked 1st among rookie WRs and led the 2nd place finisher by more than double (Justin Jefferson, 19)#Cowboys pic.twitter.com/q6K8IISfli
Out of the Cowboys’ receivers, CeeDee Lamb probably brings the most personality to the table. Plus, his breakout potential would make him an even more interesting feature for the show.
4. CB Kelvin Joseph
The Dallas Cowboys will need Joseph to step up in his rookie season. Cornerback is perhaps the weakest position group in the Cowboys’ roster. Dan Quinn needs someone to start opposite Trevon Diggs and Joseph has the physical talent to do so.
Yet, maturity issues were a concern during the Draft process, including the fact that he was “invited to opt-out” of the season by Kentucky’s coaching staff in late 2020. Will we see any of those come up during training camp? Or will the Cowboys’ second-rounder bury the narrative with a strong performance in camp?
3. LB Micah Parsons
You just know Micah Parsons is going to be one of the most followed Cowboys in the TV series. The Penn State product is a great athlete with high expectations and brings a lot to the table with a big personality.
Despite being a rookie in a competitive LB room, Parsons is likely to start for the Dallas Cowboys right away. This offseason, the coaching staff has put a lot on his plate as he tries to absorb all the knowledge he can before the season kicks off. With the athletic ability clearly in place, watching his development up close should be very fun.
Plus, I hope HBO tries to go into the rookie’s chess rivalry with star WR Amari Cooper. They just have to.
2. LB Leighton Vander Esch
Seeing Leighton Vander Esch’s name on this list might come as a surprise after a bad 2020 season for the Cowboys’ linebacker. But hear me out. The competition at linebacker in training camp will be intense. Parsons, Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, Jabril Cox, and Keanu Neal all have a legit shot at playing time.
A healthy Vander Esch might be the better option over Smith, who also struggled last season. “I’m on a mission,” said Leighton earlier in the offseason when talking about bouncing back from injury.
Vander Esch was a no-star recruit, played eight-man football, and received zero FBS scholarship offers. He’s beaten adversity a few times, and I look forward to watching him attempt it again in Hard Knocks.
1. QB Dak Prescott
Dak Prescott has positioned himself as a top quarterback in the league. However, that’s not the only reason why his popularity with Dallas Cowboys’ fans has continued to climb. As he enters his sixth season in the NFL, we’ve gotten to see more of his personality. We’ve seen him become one of the faces of the league and of big-time brands like Jordan. We’ve learned about his leadership skills on and off the field.
We’ve even seen him speak up about mental health and the issues he’s had in the past. Now, in Hard Knocks, Cowboys fans will be able to see up-close Dak’s road to being “full go.”
Featured Image Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports