The Cowboys really came on after the trade for Amari Cooper last season, and the hope is that they can build on this to make a deep playoff push this season.
The biggest move the team made to the coaching staff was firing offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and replaced him with Kellen Moore, the former Boise State and Cowboys QB. It is an interesting move to promote someone who has such little coaching experience to such a prominent role, but I think it could work.
The season will mostly depend on what kind of quarterback play the team gets out of Dak Prescott. Prescott is hard to pin down for me. He is good enough to be considered one of the top starters in the league, but is he good enough to be asking for $40 Million a year, as he reportedly did? I don't think so, but looking at the options the Cowboys have behind him, they might not have much of a choice but to pay him.
Running back shouldn’t be a position for the Cowboys to worry about, but with Ezekiel Elliott holding out for a new deal, they should be. After what we saw with Le’Veon Bell last season, it would not be surprising to see Zeke hold out all season if he doesn't get the contract he wants. Zeke is the best offensive skill player the Cowboys have, and missing him for any period of time would significantly reduce their chances of competing. Behind Zeke, the two rookies Tony Pollard and Mike Weber will shoulder the rest of the load. If Zeke is out, this duo will likely split time as the bell cow until one distinguishes himself.
Wide Receiver is still not a strength for this team, but the unit looks better than it did a year ago. Amari Cooper is a legit number one, the first the team has had since Dez Bryant, but behind him there isn't much to write home about. The team brought in Randall Cobb, who is a solid veteran but showed he is on the decline last season in Green Bay. Tayvon Austin is well beyond the point of hoping for a break out, and Michael Gallup is just an OK receiver. It is a good enough group specifically because of Cooper, but one injury to him and this unit is in trouble.
The tight end position was so bad for Dallas last season that they convinced Jason Witten to come out of retirement. Being honest, it's the best move the team could have made. He knows the offense, and assuming he is back in playing shape, he will give Dak the security blanket he lacked last season.
The offensive line will be good as always. This unit might be the best in the league, anchored by Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, and Travis Frederick.
The Defense was a surprisingly strong group for the Cowboys last year, and that should be the case again this year with most of the talent returning in addition to the team making some moves to bolster that side of the ball.
Along the line the team has one of the best pass rushers in the league in Demarcus Lawrence. They also brought in the aging, but still productive, Robert Quinn to put opposite Lawrence. Maliek Collins and Antwaun Woods will anchor the middle of the group.
The linebackers have the potential to be the best group in the league. Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch both broke out last season to form one of the league's best linebacking duos. Sean Lee, who has been one of the top linebackers in football over the past five years, will look to rejoin the group as a starter after coming back from injury and struggling to take back his starting spot last season. If the team can find a way to make all three fit on the field at the same time, it will cause hell for opposing offenses.
At corner, Byron Jones has quickly developed into one of the top options in the NFL after transitioning from safety. Behind him, Chidobe Awuzie and Anthony Brown will hold down the other starting spots.
At safety, the team brought in George Iloka, who will likely serve as a backup to Xavier Woods and Jeff Heath, giving the team tremendous depth on the back end of the defense.
Offseason Grade: B | Predicted NFC East Finish: 2
The Cowboys did a good job of acquiring talent to help this season without over-extending their cap going forward. Robert Quinn gives them a lethal pass rushing duo, and bringing in Cobb gives Prescott another known commodity at wide out.
The biggest thing for this team is getting extensions for Dak, Zeke, Cooper, and Jones. As of writing this, none of them have signed an extension, and if they start the season with none of them being extended, it could be a disaster for the Cowboys next year. But this year, they will be very good. They will be the only team that challenges Philly in this division.
Graduate of Loyola Maryland and die hard Boston sports fan. "I rub it in pretty good when I win" - Tom Brady