The Dallas Cowboys front office continuously tells us that their priority is to build homegrown talent. The way they approach free agency by being frugal in the open market is an obvious indicator of how they view team building. It is predominately done through the draft and not by overpaying for other franchises castoffs.
In order for this way of thinking to be a successful business model, you need to be able to hit homeruns in the draft and to be consistent throughout from round one to round seven. Giving credit where it is due, Will McClay and his staff have done a nice job of that as most of this young team’s core is drafted talent.
Too confirm that the Cowboys have a nice crop of young talent, The 33rd Team compiled a list of their Top 25 players under the age of 25, and the Dallas Cowboys have two names on the list.
Listed in their top tier categorized as “The Brightest Young Stars”:
The last player in this tier, Micah Parsons, performed excellently in his rookie season for the Dallas Cowboys. Parsons played a hybrid role for Dan Quinn’s defense, playing both off-ball linebacker and edge rusher in both two-point and three-point stances. According to Pro Football Focus, Parsons lined up on the defensive line 374 times and in the box 498 times. Parson excelled in both roles, collecting 14 sacks, 67 pressures, 61 tackles, and three forced fumbles. In recognition of his efforts, Parsons is one of the most decorated defensive rookies ever. Parsons brought home the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award, finished as Runner-Up for Defensive Player of the Year, and was selected for both the Pro Bowl and All-Pro First Team.
In The 33rd Team’s third tier which they titled “Best of the rest” the Dallas Cowboys saw another young star on the rise listed:
Former Oklahoma Sooner CeeDee Lamb is one of the best wide receivers in the game. Lamb’s 84.6 PFF-receiving grade ranked sixth among receivers with at least 70 targets. When the Cowboys selected Lamb in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, many wondered why, considering wide receiver was a strength at the time. Lamb produced in his rookie season, hauling in 74 receptions for 935 yards and five touchdowns. Lamb followed up his successful rookie with a further impressive sophomore campaign. In 2021, Lamb caught 79 of 116 targets for 1,102 yards and six touchdowns on the way to his first Pro Bowl selection. With Amari Cooper out of Dallas and Michael Gallup set to miss the beginning of the season, Lamb is primed for an even stronger third year.
While both players are clearly worthy of the honor, there seems to be one glaring name omitted from the list. Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs is only 23 years old and is coming off one of the best seasons in cornerback history, one that saw him named a Pro Bowler and a First-Team All-Pro. There seems to be much debate about Diggs and his ranking amongst the league's best, but what cannot be discredited is his undeniable production of last season. Debate all you want, but you will be hard pressed to find four cornerbacks in the entire league you could confidently say is better than Trevon Diggs, never mind four under the age of 25.
Whether you focus on who is on the list, or who is not on the list, what is important is the Cowboys have two, more than likely three, rising stars in this league that the team should feel very fortunate for having.