2007 or 2013 -- which Dallas Cowboys roster would you rather have?

I would rate this version of the Dallas Cowboys to be the best team since 2007, when we went 13-3 and were the best team in the NFC. Of course that team lost to the Giants at home after earning a bye, and so never went to the Super Bowl, as it should have. How does that team compare to this year's version? Which roster would you rather have?

The table below attempts a side-by-side comparison. (The positions got cut off for 2007, but you can follow. With the exception of Hoyte at FB, the offensive position in the middle column goes both ways. On defense, I tried to match up as close as possible even though 2007 is a 3-4 and 2013 is a 4-3. The first number after names is age, followed by production in 2007 or 2012 (for the 2013 starters)).

I tried bolding the guys I would rather have in 2013 (not looking at future performance), but the auto hyperlinking that comes in with names make it hard to follow.

This is who I prefer from 2007.

  • 6 offense: Witten, all 5 O-linemen;
  • 5 defense: Spears, Ratliff, Newman, Hamlin, Roy Williams.
  • 1 key backup: MBIII.
  • 2 special teams: Austin (as KR), McBriar.

This is who I prefer from 2013.

  • 5 offense: Romo, Murray, Bryant, Austin, Rosario.
  • 6 defense: Hatcher, Spencer, Lee, Carter, Ware, Claiborne.
  • 2 key backups: Hanna/Escobar, Terrence Williams.
  • 2 special teams. Harris, and Bailey.

Overall it's 14 from 2007, 15 from 2013. I took this year's Ware because I think he's going to have a monster season at DE.

2007 Offensive starters 2013 Offense
Tony Romo 27 4211yds QB Tony Romo 33 4729yds
Julius Jones 26 164/588 RB DeMarco Murray 25 161/663
Oliver Hoyte 23
H Back Dante Rosario 28
Terretll Owens 34 81/1355 WR Dez Bryant 24 92/1382
Patrick Crayton 28 50/697 WR Miles Austin 29 66/943
Jason Witten 25 96/1145 TE Jason Witten 31 110/1039
Flozell Adams 32 LT Tyron Smith 22
Kyle Kosier 29 LG Ron Leary 24
Andre Gurode 29 C Travis Frederick 22
Leonard Davis 29 RG M. Bernardeau 27
Marc Colombo 29 RT Doug Free 29
2007 Defensive starters
Marcus Spears 24 2 sacks OLB Justin Durant 27 0.5 sacks
Jay Ratliff 26 3 sacks DT Jay Ratliff 31 6 games
Chris Canty 25 3.5 sacks DT Jason Hatcher 31 4 sacks
Greg Ellis 32 12.5 sacks LDE Anthony Spencer 29 11 sacks
Bradie James 26 3 sacks MLB Sean Lee 27 6 games
Akin Ayodele 28 OLB Bruce Carter 25 11 games
DeMarcus Ware 25 14 sacks RDE DeMarcus Ware 31 11.5 sacks
Jacques Reeves 25 1 pick CB Mo Claiborne 23 1 pick
Terrence Newman 29 4 picks CB Brandon Carr 27 3 picks
Ken Hamlin 26 5 picks S Will Allen 31 0 picks
Roy Williams 27 2 picks S Barry Church 25 3 games
Key backups
Marion Barber III 24 204/975 RB Lance Dunbar/Joseph Randle
Anthony Fasano 23 14/143 TE James Hanna/Gavin Escobar
Sam Hurd 22 19/314 WR Terrence Williams 23
Special teams
Miles Austin 23 24/612 KR Lance Dunbar 23 12/261
Patrick Crayton 28 22/201 PR Dwayne Harris 25 22/354
Nick Folk 23 26/31 K Dan Bailey 25 29/31
Mat McBriar 28 47.1 ypa P Chris Jones 24 45.2 ypa


1. On offense, 2013 is much better at the skill positions, but much weaker on the offensive line. I'd take the younger Jason Witten, and there's no one on this roster who compares to MBIII, but otherwise, the current skill players are much stronger, especially at wide receiver. The real question is whether the offensive line can hold up well enough so that our better skill guys can put the ball in the end zone. Because the 2007 team scored 455 points to 376 last year. Does the 2007 team prove the real value of a high-quality offensive line? Can the 2013 O-line, Callahan's play calling and more turnovers get us to 455 points?

2. On defense, I like the 2013 front seven and cornerbacks (though I like Newman best), but I'd take the 2007 safeties. The interesting question here will be whether the D can stay as healthy as it did in 2007, and whether the combo of Allen and Church at safety can stop the deep passes. But even though I like more of the 2013 defenders, can they do better than 2007's 325 points against?

3. Age. When you look at the ages of players, in 2013 we have a much older QB and primary tight end, but our wide receivers and offensive line are much younger. Running back is about equal. On defense, our D-line is much older in 2013. It looks a lot like the O-line did in 2007, with guys near the end of their careers. But we have much better young linebackers and are slightly younger in the secondary.

4. Overall. I think Dallas has assembled plenty of talent for 2013, and if I had to choose rosters, I would take 2013. I don't think the offense without the 2007 power line will do as well as we did in 2007 (2nd points, 3rd in yards), but I think the defense under Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli can do better than a 13th place NFL points ranking. And I hope we can do better in the playoffs than we did in 2007.


Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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