Dallas Cowboys: Up-and-Coming Impact Players to Watch This Season

Alex HallCorrespondent IIISeptember 13, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 11:  Kevin Ogletree #85 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on August 11, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys began the 2012 season on a high note due in part to wide receiver Kevin Ogletree stepping up against the Giants and the team should expect the same from two other names as well.

While Dallas has some established talent on both sides of the football, it is always looking for the next Sean Lee or DeMarco Murray to join those names. Here's a look at which players will step up for the Cowboys in 2012.


WR Kevin Ogletree

Since his name has already come up, let's start off with the wideout who did his best Laurent Robinson impression for quarterback Tony Romo in Week 1.

Ogletree had eight receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns for Dallas against their NFC East rivals last week.

Those numbers mark a career high in each category. In fact, his eight receptions against the Giants is more than he had in his entire 2009 and 2010 seasons and just over half of his total for 2011.

Some have argued that the fourth-year player emerged as Romo's favorite target against New York due to tight end Jason Witten's still lingering spleen injury, but that doesn't mean he didn't prove anything on Sept. 5.

Just because Witten is bound to become more involved in the offense soon does not mean that Ogletree didn't earn a bit of Romo's trust and show that he is ready to be a contributing part of the offense.

Don't be surprised if he racks up a few more receptions and touchdowns through out the rest of this season.


OL Ryan Cook

Versatile lineman Ryan Cook was acquired from the Miami Dolphins just before the regular season and that investment has already paid off for his new team.

Original starting center Phil Costa had to leave the Giants game due to injury last week and Cook immediately stepped into a position he rarely plays, performing more than well in the process.  

He has already been named the starting center for Week 2 against the Seahawks, which will mark just his second game doing so at the position during his six years in the NFL.

Costa is the least effective starter on the entire Cowboys roster and the fact that Cook was able to step in and do a just as good, if not better job at center despite being with the team for a matter of weeks says everything.

The former Dolphin may not be accustomed to the position he'll start at against Seattle, but it can easily become his job if he continues to pick up the Cowboys' system and keep Romo upright. Expect him to do just that over the course of this season.


SS Barry Church

Dallas made a rather shocking decision towards the end of the preseason when it cut veteran Brodney Pool in favor of the less experienced Barry Church at strong safety.  

Church is a name that Cowboys fans got to know last season when he played a fair amount over the year, but the impressions he made during this past training camp is what earned him the starting position.

While Pool is not on the same level as an Ed Reed or Troy Polamalu at his position, he is still a fairly respected safety who saw his time in Dallas cut short because of Church.

No. 42 didn't do a whole lot against the Giants with just two tackles on the night but he didn't do a whole lot wrong either. Considering the Cowboys' recent string of secondary players getting burned deep such as Terence Newman and Roy Williams, not doing a whole lot wrong is a step in the right direction.

Church told ESPN Dallas' Todd Archer after the Cowboys' preseason game against Oakland that "We're definitely looking to be more of a ball-hawking unit as a safety crew."

If he contributes to that approach, the team has a solid chance at being better off in the secondary this season.