A healthy offensive line is the key to the Dallas Cowboys success in 2021.
As important as Prescott’s return will be to the Cowboys’ success in 2021, so will the return of three offensive linemen who did not do much on-field work during spring practices: Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and La’el Collins.
And Prescott knows it.
“They’re the most important, if you ask me,” Prescott said. “From the time that I got drafted until now, this offense is built off of those guys. They’re the three most veteran guys on this team, and that’s for a reason. Those guys are walk-in Pro Bowl guys when they’re healthy, future Hall of Famers. Just to have those three guys lead the five guys up front, everything starts with them. The run game, that allows the pass game to open up. When you have those guys back healthy, energized, it’s special.”
CeeDee Lamb is one of the best players in the NFL under the age of 25.
CeeDee Lamb, the Dallas Cowboys’ 22-year old wide receiver, was selected with the 17th overall pick in the first round of the NFL Draft in 2020. He was able to contribute immediately on the field, catching 74 passes for 935 yards and five touchdowns in an otherwise forgettable Cowboys 2020 season.
He’s now being recognized as one of the best under-25 players in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus.
Lamb was ranked at No. 13 on the list, which also included linebacker Fred Warner of the San Fransisco 49ers at No. 1, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson at No. 2, and Titans wide receiver A. J. Brown at No. 3.
2021 might be the last time we see WR Michael Gallup in a Cowboys uniform.
Michael Gallup is entering his fourth season with the Dallas Cowboys. He’s not expected to see a sixth.
The Athletic’s Jon Machota predicted in his latest mailbag that the veteran wide receiver — entering a contract year — is “unlikely” to return in 2022, due largely to Gallup’s future free-agent value and, consequently, the cap-strapped club prioritizing $100 million alpha dog Amari Cooper and fast-rising star CeeDee Lamb.
“I’d say it’s unlikely that he’s on the Cowboys next season,” Machota wrote Friday. “There’s just not enough salary cap space to pay Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Gallup all at the top of the wide receiver market. Now, if Gallup is willing to take some type of team-friendly deal, sure, he could be back. There’s also a scenario where Cooper deals with a bunch of injuries or takes a step back and they move on from him and end up paying Gallup. But coming off the season Cooper just had, that doesn’t appear to be a great bet. Lamb is 100 percent not going anywhere. They will do whatever they have to keep him around well beyond his rookie contract. So if Gallup has a big year, which many of us expect, there will be teams looking to give him big money next March on the open market. And I think it would be tough for anyone to pass that up.”
Travis Frederick and Zack Martin earning some respect they rightly deserve.
Pro Football Focus recently named the best player at each draft slot in the last 15 NFL drafts. While they may not have reaped much playoff success off their hauls, right near the top of the list sit the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys had three clear candidates for this experiment with Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin, all who are Hall of fame Caliber players. Ultimately, Frederick and Martin were the two that made the cut for their draft slots of 31 and 16, respectively.
Smith was noted as an honorable mention for the best No. 9 pick, behind former Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, but had Smith’s health been better in recent seasons he may have been the third Cowboy selected to the list.
Free agency wasn’t kind to Dallas in 2020, hopefully 2021 will be different.
When it comes to opportunity and lack of competition, Damontae Kazee probably has the best chance of rarely leaving the field. As long as he’s fully recovered from an Achilles injury last year, the 5th-year veteran has a chance to to bring stability as a true free safety and more ideal partner for Donovan Wilson in the defensive backfield.
Additionally, the big play potential is where Damontae grabs my attention. Kazee had 10 interceptions from 2018-2019 for the Falcons. The entire Cowboys defense had just 16 picks over those same two years, and only 10 as a team in 2020.
Just a few interceptions will have a big effect on how we perceive Kazee. It’s an advantage compared to a guy like Brent Urban, whose dirty work in the trenches won’t be as noticeable or as heralded.
But in addition to the big plays, Kazee can also do a lot to help the overall solvency on pass defense. Xavier Woods went from a diamond-in-the-rough in 2018 to an utter disaster last season. If he’s even average in pass coverage, Damontae can improve things significantly in that role from the last guy.