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Do the Cowboys have the best set of triplets in the NFL?

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Where would you rank the Dallas trio?

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Year in and year out people debate the quality of sets of triplets across the NFL.

Of course, the idea of triplets on a football team was made famous by the original triplets, the trio of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin during the 1990s. Good times.

Just a few years ago the Cowboys were operating with a set of Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, and Dez Bryant that were among the best in the NFL. Quickly they turned their set over, and now have Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and Amari Cooper. The fact that Dallas has had two sets of triplets within a five-year span that are regarded so highly is quite a testament to their ability to find and cultivate talent, but that’s a whole different subject.

When it comes to Dak, Zeke, and Amari (who all need new contracts by the way, the stresses of having good players!), you can certainly make the case that they are one of the top triumvirates in the league. If you’re in the right mood you might even make the argument that they are the best in the league. Is that fair, or is it absurd?


There are definitely solid contenders besides Dallas

When you look at the landscape of the NFL there are teams who don’t even really have a set of triplets worth bragging about. It’s important to qualify that a wide receiver isn’t necessary as some teams operate with a tight end as their primary pass-catcher. Even with Rob Gronkowski retiring (although nobody buys it) there are still some great ones in the NFL that dominate for their respective team.

There are a number of teams who it feels safe to rule out as far as definitely being behind the Cowboys:

There are without doubt teams on here that you could debate over the Cowboys. If Cam Newton is proper then the Panthers are certainly an elite trio. Should Deshaun Watson stay on track then you can make a great argument for the Texans, especially with Deandre Hopkins. Including the Colts on this list was tough, but they just don’t have a running back that can compare to having Zeke.

The Seattle Seahawks are also obviously a very good trio simply because of their quarterback, Russell Wilson. You can almost operate with whoever at running back when Wilson is commanding your offense, that’s part of the reason why I didn’t include the Green Bay Packers on this list. Aaron Rodgers elevates things that much individually.

Looking at who’s left though we have:

It’s fair (although obviously not trustworthy) to consider the Packers and Patriots behind the Cowboys (in a triplets sense exclusively) because they don’t have the talent of Zeke or Amari. It’s tough but it also feels fair to include Kansas City in this list because we simply don’t know how elite their run game will be, but again it might not matter. These teams obviously have quarterbacks that trump Dak Prescott, but for the purposes of this exercise we’ll cross them off of the list.

The entire world is jumping on the Cleveland Browns bandwagon, and you can make a great case that their trio includes two wide receivers in Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. While there’s a lot to like so much of it is based on potential since we haven’t seen this group together so it’s fair to just put a bookmark on them for now.

We’re left with the Eagles, Saints, Rams, Steelers, and Chargers. Pittsburgh seems like the easiest to take out next as who JuJu Smith-Schuster is as the top receiver in his offense is an unknown. That puts the Cowboys in the top five.


Dallas might have the best set on average

Philadelphia certainly has the potential to be very good, but who Jordan Howard is going to be in their backfield is hard to project. Plus, it’s a reality that Carson Wentz could be injured at some point and that would obviously hinder the value of the overall group, but there’s no doubting Zach Ertz’s strength within the tripod.

Injuries have also been an issue for Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley. If he’s not an every down runner (a thing that is very much in question these days) then their group is limited. This moves us to the top three.

Philip Rivers probably gets the least credit for quarterbacks that have found the fountain of youth, but together with Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen the Chargers have one of the game’s best sets of trios. They’re elite, there’s no question about it.

Drew Brees is still playing at an incredibly elite level and a lot of that is likely thanks to the additions of Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. While there’s no question that Kamara isn’t a traditional running back, his skills and contributions in his role make that group lethal.

If we looked at the positions individually then Dak, Zeke, and Amari probably rank third, first, and third compared to the Chargers and Saints. Since we’ve factored in injuries you can consider that factor with regards to Allen but even then that gives Dallas somebody ranked first, second, and third at every position. A perfect average.

While many will scoff at this, you can say that the Cowboys might be in the most enviable position across the NFL with regards to triplets as all of theirs are still very young and ascending players. Los Angeles and New Orleans are near the end of the road at quarterback, but for now they might have better overall groups specifically because of the most important position in sports.

At worst it feels like the Cowboys have the third-best set of triplets in the NFL, maybe there’s some poetry in being third in a subject of three. If their quarterback takes the step that many believe he will in 2019 then we could be looking at the game’s best a year from now.