The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

And the most underrated player on the Dallas Cowboys is. . .

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By Jonathan Bales

Last week, I posted an article detailing why safety Gerald Sensabaugh is the most overrated player on the team.  It isn’t that Sensabaugh wasn’t solid last season, but rather that the gap between his perceived play and actual play was the largest of any player.

As I discussed in my 2009 safety grades, Sensabaugh struggled a bit in both pass and run defense. He allowed a 67.4 percent completion rate–too high even for a strong safety. He also yielded five touchdowns (not including the playoffs), despite securing just one interception. Free safety Ken Hamlin wasn’t much of a ball-hawk either, but he only allowed two scores. Unlike Hamlin, Sensabaugh gave up quick scores a little too easily in 2009.

At best, Sensabaugh was mediocre in coverage. As the chart below displays, Sensabaugh had the worst Dallas Cowboys Times Pass Defense Rating.

In the run game, Sensabaugh wasn’t tremendous either. He missed 15.6 percent of tackles he attempted. That is nearly twice the rate at which Ken Hamlin missed tackles (despite Hamlin playing a much more difficult position from which to secure tackles).

This season, I’d love to see Sensabaugh acquire a few more interceptions while decreasing his missed tackle percentage into single digits.

Like selecting an overrated player, choosing one who is underrated means disagreeing with public opinion.  My selection for the Cowboys’ most underrated player is an unheralded veteran at a “boring” position.  He has been solid for years but rarely receives the credit he deserves.  It is. . .

Left Guard Kyle Kosier.

Not what you were expecting?  Here is why Kosier’s play has been far superior than that for which he receives credit:

The Numbers

Kosier has never been particularly mauling in the run game.  His statistics from last season prove that, as the yards-per-carry, big runs percentage, and negative run percentage on plays during which he blocked at the point of attack are all about average.  Overall, we provided Kosier with a “B-” grade in run blocking.

In terms of pass protection, however, Kosier has been outstanding.  He yielded just one sack all of last season (0.14 percent of all pass plays)–the best on the team.  Of course Kosier doesn’t face the speed rushers that an offensive tackle must face, but one sack allowed–no matter the position–is impressive.  We gave him a “B+” in pass protection.

An Argument Against Kosier

Those who are still not pro-Kosier will point to the fact that only 11.45 percent of runs behind him went for 10+ yards (lowest on the team) and he also committed nine penalties last season.  As a guard, Kosier’s penalty count must certainly decrease.  He is in the middle of the action (meaning sometimes he receives blocking aid from center Andre Gurode) and shouldn’t be out of position enough to commit nine penalties.

However, as a guard, the upside on runs behind Kosier is limited.  The yards-per-carry and big play percentage when he is at the point of attack will never be outstanding due to the nature of his position.

His Future

Kosier signed a five-year, $15 million contract in 2006, meaning he will be a free agent after this season.  As good as he has been in Dallas, his future is very uncertain.  He will be 32 years old by season’s end, meaning the Cowboys will be searching for his replacement in the near future.

One thing Kosier has going for him is that the ‘Boys failed to address the guard position during this year’s draft.  Current backup guards Montrae Holland, Travis Bright, and (perhaps) Pat McQuistan have yet to show starter ability.  If Kosier plays well again this season, the Cowboys may look to sign him to a short-term deal to buy time while they groom his replacement, whoever it may be.

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8 Responses to And the most underrated player on the Dallas Cowboys is. . .

  1. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    I think I’d have to agree w/ you on this one – unlike my thoughts on the most overrated where I picked Marcus Spears.

    Although Kosier by no means stands out, he is decent. I think that because he’s surrounded by others who are much more well known (three pro bowlers in Adams, Gurode and Davis), he is underrated.

    But, this leaves me to wonder how he would fair if HE were the star. If he wasn’t surrounded by other above average linemen, would his #s appear this good…

  2. I think they would. . .remember he only gets help from Gurode, who many people (me not included) believe is very overrated.

    You’re right about him not being dominant, but he is SO undervalued that even slightly above average play makes him very underrated.

  3. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Agreed.

  4. Blue Eyed Devil says:

    Kosier is the best interior lineman we have.

    Gurode and Davis are increadibly overrated (Davis is by far the most overrated player on this team) and give up an amazing number of sacks between their gaps. Furthermore, Davis gets put on his stomach in short-yardage run situations, where he should supposedly excel.

    Davis is set to make $9.2 million next year and Gurode over $7 million. We need to find new interior O-lineman fast, we can’t afford to keep these overpaid underperformers on our team. That means we have no choice but to keep Kosier around for a year or two longer. Too many O-line position to turn, too little time…

  5. Davis and Gurode allowed four and three sacks last year, respectively. Not outstanding, but by no means “an amazing number.”

    I wouldn’t say Kosier is the best interior lineman, but rather the most under-appreciated. Perhaps Davis and Gurode’s play seems worse because of their Pro Bowls and contracts (in much the same way, but vice versa, that Free’s play last season seemed exceptional because of low expectations).

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  8. Pingback: Assessing the Play of Kyle Kosier in 2010: Should He Be Re-Signed? | Dallas Cowboys Times

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