ESPN took on the task of ranking the Top 100 players for the 2018 season. This was supposedly a methodology based on one thing - how good that player be in the 2018 season. It wasn’t supposed to rest on past performance or positional value, but just on how much impact they will have in 2018.
The Cowboys ended up with five players on the list. That beats the average if you just divided 100 by 32 teams. By that standard each team should have 3.125 players on the list, so we slipped in an extra 1. 875 players.
Let’s take a look at the Dallas contingent:
#15 Ezekiel Elliott - Zeke is the Cowboys highest-rated player, but is not the highest-rated running back. He was beat out by Le’Veon Bell (#7) and Todd Gurley (#13). He is also ranked lower than a player that will always be associated with him among Cowboys fans, Jalen Ramsey, who comes in at #9. One would guess that after a full 16 games in 2018, you might see Zeke higher on this list next year.
#32 Tyron Smith - Smith is not only the top-rated tackle on the list, but he’s the top-rated offensive lineman. The fact that the top-rated offensive lineman comes in at #32 tells you that, try as they might, voters in polls like this can’t help but give higher credence to the skill positions.
#38 Zack Martin - Only two guards made the list, Martin and Marshal Yanda who came in way back at #99. Can the Cowboys go three for three in having the top-rated lineman at center, guard and tackle?
#42 DeMarcus Lawrence - Nice to see Tank getting high praise and that the voters in this poll don’t believe that last year's sack numbers were just a fluke. They have confidence he will have another good season. Defensive ends were tied with quarterbacks and receivers for most players on the list at 14 each. Lawrence was the eighth-rated end behind Khalil Mack (#10), Joey Bosa (#14), Calais Campbell (#23), Cameron Jordan (#31), Jadeveon Clowney (#33), Everson Griffen (#39) and J.J. Watt (#41). Might Lawrence’s ranking be a little low on that list?
#61 Travis Frederick - Frederick completes the trifecta for the Cowboys as he is the highest-rated center on the list. He tops Alex Mack (#64) and Jason Kelce (#98). That gives the Cowboys the highest rated center, guard and tackle on this list.
Snubbed: Sean Lee - The voters either don’t believe that Lee can stay healthy for an entire season, or they’re just sleeping on how good he really is as a player. It’s probably the former since it’s hard to believe people don’t know how good he is by now.
Snubbed: Dak Prescott? - Here is a subjective one. The list contains 14 QBs and some are obvious like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, etc. But there are some on the list where you could make an argument for Prescott. These include Jimmy Garoppolo (#62), Cam Newton (#63), Kirk Cousins (#80), Deshaun Watson (#89) and Alex Smith (#97). What say you BTB?
Oh yeah, there is that one “possible” Cowboy on the list.
#28 Earl Thomas - Thomas comes in second at his position behind Harrison Smith (#25). Still, the #28 player in the NFL sure would sound good in the Cowboys secondary.