NFL Future Power Rankings 2022: Projections for all 32 teams for the next three seasons - Staff, ESPN.com
The Cowboys future isn’t held in high regard in this latest ranking.
Projecting ahead and building for future success — beyond just the current season — is crucial in the NFL. That’s what the best teams all do to stay at the top of the standings. So which teams are best set up to pile up wins and show steady improvement over the next few years?
To project which NFL franchises are in the best shape for the next three seasons (2022 through 2024), we asked our panel of experts — Jeremy Fowler, Louis Riddick, Seth Walder and Field Yates — to rate each team’s quarterback situation, remaining (non-QB) roster, drafting ability, front office and coaching using this scale:
100: A+ (Elite)
90: A (Great)
80: B (Very good)
70: C (Average)
60: D (Very bad)
50 and below: F (Disastrous)
20. Dallas Cowboys
Overall score: 77.6
Why they’re here: The Cowboys have a lot of foundation pieces on their roster that bring significant optimism. I’m bullish on quarterback Dak Prescott, Micah Parsons could be a perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate, and receiver CeeDee Lamb oozes stardom. The list goes on. But that theme has persisted for too long, as their rank in this list reflects too many years of falling short of expectations. And while coaching hot seats are a conversation usually better reserved for midseason at the earliest, there is unquestioned pressure on Mike McCarthy to win big this season. — Yates
With Randy Gregory no longer in the fold, Dallas has many options to replace him.
Randy Gregory’s departure was one of the odder and most disappointing developments of the Cowboys’ offseason. Having lost their best pure pass rusher at DE, Dallas has amassed several different options to hopefully replace Gregory’s contributions.
While impactful, the loss of Gregory is perhaps an exaggerated storyline overall. Dallas still has its best pass rusher, LB Micah Parsons, and a now-underrated player in DeMarcus Lawrence. They also made sure to re-sign Dorance Armstrong, a budding playmaker whose per-snap production in 2021 wasn’t a far cry from Randy’s.
A key to defensive success is establishing threats at various spots on the field. You want your opponent worrying, affecting their play calls and making players hesitate in the moment.
The Cowboys have two of the NFL’s biggest threats going into 2022; Parsons and ball-hawking CB Trevon Diggs. If they can get a more consistent impact from the DE position it will go a long way to taking the defense to another level this season.
A monster season could ahead for CeeDee Lamb.
3. Four or fewer drops
Throughout Lamb’s first two seasons he has accumulated 16 total drops with eight in each season. That is not something we expected to see from Lamb coming out of college and it’s a fact that Cowboys fans consistently bring up about him. It is fair to assume that in his third season, the drops will be corrected. If he can cut that number in half to four or less, that would be ideal.
2. Reach 1,500 receiving yards
This is a lofty goal, but it’s one he can achieve given the circumstances. Lamb has been a machine in the receiving yards category through the first two years of his career. This graphic even puts him in the record books with the likes of Larry Fitzgerald and Randy Moss.
1. 10+ receiving touchdowns
This number may seem low to some but Lamb only has 11 touchdowns through the first two seasons of his career. I expect No. 88 to turn into a touchdown machine this season, something we have seen for many years from players wearing that same number.
Cowboys ‘Proposal’: Sign Free Agent LB Anthony Barr? - Daniel Flick and Mike Fisher, Cowboys Country/SI.com
The linebacker room could use a veteran presence.
However, with the position holding uncertainty behind Parsons, it’s an area the team may look to improve on before the start of the season. Scanning the free agent pool, four-time Pro Bowler Anthony Barr might just be the right man at the right time.
Given the fact that the Cowboys recently flirted with the idea of signing multiple-time Pro Bowl linebacker Bobby Wagner before he landed with the Rams, there is an acknowledgement of a need. Barr has been a star-caliber player for the Minnesota Vikings defense, and he’s now 30 ... with a connection to the Dallas coaching staff ... and still unsigned.
No matter how good a team is, there’s always room for improvement.
It’s tough to pack for a monthlong trip. Every year without fail, I manage to leave something important behind. And while I might do that with a pair of socks or my contact solution, it’s a bit of a bigger issue if the Cowboys are forgetting a key piece of their depth chart.
To be fair to them, they haven’t been completely idle this past month, and we’ll get to that. But with a week to go, there are a handful of problem spots on this team that look concerning.
Let’s run through them, starting with a couple of positions that give me pause.
There are more high-profile spots on this list. But if you’re looking for a position that looks shockingly thin at the outset of camp, this is the one that stands out to me.
This isn’t a big-picture issue, but it sure could be a problem in the next six weeks.
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