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Cowboys' Brandin Cooks predicts breakout year for Jalen Tolbert as WR3: 'The time is now for him'

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Jalen Tolbert is heading into Year 3 in the NFL, and with more snaps to go around, he's on a mission to prove he can be a consistent asset for his team.

"That's my goal, to go out and prove to myself; I am who I say I am," Tolbert said Thursday, via ESPN. "Obviously, you hear that all the time. But just go out there and chase greatness. I have two guys who ride along with me in CeeDee (Lamb) and (Brandin) Cooks, and I'm looking forward to following in their footsteps and doing what I can to create value on this team."

Lamb and Cooks are the established one-two punch of the Dallas offense, but with the release of Michael Gallup, who was third among Cowboys WRs in receiving yards in 2023, and a lack of action in the draft or free agency to add anyone, there's a void at the No. 3 spot that Tolbert is poised to fill in 2024.

The South Alabama product was drafted in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Though he had only two catches in his rookie year, his usage increased the next season, seeing time in all 17 games and collecting 22 receptions for 268 yards and a pair of touchdowns as a backup.

But as Tolbert said, he wants to continue to grow and be an impact player for the Cowboys offense, and he's been putting in the work this offseason to ensure he's up for the challenge of an increased role.

Those efforts include working with Cooks, who has 10 years of wisdom to share with his teammate.

"He's done it for a long time, so having him in my corner is special," Tolbert said. "I know one thing for sure, he's not going to let me fail and I'm not going to let myself fail. That's a good situation to be in."

For his part, Cooks said he has no doubt in Tolbert's ability to break out with the opportunity of a larger role, as the work he's seen Tolbert put in proves that "the time is now for him."

Cooks has already seen a clear increase in Tolbert's confidence in himself and in his abilities during the start of offseason training activities last week, and he expects that to translate once the Cowboys start playing games in the fall.

"The way that he's able to talk about a route or the way he's able to tell the quarterback the way he sees things, he's not shy anymore," Cooks said. "He's able to go up to Dak (Prescott) and say, 'Hey, I seen it this way,' and it's awesome to see him grow in that aspect.

"He's ready to go. Whatever the expectation is for him out there, I'm telling you he's going to crush it. He's ready."

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