From the Bench to the Starting Line-up?

By Marian Hinton

Cowboys’ rookie offensive lineman, Bill Nagy, is used to being a back-up on the football field.

Nagy, whom the Cowboys picked late in the 7th round of this years’ draft, started only 11 games during his 4 years at the University of Wisconsin. His senior season, he was the #6 offensive lineman on a very talented unit, and came off the bench.

After impressing his coaches and teammates throughout the Cowboys’ preseason practices and games, however, Nagy may be moving from a reserve in college to a starter in the NFL in just his first season.

Nagy played center his first few weeks in Dallas, but was later moved to guard. He practiced with the starting offense the week after the Cowboys’ preseason game with the Broncos, and was named a starter in the Cowboys’ preseason game vs. the Chargers.

After the Chargers’ game, Garrett stated that Nagy will remain with the first team “for now.”

Though Nagy was pleased with his performance vs. San Diego, he understands there is a lot of work left to do.

“I was happy with the way I competed,” Nagy said. “I definitely have to get better. There’s no question about that. Overall, it was OK.”

Jason Garrett, who was also pleased with his game vs. the Chargers, has a lot of praise for Nagy.

“He’s done a very nice job,” Garrett said. “It’s been very impressive to me, to play the position he plays…and to be able to make the transition that he’s made. It’s a tribute to him, his smarts as a football player, his instincts as a player, how well he’s been coached at Wisconsin.”

Garrett added, “He’s not playing like a rookie. He’s handling some different looks in practice, some different looks in the game.”

While Nagy has been better than advertised and is surprising his teammates and coaches, Garrett commented “He has so many areas to get better – don’t get me wrong – but he’s really taken advantage of this opportunity and done a nice job.”

Could this 7th round rookie find his way from a collegiate back-up to an NFL starter in just his first season? Perhaps, but Nagy isn’t worried about it.

“I’m just showing up and competing. Whatever happens, happens.”

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