5 Dallas Cowboys players under the radar entering training camp

These 5 players are flying under the radar for the Dallas Cowboys ahead of training camp.
Sam Williams, Dallas Cowboys
Sam Williams, Dallas Cowboys / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory minicamp is in the rearview for the Dallas Cowboys, who now turn their attention to training camp.

During the month-long break, until they meet in Oxnard, California, the news will center around Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb.

The two veterans are entering the final year of their contracts, and negotiations have been slow — to say the least.

As those stories hog the attention, these five players who could be in for an increased workload in 2024 have mostly flown under the radar.

Jalen Brooks, Wide Receiver

Dallas Cowboys, Jalen Brooks
Dallas Cowboys, Jalen Brooks / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

A seventh-round pick from South Carolina, Jalen Brooks made the roster as a rookie. He had just six targets but hauled each of them in for a total of 64 yards. What was most impressive was the fact he moved the chains on four of those catches.

Heading into training camp, Brooks could be in line for more playing time. Michael Gallup is gone and while Ryan Flournoy was an offseason star, there's not much depth behind Lamb and Brandin Cooks. That could open the door for Brooks to continue to climb the depth chart.

John Stephens, Jr., Tight End

Dallas Cowboys, John Stephens Jr.
Dallas Cowboys, John Stephens Jr. / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The breakout camp star in 2023 was John Stephens, Jr. Undrafted out of Louisiana, Stephens converted from receiver to tight end and was a matchup nightmare. He had 62 yards and a touchdown in two preseason games before suffering a torn ACL.

His return has gone under the radar but he has a good shot of making the roster in year two. If he does, look for him to find a role as a vertical threat at tight end.

Sam Williams, EDGE

Sam Williams, Dallas Cowboys
Sam Williams, Dallas Cowboys / Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Any time someone is 261 pounds and capable of running a 4.4, its hard to see them being overlooked. Having said that, what's happpened with Sam Williams in Dallas.

Williams is such a talented athlete that he's played on special teams as a gunner. He’s done well there but hasn't ben bad at all when he plays on the defensive line. He now enters year three with 8.5 sacks under his belt.

With Dante Fowler and Dorance Armstrong gone, Williams should see an increased workload. Even so, he's hardly mentioned since Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence are the primary starters and Marshawn Kneeland was just added via Round 2. That could bode well for Williams, who might be a potential breakout star.

Markquese Bell, Safety

Markquese Bell, Dallas Cowboys
Markquese Bell, Dallas Cowboys / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of breakout stars, Markquese Bell burst onto the scene in 2023. Moved to linebacker out of neccesity, Bell recorded 94 tackles.

He returns to safety this year and it feels as though he's a slightly forgotten man. Dallas is deep at the position but Bell should be on the field often, especially with Jayron Kearse leaving.

Rico Dowdle, Running Back

Rico Dowdle, Dallas Cowboys
Rico Dowdle, Dallas Cowboys / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since Ezekiell Elliott came back, the focus at running back has been on him. The former No. 4 overall pick isn't the player he once was but he does have the most experience. That doesn't mean he should be given the most touches.

While Elliott could be a weapon as a short-yardage and goal-line back, Rico Dowdle proved in 2023 that he can move the chains. With limited opportunities, he had 505 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns.

Dowdle might not be making a lot of noise this offseason but he deserves a chance at being the primary ball carrier in 2024.

Randy Gurzi


Arizona State grad