Dallas Cowboys: Reviewing Key Rookie Performances in the 2011 NFL Preseason

Adam SpencerCorrespondent IAugust 17, 2011

Dallas Cowboys: Reviewing Key Rookie Performances in the 2011 NFL Preseason

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    The Dallas Cowboys are going to need some rookies to step up in 2011 if they want to improve on their 6-10 finish in 2010.

    They've added OL Tyron Smith, LB Bruce Carter, RB DeMarco Murray and WR Dwayne Harris this offseason through the draft.

    The offensive line has been completely revamped, with Smith, Bill Nagy and David Arkin all receiving some reps with the first-team offense.

    Let's take a look now at some of the key rookies on the Cowboys and how they've been performing so far this preseason.

Bill Nagy, C

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    Andre Gurode is the starting center in Dallas when he's healthy.

    But, Nagy was taking advantage of the playing time during Gurode's absence.

    He might make the team as a guy who can play both center and guard, a valuable asset to any offensive line.

    And, while he won't start, he could make an impact as a rookie.

    He needs to continue having a good preseason to make that happen though.

David Arkin, G

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    Arkin, the Cowboys' fourth-round pick, started at left guard against the Denver Broncos.

    If he wins the starting left guard spot, he'll likely line up alongside Tyron Smith.

    That would mean two rookies protecting Tony Romo's blind side.

    That's a scary thought and Arkin is going to have to have a monster preseason to put all those fears to rest.

Dwayne Harris, WR

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    Dwayne Harris has been the most impressive rookie for the Dallas Cowboys so far this preseason.

    He had a monster game against the Denver Broncos last week, catching two touchdown passes, including a 76-yarder from Stephen McGee.

    He finished the game with five catches for 127 yards.

    He's played so well he could end up being the Cowboys' No. 3 receiver by the start of the regular season.

DeMarco Murray, RB

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    Murray has been disappointing so far this season.

    He's been injured and hasn't been able to practice or play very much.

    He's sliding down the depth chart and is probably the fourth running back in Dallas, behind Felix Jones, Tashard Choice and Lonyae Miller.

    If he can't get healthy and get on the field, he won't make much of an impact in Dallas in 2011.

Bruce Carter, ILB

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    Carter is in the same boat as Murray.

    He hasn't been able to get on the field to practice or play because of ACL surgery.

    He didn't play for North Carolina last year either due to a suspension.

    How will the long layoff from playing affect him?

    We won't know until he actually is able to practice or play.

Tyron Smith, OT

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    Smith is going to be the starting left tackle for the Dallas Cowboys in 2011.

    He'll be in charge of protecting Romo's blind side, no easy task for a rookie.

    He'll have to do better than the offensive line did in 2010, when Romo broke his collarbone and had to miss the rest of the season.

    But, he's at least been healthy this preseason and has been able to play.

    He'll need every snap he can get in order to get ready for the regular season.