ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper recently gave Dallas Cowboys fans something to be excited about after yet another year or late-season disappointment.
The Cowboys might have missed out on what was a great chance to make the playoffs when they cratered down the stretch, but they also managed to get a bit younger this season and had some good success when you consider it was the true definition of a "rebuilding year."
Kiper recently came out with his list of the NFL's top 20 rookies from the 2011 season and two Cowboys made the top 15, while another was listed as an honorable mention.
Right tackle Tyron Smith, the youngest player in the NFL last season, checked in at No. 12 on the list, as Kiper said the only thing that dropped him a bit was the fact that he was drafted to be a left tackle (the premier position on the offensive line) and instead played on the right side. But he added that Smith has the ability to be an elite left tackle down the road.
Checking in at No. 15 was running back DeMarco Murray, who started just seven games for the Cowboys but rushed for 897 yards before his season came to an end prematurely after an ankle injury.
Dan Bailey, the Cowboys' rookie kicker who was solid all year long, was named on the honorable mention list.