The Dallas Cowboys ranked tops in the league in both points scored and yards gained last year. The 2022 group hopes to continue playing at a high level with the majority of last year’s cast still intact. There are, however, a few big changes as the team lost two of their starting offensive linemen from a year ago along with four-time Pro Bowler Amari Cooper. How will this new group of starters hold up?
Today, we’re going down the list and ranking all 11 of the Cowboys' starters on offense.
11. WR3 JALEN TOLBERT
Most fans were pleasantly surprised that South Alabama’s Jalen Tolbert was still there when the Cowboys were on the clock at pick 88. It’s reminiscence of the Gallup situation in 2018 when the team cashed in on a deep WR class by remaining patient.
With Amari Cooper gone, every receiver moves up the depth chart one spot which leaves a hole at the wide receiver no. 3 spot. Tolbert shows nice body control to haul in contested passes and has good long speed to pull away on big plays. It’s hard to know what we are going to see from him during his rookie season, but he should fit in nicely with this wide receiver group.
10. C TYLER BIADASZ
When the Wisconsin center slid late in the fourth round, the Cowboys made a move to trade up and select Biadasz in the 2020 NFL Draft. He wasted little time showing what a nice deal the team got as he ended up playing in 12 games as a rookie, starting in four of them. Last season, he was the only Cowboys offensive lineman to start all 17 games for them.
Biadasz gets his fair share of criticism as he can be bullied in the trenches at times. He’s still a smart player who moves well and with a little extra help along the interior, he could prove to be more effective.
9. LG TYLER SMITH
The Cowboys selected the Tulsa tackle with the 24th overall pick in this year’s draft. A raw player, the team loved the upside that Smith brings as he is a strong player who can manhandle his opponent. His college résumé does come with some drawbacks as he was penalized extensively during his final season.
It appears the plan for Smith initially is to slide him inside at left guard to take over for Connor Williams. It’s hard to rank a player who has never stepped on the field at the NFL level but Smith’s strength should allow him to show some degree of effectiveness in year one.
8. RT TERENCE STEELE
An undrafted free agent from 2020, Steele surprised a lot of people when he made the team. Even more surprising was how he was immediately thrown into the fire starting 14 games at right tackle his rookie season because veteran La’el Collins missed the entire year with a hip injury. And although Collins returned last year, Steele managed to still start over him at right tackle at times as he added 13 more total starts to his young career.
The emergence of Steele made Collins expendable as the team released him this past offseason. It’s Steele’s job now and he should only get better. Having a super-cheap, cap-friendly player holding down the edge is a huge score for the Cowboys.
7. TE DALTON SCHULTZ
While the team bounced back-and-forth with Jason Witten’s retirement and put some eggs in the basket of Blake Jarwin, something interesting happened - Dalton Schultz became a pretty good tight end. After making no starts and catching just one pass in 2019, Schultz burst on the scene the following year with 63 catches for 615 yards. He followed that up last season with 78 catches for 808 yards.
The Cowboys placed the franchise tag on Schultz this offseason, keeping him around for at least another season. While his long-term future with the team is unknown, Prescott’s favorite security blanket will be catching passes from him once again in 2022.
6. RB EZEKIEL ELLIOTT
The team’s fourth-overall pick in 2016, Elliott shot out of a cannon with 1,631 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. He, along with his fellow rookie Dak Prescott, was an integral part of the team’s success that year as they had defenses on their heels. It was good enough for him to earn All-Pro honors right out of the gate.
Zeke’s decline in production has been heavily discussed in recent years as the wear and tear could be affecting his explosiveness. He played most of last season laboring with an injury, and fans are holding their breath that better health could equate to better production this upcoming season.
5. WR2 MICHAEL GALLUP
Gallup was the ninth wide receiver picked in the 2018 NFL Draft, yet only D.J. Moore and Calvin Ridley (both first-rounders) have more receiving yards than Gallup. He came up to speed rather quickly, putting together a nice 1,109-yard season in his second year in the league.
He’s coming off a season where he suffered two separate injuries and will miss the first part of the upcoming season, but that hasn’t deterred the Cowboys from wanting him on the squad as the front office just signed him to an extension. When he returns healthy, expect more of the same highlight plays from Gallup.
4. LT TYRON SMITH
The Cowboys passed up on J.J. Watt to select Smith ninth overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. And while Watt became an instant star, it didn’t take Smith very long to turn out not so shabby himself. By his third year, Smith would become an All-Pro and make his first of eight Pro Bowl appearances.
Word on the street is that, when healthy, he is still one of the game’s best tackles. The problem is, health has been a real struggle for the veteran as he has missed at least three games in each of the last six seasons. That includes a total of 20 games over the last two years. It seems to get harder and harder for Smith to stay healthy, and it’s not going to get any easier as he enters his 12th NFL season.
3. WR1 CEEDEE LAMB
A surprise pick in 2020, the Cowboys were gifted one of the nation’s top collegiate receivers. After two strong seasons that include a Pro Bowl year in 2021, Lamb has emerged as a premier receiver in the NFL. The Cowboys’ faith in Lamb is so high, that they were perfectly okay with trading away Amari Cooper this offseason.
It will be interesting to see how the youngster holds down the WR1 spot, but he possesses both the ball-hawking and run-after-the-catch playmaking to be an elite weapon at this level. Expectations are high for Lamb.
2. QB DAK PRESCOTT
The best fourth-round draft pick in the history of the Cowboys, Dak Prescott shocked us all when he took over as the team’s starting quarterback his rookie season. A back injury to Tony Romo opened up the door for Prescott in 2016 and the young quarterback did the rest, leading the Cowboys to a 13-3 record and the no. 1 seed in the NFC.
Even though Prescott has been pretty fantastic most of his career, he remains under constant scrutiny. That comes with the territory as a quarterback, but Dak has gone from 226 yards per game over his first three seasons to 302 yards per game over his last three. Regardless of what you think of him, Prescott has become one of the game’s top gunslingers.
1. RG ZACK MARTIN
It feels like only yesterday when the Cowboys passed up on the great Johnny Manziel and settled for another boring offensive lineman in Zack Martin. Little did we know that the team ended up selecting the best player in the entire draft who isn’t named Aaron Donald.
Martin has been sensational throughout his eight years in the league. He’s been an All-Pro in seven of them only missing out in 2020 when he was out of action for six games. At 31 years of age, he’s still one of the best guards in the league.