As Jerry Jones prepares for his Hall of Fame enshrinement this weekend, lets take a look at which current Cowboys could join him in Canton at the end of their career.
Hall of Fame
Jason Witten, Tight End
Jason Witten is as much of a first ballot Hall of Fame lock as Peyton Manning. At the end of this season, Witten will own nearly every meaningful Dallas Cowboys receiving record (yards, completions, touchdowns) and he is already regarded as the best (or second best) tight end of his generation. His consistency, leadership and pure talent has helped many of his quarterbacks become stars in the National Football League. Jason Witten is the next Hall of Famer for the Dallas Cowboys, unless former Cowboys, DeMarcus Ware, gets the call first!
Tyron Smith, Tackle
Tyron Smith entered the National Football League in 2011 as a 20-year-old tackle out of USC. In his six years with the Cowboys, he has been to four straight Pro Bowls and has a pair of First-Team All-Pro and a pair of Second-Team All-Pro awards to his name. He is arguably the best left tackle in the league on the best offensive line in the NFL. Barring a series of injuries or unforeseen setbacks, look for Tyron Smith to head to Canton at the conclusion of his career.
Dez Bryant, Wide Receiver
Dez Bryant has been flying under the radar the last few years because of injuries and a recent slew of exceptionally productive receivers in Atlanta, New York and Pittsburgh. That being said, his statistics over the first seven years of his career have been outstanding as he has amassed over 6,600 yards and 67 touchdowns already. If he is able to replicate these numbers for the second half of his careers, there have been very few players in league history to achieve 11,000 yards and over 100 touchdowns. These numbers would make Dez a lock for the Hall of Fame.
Travis Frederick, Center
Travis Frederick entered the NFL in 2013 and he has already been to three Pro Bowls, and has been named to the First-Team All-Pro once, and the Second-Team All-Pro twice. He is widely regarded as the best center in the NFL and he still has the majority of his career ahead of him. Unlike guard and tackle which are well-represented in Canton, there are very few standout centers in the Hall of Fame.
Zack Martin, Guard
Zack Martin’s accomplishments speak for themselves as he has amassed three Pro Bowl appearances, two First-Team All Pro nods and one Second-Team All Pro nod in his three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. He is considered one of the best guards in the NFL and given the strength of his offensive line as well as the firepower along the offensive, the Dallas Cowboys will always be in the mix for having one of the most productive offenses in the league. If Martin is able to continue his early success, look for him to join his teammates Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick in the Hall of Fame.
Dak Prescott, Quarterback
Dak Prescott enters his sophomore campaign this season as the hottest quarterback in the National Football League, outside of the usual suspects in New England and Green Bay. His performance last year was historic as his accuracy, leadership and decision-making earned him Rookie of the Year honors and a Pro Bowl appearance. The Cowboys have seen their fair share of Hall of Fame worthy quarterbacks throughout their franchise. Prescott’s longevity and post-season success will dictate his chances of entering Canton.
Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back
If Zeke is able to continue his rookie success throughout his career, he will be a virtual lock for the Hall of Fame. The contrary argument is that running backs tend to shine through their first half of their career before beginning to plateau or decline. Only the best or the lucky can hold up for a long period. Zeke’s tenacity, vision and quickness set him up for long-term success and can catapult him into Canton.
Sean Lee, Linebacker
Sean Lee began his career in 2010 and recently has been named to back to back Pro Bowls after finally gaining league-wide recognition of being one of the most talented linebackers in the NFL. While his importance cannot be understated for this Dallas defense, his only chance to make the Hall of Fame is with post-season success, likely needing a Super Bowl victory under his belt. He’ll also need a string of great, injury-free seasons ahead. Unlike Dak and Zeke who could enter the Hall of Fame purely based on statistics and career longevity, I do not see Sean Lee entering the Hall of Fame unless he leads his defense to the Lombardi trophy.
What is clear from the above list is that the front office has mastered scouting and drafting but need to now shift their focus to the defensive side of the ball. With the exception Sean Lee, it is challenging to make a case for any current defensive player (at this time) to ever enter the Hall of Fame.
Which current Cowboys do you think will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame?