FRISCO - One has been here a while. Another emerged as a rookie last year. A third just arrived.
Want a trio of Dallas Cowboys "breakout stars'' for the 2021 season? On three different levels, and for three different reasons, Randy Gregory, CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons are the guys to watch.
Gregory: The team has essentially cleared the path for his ascent. The long wait has been mostly due to his suspension-related battles - though last year, new coach Mike McCarthy and staff were painfully slow in recognizing the weapon Gregory can be as an edge rusher.
The former second-round pick, 28, is in the final year of his contract, making his a perfect time for him to lead the team in sacks.
Lamb: I've got some people here inside The Star suggesting to me that Lamb is about to overtake Amari Cooper as Dallas' top wideout. Don't allow any dinged-up-related bias against Cooper color your understanding of what this means; Cooper is 27 and a four-time Pro Bowler.
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Lamb, last year's first-round pick, demonstrated often how special he is. But CeeDee - or any other receiver - being better than Amari? That would be quite something.
Parsons: We still don't know exactly how Dallas is going to use this year's first-round pick; the Penn State linebacker might be best-utilized as a versatile chess piece, or maybe it'd be smarter to plug the rookie in at MIKE and leave it alone for the next decade or so.
Either way, Parsons figures as an NFL Rookie of the Year candidate, a "breakout'' identity by definition for a Dallas defense that needs identity and breakout players.
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