Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
The Cowboys skill position players are definitely among the best in the league.
The Dallas Cowboys have one of the best wide receiver groups in the NFL. Landing CeeDee Lamb in the 2020 NFL Draft felt like the group picking up their final infinity stone for Dak Prescott to wield. Unfortunately we didn’t get an opportunity to see much of it last season with Prescott being lost for the year in Week 5.
Much has been made in the national media about the Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers returning all 22 starters that helped win them their world championship. While you have to add in a few exceptions for them to qualify, the Cowboys are returning all 11 intended offensive starters from last season which means they should be pretty good.
ESPN ranked the Dallas Cowboys offensive weapons as the second-best in the NFL
Last week ESPN released a collection of rankings for every position that were compiled by polling people within the league (front office executives, coaches, players, etc.). In the exercise at wide receiver 19 names were listed without one of them being Amari Cooper.
While that was an assessment from a random collection of votes, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell analyzed every team’s group of offensive weapons and thinks rather highly of America’s Team. He had the Dallas Cowboys only behind the aforementioned Buccaneers.
2. Dallas Cowboys
2020 rank: 3 | 2019 rank: 6
Just about everything else besides the weaponry went wrong for the Cowboys last season. Their defense couldn’t stop anybody. Quarterback Dak Prescott and their best offensive linemen were injured. Everybody’s numbers were down after Prescott was replaced by Andy Dalton and the team used backup tackles for virtually the entire season, but rookie wideout CeeDee Lamb looked like a star. We know what Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup can do with a healthy Prescott, and while tight end Blake Jarwin missed most of the year with a torn ACL, Dalton Schultz stepped in and racked up 615 yards with four touchdowns. That’s more receiving yards than Dallas Goedert has produced in any of his three NFL seasons.
The one weapon whose stock is down after 2020 might be Ezekiel Elliott. For all the talk about how Elliott was the guy who made Prescott and the rest of the offense tick, the running back looked entirely ordinary without his star quarterback. Elliott posted career lows in most categories and finished with a below-average DVOA, in part because he fumbled six times on 296 touches. His numbers should bounce back some with Prescott & Co. returning to the fold, but the arguments that he was a scheme- or line-transcendent back are firmly in the past. This is a passing team now.
There is definitely a lot to like in a group that consists of Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb, Blake Jarwin, Dalton Schultz, Ezekiel Elliott, and Tony Pollard. Throw in Cedrick Wilson for good measure and maybe even Simi Fehoko and you won’t see stars in your eyes, you’ll see them all throughout the endzone.
On paper it is an incredible offense and one that was putting up some gaudy numbers with Prescott under center last season (although it didn’t necessarily translate into wins). The hope is obviously that the group can be even better returning in 2021 and it feels fair to rank them higher given Schultz’s emergence in Jarwin’s absence.
Tampa Bay has a lot of toys for Tom Brady to work with so it is also understandable for Dallas to rank behind them. Interestingly, the Cowboys visit the Buccaneers so we will get to see these two groups battle each other’s defenses in the first game of the NFL season.