It feels like most people agree that the Dallas Cowboys are very talented. Exactly “how” talented the Cowboys are obviously remains to be seen. They have the look of a team that could certainly win their division, but they have done that many times over the last quarter century. People are ready to see more.
There will be a lot of patience involved when it comes to whether or not the Cowboys realize their full potential this season but the status of their exact potential is what that is very interesting. How talented do people really think the Cowboys are right now?
NFL.com ranked the Cowboys inside of the top 5 of their ‘most complete’ teams across the league
There are a lot of talented teams in the NFL but some have talent in different ways. One unit may be a bit more top-heavy and led by a great quarterback for example, whereas another may have the underlying pieces but lack the true straw that stirs the drink (shout out Stephen Jones).
Whatever the case, Eric Edholm put together a ranking of the ‘most complete’ teams in the NFL over at NFL.com and the Dallas Cowboys came in at number five.
5. Dallas Cowboys
Dallas is pretty loaded on defense and could definitely field a top-five unit. The Cowboys addressed a need at defensive tackle with first-round pick Mazi Smith. When you factor in the pass-rushing duo of Micah Parsons and Demarcus Lawrence, and some good depth outside, the ‘Boys boast a deep, talented front.
Linebacker and the secondary also are well stocked. Depending on preseason injuries, there could be some tough cuts in the back seven. The addition of Stephon Gilmore at corner, along with the late-season emergence of linebacker Damone Clark and defensive back DaRon Bland, make this unit deep and dangerous.
On offense, however, there are at least depth concerns at almost every spot. Dak Prescott is coming off a challenging season, and the Cowboys probably can’t afford him missing another five-game chunk in 2023. Cooper Rush ably replaced Prescott and is back, but is he truly a top-tier backup? That’s about all they have at QB.
The depth is better at receiver following the trade for Brandin Cooks, who should diversify the offense. But Dallas really could use Michael Gallup, Jalen Tolbert or someone else stepping up. Running back took a hit with Ezekiel Elliott’s release, which looms larger with Tony Pollard coming off a broken leg and high ankle sprain. Perhaps rookie Deuce Vaughn can carve out a role, but it feels like there’s a void here.
Tight end is in solid shape with the addition of second-rounder Luke Schoonmaker, but the offensive line remains partially unsolved. There might be some shuffling among last year’s starters, and the depth appears so-so right now.
Dallas also needs to find a kicker. But all in all, this is one of the best NFL rosters from top to bottom.
Defensive depth feels pretty solid for the Cowboys, and as noted, the biggest questions definitely reside on the offensive side of the ball.
While the Cowboys would certainly be up a proverbial creek without Dak Prescott (all due respect to Cooper Rush’s heroics last year)... find me the team in the NFL outside of the San Francisco 49ers that isn’t dramatically hindered without their starting quarterback. That is just sort of the name of the game. It made sense for Dallas to bring Rush back in free agency, but Dak is obviously the starter and most important player on the team given the position that he plays.
The note about wide receiver depth is certainly interesting. There is a lot of optimism among fans that this season Michael Gallup will be closer to the form he had prior to his torn ACL, but the trade for Brandin Cooks helps mitigate disaster if Gallup is still a bit so-so. The biggest difference in the wide receiver group this year relative to last is that there actually is depth and that Gallup and/or Jalen Tolbert are not being relied upon in the way that they were.
Ezekiel Elliott gave a lot to the Cowboys and nobody is interested in disparaging him one way or another, but it is hard to really think that the Cowboys are going to miss out on some top-tier production in his absence. It is definitely true that Tony Pollard returning from injury is a storyline to watch, but Deuce Vaughn (don’t forget about Malik Davis and/or Rico Dowdle, not to mention Ronald Jones) should be able to absorb part of the load.
As far as the offensive line is concerned, every Cowboys fan out there is in a similar state of confusion in terms of wondering what the exact plan is. While it is difficult to predict exactly how the Cowboys run a group out for a game there is no question that they have more options along the line thanks to additions like Chuma Edoga and Asim Richards. We will see if that ultimately helps them handle adversity in a better way, although they managed to do so moderately well last year.