ESPN Future Power Rankings Say The Dallas Cowboys Stink

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

It's getting closer to the season, so the "Dallas Cowboys are in bad way" articles are coming out again.

It's time to dump on the Dallas Cowboys. Yesterday, Tom Ryle introduced you to a Fox Sports panel including Donovan McNabb and Randy Moss that basically trashed the 'Boys, mainly because of the coaching staff. Today, we have ESPN with a Future Power Rankings article that has the Cowboys rated very low.

What is a Future Power Ranking? It's a look at each organization over the next three years and evaluating them on five different categories. Roster (minus QB), quarterback, draft, front office, and coaching. The Cowboys only fare well in one category and that's QB. Otherwise, it's all downhill for the team over the next three years. In fact, the Cowboys are rated 28th, only beating out Cleveland, Buffalo, Miami and Oakland.

Some sample reasoning:

The Cowboys were 13th at QB.Tony Romo ranked tied for eighth in our recent "QB Tiers" project, but that was for the present. The future rankings project forward through 2016, when Romo will be 37 years old. How will his surgically repaired back hold up?

Subtracting DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee from an already shaky defense appears devastating. That helps explain why the Dallas roster (beyond QB) ranked 29th. There aren't enough front-line players on defense. Salary-cap challenges persist. Only the Raiders and Dolphins ranked lower than the Cowboys in the front-office category, which is a strong statement of disapproval for how Jerry Jones runs the franchise.

So, am I crazy? I just don't see things as that negative. Tom Brady is 36 and no one is complaining about his age. Drew Brees is 35. Peyton Manning in 38 and coming off what many thought might be a career-ending neck injury and he seems to be just fine. QBs in general can last into their late 30s without issue. Many have done it.

I will grant that the defense is an issue. But this is an offense that is stocked with talent and is building an elite offensive line. If you can win in the trenches, you can win in the NFL. In the very article ESPN admits: If Zack Martin performs well at guard after transitioning from playing mostly tackle at Notre Dame, the offensive line could be the best in the NFL -- no exaggeration. So a team that is very close to having the best offensive line in the NFL is somehow ranked 28th and is said to have one of the worst rosters in the league? I just can't see that logic. One half of this team, the offense, could be as explosive as any offense not named the Broncos.

Anybody watching the Cowboys drafts have to see they are getting better than the drought of the Wade Philips era. And coaching? I'll give you the fact that that is still up in the air, but it's not like Jason Garrett has been going 4-12.

This team, and this organization, may not be contenders yet, we'll have to wait and see what happens in 2014, but I don't see a trajectory leading to a ranking of 28th over the next three years.

Thoughts from BTB on this subject are welcome!

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