If the Dallas Cowboys plan on getting over the hump and becoming consistent postseason performers, it will have to be fueled by the growth and development of younger players. Dez Bryant is a perfect example of how a breakout season can catapult a player into a different category and provide optimism for a better future.
The Cowboys need to find building blocks, solid contributors, playmakers and, ultimately, leaders. Players such as Jason Witten, Tony Romo and DeMarcus Ware aren't going to be around forever, but it's youngsters like Bryant, Sean Lee and Bruce Carter that need to be ready to take the reins.
The 2013 season provides another opportunity for some of the younger players on this roster to prove a lot of things. Besides proving their level of skill and talent, they get the chance to prove to management that what this franchise is doing is working.
The faster the Cowboys find out about what they have and who has arrived, the easier it'll be to make better decisions for the franchise. If a younger, cheaper player steps up and the Cowboys can financially control him for three to four years, then it opens up more opportunities for the bigger picture of the team.
It sounds easier than it looks, but developing homegrown talent with a grassroots approach is ultimately the most efficient way to build sustained success. It still won't guarantee a Super Bowl every year, but at least it's a clear and defined philosophy that seems to be working in most of the 31 other cities of the NFL.
Let's take a look at five players who could be instrumental to the success of the this franchise.