The Dallas Cowboys have a lot of good players across many positions, but do you know which position group is the best? That was the topic of discussion in the latest episode of The Star Seminar as rabblerousr and I decided to rank each position group from top to bottom. You’ll have to give it a listen to find out how Rabs stacked his position groups, but to learn about mine, well, you’ve come to the right place.
To rank these guys as honest as possible, each individual player was given a score from 1 to 100, but it’s worth mentioning that every player on the Cowboys roster isn’t included in this ranking session. To be fair, additional depth guys beyond what a team might expect to need weren’t included when calculating the average as it doesn’t seem right to punish the position group by having an excess of middling scores bring down the average. Such players have been highlighted in green.
EXCELLENT (90 or above) A
Last year, the wide receiver position group would have made the honor roll with the likes of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Cedrick Wilson Jr., but now the Cowboys don’t have any single area that warrants such a high mark.
GOOD (80 to 89) B
1. RUNNING BACK (average score 83.3)
Starter: Ezekiel Elliott
Reserves: Tony Pollard and Rico Dowdle
Some may scoff at the notion that this position group would get the top spot, but when you really think about it, how many teams have a better running back duo than the Cowboys? The wear and tear on Zeke does create a bit of pause, but we’re banking on a little return of good health.
2. DEFENSIVE END (average score 82.8)
Starter: Micah Parsons*, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Dorance Armstrong
Reserves: Chauncey Golson, Dante Fowler, Sam Williams, and Tarel Basham
A little disclaimer here* is that we are actually counting him in both the edge rusher and linebacker position group because he does both and he does them really well. This group ended up a little higher than I would have originally predicted after the loss of Randy Gregory, but when it comes down to it, they are still really strong at the top with Parsons and Tank, and have a lot of quality depth as well.
3. QUARTERBACK (average score 81.5)
Starter: Dak Prescott
Reserve: Cooper Rush
The Cowboys have one of the better starting quarterbacks in the league and that’s fantastic, but there are some who aren’t sold on Cooper Rush. While he’s two full letter grades lower than Dak, Rush showed he could be a viable backup QB for this team. That puts this group collectively in the green and should make Cowboys fans feel better about the quarterback spot.
ABOVE AVERAGE (score between 77 and 80) C+
4. WIDE RECEIVER (average score 79.4)
Starters: CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Jalen Tolbert
Reserves: James Washington, Noah Brown, and Simi Fehoko
The loss of Cooper makes some feel uneasy and that feeling is only increased by the initial absence of Michael Gallup, but overall, this is still a solid group. People are excited about the rookie Jalen Tolbert and once the main three are all on the field together, they should provide Prescott with plenty of downfield weapons.
5. DEFENSIVE TACKLE (average score 78.3)
Starters: Neville Gallimore and Osa Odighizuwa
Reserves: Carlos Watkins, Quinton Bohanna, Trysten Hill, and John Ridgeway
One of the team’s weakest position groups in years past, it was a little surprising to see them fall in at no. 5. With a beefier Gallimore the team should be able to use both him and Diggy in the middle at the same time and that could be a sneaky good DT combo. The team also has some adequate depth at the position, so they’re not bad overall.
6. INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINE (average score 78)
Starters: Zack Martin, Tyler Smith, and Tyler Biadasz
Reserves: Connor McGovern and Matt Farniok
Last year’s weakest link, Connor Williams, is gone, but the Cowboys still have questions in the middle which will be answered by how good can the rookie Tyler Smith be in year one. The range of outcomes for him is pretty wide and I have been known to be a little harder on him than most, but until he can show it on the field, this group will be an unknown.
7. OFFENSIVE TACKLE (average score 77)
Starters: Tyron Smith and Terence Steele
Reserves: Josh Ball and Matt Waletzgo
Similar to the interior, the tackle position heavily depends on T. Smith as it rests solely on the shoulders, back, ankle, or [insert extremity here] of the aging one, Tyron. That makes things a little tricky to grade, but when healthy, they have good protection on the outside. Second-year player Josh Ball is a big question mark, but the team must have some strong belief in him to release La’el Collins this offseason.
AVERAGE (score 70 to 77) C
8. LINEBACKER (average score 76.8)
Starters: Micah Parsons*, Leighton Vander Esch, and Jabril Cox
Reserves: Luke Gifford and Devin Harper
On the surface, this might seem like it should grade out even worse than eighth on the list, but there are a couple of things that lift it up a bit. First, having an elite linebacker like Parsons is huge. Second, Leighton Vander Esch is coming off a very solid year after previous struggles. And finally, the way they use Jayron Kearse as a hybrid linebacker means that the Cowboys don’t have to go super deep so these lower-depth guys aren’t weighing down the score. There could still be depth issues here, but it’s not evident that there’s a real concern just yet.
9. TIGHT END (average score 76.3)
Starter: Dalton Schultz
Reserves: Sean McKeon, Jeremy Sprinkle, and Jake Ferguson
Conversely to the linebacker group, the tight end spot is weighed down by the lower-depth guys because the Cowboys use a lot of tight ends. That’s why this group is as low as it is, but if you look past that element, it’s really not all that bad. Dalton Schultz is one of the better tight ends in the league and all the reserves have high floors because of their capability as a blocker.
10. CORNERBACK (average score 74.6)
Starters: Trevon Diggs, Anthony Brown, and Jourdan Lewis
Reserves: Kelvin Joseph, DaRon Bland, and Nahshon Wright
The Cowboys' cornerback group is okay, so seeing them this low seems like an atrocity. Some might have Trevon Diggs graded out higher because he’s coming off a monster year whereas some might ding Anthony Brown lower because he’s been a doormat for criticism in the past. In all, this is a solid group, but the depth leaves something to be desired. Yes, there’s some potential there with some young players, but we have to see a glimpse of something before we can count it.
11. SAFETY (average score 74.5)
Starters: Jayron Kearse and Malik Hooker
Reserves: Donovan Wilson, Marquese Bell, and Isreal Mukuamu
Safety has been a position that has been bringing up the rear for a long time for this team, so it’s not shocking to see them here. That said, the duo of Kearse and Malik Hooker is one of the better starting pairs we’ve seen from this team in a while. They do have depth issues so unless one of the youngsters steps up, that could be a concern should they have to rely on the backups.
POOR (69 and below) D
The Cowboys just aren’t bad at any single position group as this team had done a good job shoring up some of the glaring holes on the roster. They are coming off a year where they have re-upped on some previous free agent signings and that speaks to how well they’ve done filling voids.
This team isn't top-heavy like it once was, but also isn’t really bad anywhere either. The top and bottom graded positions are separated by less than 10 points. It speaks to just how balanced this team is and how they’ve worked to keep a lot of key pieces in place. This offseason in particular contained a lot more re-signing of their own players as 33% of their starters were given a new contract. It’s a different approach for this team but could prove valuable as depth becomes even more important with the 17-game schedule.