NFC Rumors: Cowboys, Tepper, Greenlaw

The Cowboys hit on quite a few of their picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, with first-rounder Tyler Smith reaching second-team All-Pro status last year, fourth-rounder Jake Ferguson earning the starting tight job halfway through his rookie season, and fifth-rounder DaRon Bland leading the NFL in interceptions, interception return yards, and pick sixes last season. Their second- and third-round picks from that draft, though, are still struggling to make a similar impact two years in. That may be changing soon.

Former second-round edge rusher Sam Williams found his name getting called fourth on the depth chart last year, behind Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Dorance Armstrong. It’s hard to imagine being disappointed with a fourth-place finish in that situation, considering Parsons has become a perennial DPOY candidate, Lawrence is a four-time Pro Bowler, and Armstrong is a veteran with 21.0 sacks in the last three years. Still, per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, Williams wants to play more, and director of player personnel Stephen Jones claims that, thanks to Armstrong’s departure in free agency to Washington, those opportunities will come this year, though he will be competing now with this year’s second-round pick Marshawn Kneeland.

Likewise, third-round wide receiver Jalen Tolbert has seen limited production behind CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks, Noah Brown, and Michael Gallup. With Brown gone last year, Tolbert stepped his role up a little bit. After the team released Gallup, Tolbert is, once again, expected to step his game up in 2024. With Lamb and Cooks returning, Tolbert will now be given a larger opportunity to step in as WR3, per David Moore of the Dallas Morning News.

Here are a few other rumors from around the NFC:

  • Many have looked at the Panthers‘ decision to draft Bryce Young over C.J. Stroud in the 2023 NFL Draft as a gigantic misstep, given the vast difference in success each team saw last year. According to Joseph Person of The Athletic, some in the Panthers organization point to the S2 cognitive test as the main reasoning for the decision. Per Person, team owner David Tepper, a hedge-fund billionaire and a proponent of analytics, took the S2 test results very heavily into consideration when helping the team to make their decision. The test of processing speed and reaction time has been looked at as a potential indicator of future success at the quarterback position. Young scored extremely well (in the 98th percentile), while Stroud did not (18th percentile).
  • 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw notoriously missed a good mount of the team’s Super Bowl loss after tearing his Achilles tendon in the big game. According to a report from Matt Barrows of The Athletic, Greenlaw told the media that he had been experiencing some soreness in his Achilles for about a month or so before the game. He recently was able to shed his walking boot as he continues in recovery.
  • It’s been over a year since Steve Keim stepped down as general manager of the Cardinals following an indefinite leave of absence due to “an undisclosed health-related matter.” According to a recent interview Keim did with Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, the Cardinals administration advised Keim to check into a rehab while he was still general manager of the team. Of course, the situation eventually resulted in the two sides parting ways, but Keim continues to work on himself following the conclusion of his NFL career.
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