The Dallas Cowboys are fortunate to have the quality players they do. Players like Dak Prescott, Micah Parsons and Zack Martin are among the leagues best.
Dak Prescott & Micah Parsons…— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) December 8, 2021
1. Immediately stepped in as a starter
2. Won Offensive/Defensive Rookie of the Year
3. Resulted in no. 9 being released, eating dead $ pic.twitter.com/LhEKPU77v2
Unfortunately, the negatives will almost always outweigh the positives.
There are some areas on this team with either unknown depth due to lack of experience, or depth that lacks quality. While most of the team’s position groups are just fine, they have too many that are dependent on the starter(s).
The good news is there’s plenty of young players who can fill these voids. Bad news is until we see them on the field, they’re a point of concern.
CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup are a good pair of WRs, injury aside. Throw in rookie Jalen Tolbert, who’s already creating a connecting with Dak and the team has a solid starting trio.
Behind them, it’s a who’s-who of players including Noah Brown and James Washington. A player who’s primarily been a special teams player in his career, and a WR who couldn’t elevate his game in Pittsburgh. An organization that’s proved to be great at developing the position.
As well as Simi Fehoko, Brandon Smith, TJ Vasher, Daontario Drummond and Dennis Houston. None of whom have a single career catch in an NFL game.
Micah Parsons would be enough to impress this group. Throw in Jayron Kearse, who plays between positions and has excelled in this system and it’s one of the team’s strengths.
Unfortunately, we don’t know what to get from veteran Leighton Vander Esch, and a player with upside in Jabril Cox. Cox, who displayed great traits that translate to the field, but had his rookie season cut short. Throw in Luke Gifford, who’s really more of a special team’s player, hasn’t yet had a chance to show if he’s anything more.
After them, it’s a number of rookies. Many of whom have a shot to make the squad, which signifies the true nature of the depth at LB. Damone Clark, Devin Harper, Storey Jackson, Aaron Hansford and Markquese Bell, who plays in a similar fashion to Kearse.
There’s plenty of upside to this group but until they play in preseason, it’s all question marks. A growing concern.
Dalton Schultz is one of the best tight ends in the game. He also might be playing his last season with the Dallas Cowboys. The last two seasons have put him among the NFL’s best TE’s as a receiver, but it’s unlikely a long-term deal can get done before the July 15th franchise tag deadline. Meaning he will play 2022 on the tag, fully guaranteed for $10.9 million.
While there’s upside behind him, it’s a bunch of names at the moment. Sean McKeon and Jeremy Sprinkle are the true returning TE’s, with McKeon likely having a better chance at making the roster than Sprinkle, who’s played more as a blocker and special team’s player.
Neither fourth round rookie or second-year player Ian Bunting have caught an NFL pass yet. In fact, Bunting has only been on the field for 15 combined plays (offensive and special teams). While Ferguson has the potential to be the Cowboys TE1 by next season, and the coaching staff likes what Bunting can bring, neither yet create the quality depth behind Schultz to keep minds at ease.
Tyler Biadasz is the expected starter for the Dallas Cowboys. Coming off a second season that had it’s ups and downs where he caused nine penalties, but also was one of the offensive line’s better run blockers. Solid, but not enough to avoid a competition.
Matt Farniok is progressing in the way that’s created this competition. Enough to have Stephen Jones gushing. But is it enough to take over for Biadasz?
Rookie undrafted free agents Alec Lindstrom and James Empey are both upside players who could develop into quality players in time, but probably not year-one starters or direct back ups.
Even with Connor McGovern finally getting snaps at center, he is being used almost exclusively as a guard. He played all three interior spots at Penn State, and has had mixed performances in his career in starts. If he becomes the true backup, it’s still unsettling for where the position stands.
In the same breath as center, the Dallas Cowboys have questions outside as well.
When healthy Tyron Smith is one of the best tackles in the game. However, he’s often not healthy and already past year 10. Terence Steele is the starter at right tackle in place of La’el Collins and has big shoes to fill. If he progresses in year three like he did in year two, it won’t be an issue.
Behind them, it’s all rookies.
Tyler Smith is the expected starter at right guard, but is getting snaps with the first team at tackle. Playing a true left side offensive player. He’s the future, but what about now?
Matt Waletzko and Josh Ball are the next players in line to play swing tackle. Both are (essentially) rookies who’ve never taken an NFL snap. This doesn’t deter the front office enough to sign a veteran but create an eyebrow-raising hole behind the starters.
Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports