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105.3 The Fan

Cavanaugh's Five Bold Cowboys Predictions

Jeff Cavanaugh
July 31, 2018 - 7:25 am

Predictions are fun.  Bold predictions are more fun.  

I'm going to roll out my bold predictions for the Cowboys season and pair it with the completely scientific (aka my guess) as to the percentage that each prediction will come true.  

I will of course acknowledge going in to this that my co-worker and dear friend is the king of percentages and so will name my predictor percentages after him.  

1. Michael Gallup will be the best receiver on the Cowboys by the end of the season without question.  

He's already drawing rave reviews in the early stages of camp and I for one am not surprised.  I had him as my third ranked wide receiver in this year's NFL Draft with a scouting report that read like so (verbatim from my notes so it's not going to read like a wonderful handcrafted article):

Michael Gallup #4 - Colorado State 6005 200 4.52

Games:  Oregon State, Colorado, Bama

Lines up in a variety of spots. He’s a route runner. Easy hands catcher, knows where his feet are on the sideline. Runs screens, stops, slant, deep out. Curl and spring inside. Can catch the ball away from his body. Throws behind him he makes easy adjustments. Holds on through contact consistently. Wins on post routes. Adjusts to a poorly thrown deep post that’s over his outside shoulder and catches it with a defender on his back.

Uses his hands at the top of stop route vs Oliver (Colorado) to create separation. Easy hands catch, solid after catch guy. A lot of screens. QB has some struggles so he has to work. Able to get off the LOS. Feels the holes in a zone. Will drop the shoulder after catch. Has some toughness. Nice balance after the catch to stay up vs some low tackles.  

Vs Bama. Wins a back shoulder ball up the sideline by timing his stop and elevating. Can win with his hands at the LOS. Smooth hands catcher away from the body.  Plays the ball in the air well.  Able to play the big man game without being a big guy.  

Plays the small man game as a nice route runner.  Understands how to stem a DB to set up a route.  Love the toughness after catches to break arm tackles and stay up when guys try and tackle him low.  Definitive cuts and stops at the top of routes.  In routes does a nice job playing through contact with his hands.  Runs a really nice deep out.  Threatens the vertical and is smooth and decisive in changing directions to the out. Can catch the ball behind him smoothly.  

1st roundish player. He’s an NFL starter.  

Non-Ben Rogers Predictor Percentage (from here on known as NBRPP):  71.1%.  Yep, I believe in this 'hot take'.

 

2. Ezekiel Elliott will be the offensive weapon he should have already been.

Zeke is one of the best runners in the league, everyone already knows that.  The inexcusably untapped ability as a receiver in mind numbing.  This will be the year where the Cowboys will take full advantage of the weapon that they have and insert him in to the Le'Veon Bell/Todd Gurley/David Johnson category of guys who don't only hurt you as a runner but also as a pass catcher.  Elliott will have 60+ catches over the course of the season and 2,300+ total yards.

NBRPP:  55.8%.  If it doesn't happen, fire everyone.  

 

3. Randy Gregory will provide the pass rush threat that David Irving can't be trusted to bring due to various off field reasons.  6+ sacks this year.

I know it's a little strange to list David Irving as a guy you can't trust when Gregory hasn't been available to play football due to suspension for what feels like five years but I buy in to Randy having turned the corner.  The NFL's rules are stupid but nonetheless they must be abided by.  Randy Gregory provides something that no other pass rusher on the Cowboys has.  Elite athleticism.  Check out his 'web' from mockdraftable.com that measures guys athleticism compared to other guys that play his position in the NFL.  He was 230 pounds at the combine which measures in the 0th percentile among NFL DEs.  In other words at that weight he'd be the lightest one in the league.  He's 242 pounds as of today and that athleticism translates to a pass rush gold mine.

NBRPP: 39.4%.  The ability is there to do it but he's been away for basically two years.  It might take a little while to get the train rolling.

 

4. Xavier Woods will stop all the Earl Thomas chatter.

Hey I said they were bold predictions!

 He was a rookie last year and played in all 16 games as a sixth round pick.  Which just goes to show that my one man part time scouting department is better than all the NFL teams.  I had him as a 2nd-3rd rounder that I thought could start in the NFL.  He flashes ability last year as a cover guy in the slot due to injuries and some struggles from other players in the secondary and is a natural fit at free safety.  He has a great combination of ability as both a cover guy and a tackler.  He's not an elite athlete and doesn't have prototypical size which made it an easy call that NFL teams wouldn't covet him enough but he's going to be a steal.

NBRPP: 12.8%.  Earl Thomas is a Hall of Famer let's not get too crazy.  I'll put it at 70% that Woods is at least an average starter in his first crack at it.  

 

5. Dak Prescott will fail miserably and Mike White will be the QB of the future.

NBRPP:  0.7%.  Enough people text in that he's awful that I thought I'd throw that in there for you guys.