Cowboys' Breakout Players to Watch in 2021 Training Camp
The Dallas Cowboys' 2020 season didn't go anything like they expected it would. They lost star quarterback Dak Prescott to a season-ending ankle injury in Week 5, and they went on to finish third in the NFC East at 6-10.
But things could be much better for Dallas in 2021. Not only is Prescott going to be back, but the Cowboys also had a strong showing in the 2021 NFL draft, made some key signings during free agency and return some talented young players who could be poised for big showings during the upcoming season.
Because of those factors, Dallas could have a turnaround year and potentially contend for the NFC East title in a division that could be there for the taking.
However, the key to whether the Cowboys are successful could be the development of some players who were already on their roster entering the offseason. Some had solid showings in 2020, while others need more time and experience. But this year could be big for quite a few of them.
With the start of training camp set for next month, here's a look at three Cowboys players to keep an eye on as potential breakout candidates this upcoming season.
CeeDee Lamb, WR
CeeDee Lamb has already emerged as a strong playmaker in the Cowboys' offense. He had 74 receptions for 935 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie in 2020, showing exactly why Dallas used a first-round draft pick on him.
But consider this: Lamb played only five games in which Prescott started at quarterback. During that stretch, he had his only two 100-yard performances of the season and his only game with multiple receiving touchdowns. He also had 433 of his receiving yards over the first five weeks.
While the 22-year-old was a solid receiver last year, he has the potential to break out and become one of the top playmakers in the NFL during his sophomore campaign. Dallas has improved its offense, and with the return of Prescott, this unit could be difficult to stop.
Lamb has a ton of potential, and he's still only shown flashes of what he can do. Don't be surprised if he easily surpasses 1,000 yards for the first time in his career in 2021, while potentially putting himself in the top tier of the league's receivers as he further develops a connection with Prescott.
Tyler Biadasz, C
The Cowboys need a new starting center after Travis Frederick retired earlier this offseason, and Tyler Biadasz appears to fit the bill. He was a fourth-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft, then he played in 12 games and made four starts as a rookie last year.
Over the final eight games of the 2020 season, the 23-year-old played only one offensive snap while also missing time due to a hamstring injury. But Dallas is likely going to need him to play a bigger role now due to the vacancy in the middle of its offensive line.
Biadasz has been getting most of the first-team reps at center during OTAs, and tackle La'el Collins compared him to Frederick due to his budding leadership skills.
"He's figured out just everything he needs to know being the center of the offensive line, making the calls," Collins said, per The Athletic's Jon Machota. "He's speaking with more confidence. He's asking the questions that you want a center to ask against different things, adjustments and everything like that, what to do."
If Biadasz keeps getting better and takes advantage of the opportunities he's likely to get, he could quickly develop into a key anchor for the Cowboys' offensive line with a strong 2021 season.
Trevon Diggs, CB
Trevon Diggs was an immediate starter for the Cowboys as a rookie in 2020, after they selected him in the second round of the NFL draft. He then went on to lead the team with three interceptions while playing 12 games and making 11 starts during a solid debut campaign.
However, the 23-year-old could be set up to break out and emerge as one of the league's top cornerbacks this upcoming season. He is likely to be Dallas' No. 1 corner, and he's not complacent, despite producing some positive results during his rookie year.
"I feel like I always need to get better every day at something. So, I always set my ceiling high," Diggs said, per ESPN's Todd Archer. "It's not one thing that I can quite pinpoint, but it's something that I need to work on every day. It's how I go about my work every day when I come into practice, come into the building."
It's that attitude that should help the Alabama product make even bigger strides in the upcoming season.
And considering the Cowboys ranked 23rd in the NFL with 386.4 total yards allowed per game in 2020, they could benefit from some of their young defensive standouts continuing to develop and turning into top-tier players in the league, which Diggs has the potential to be.