There’s no denying the Dallas Cowboys have one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. After another 12-win regular season last year, Dallas made some big moves in free agency for the first time in what feels like forever.
The Cowboys re-signed almost all their priority in-house free agents and added some proven veterans via trades. No matter how you feel about the team as a whole, it would be hard to deny that the Cowboys are a better team right now than they were at the end of the 2022 season.
The hype around the Cowboys is deserved, but it does not seem like everyone feels that way. In a recent article by Bleacher Report, the Cowboys were labeled as one of the “NFL’s most overrated teams” heading into the 2023 season.
Here’s what Knox had to say about why he is not high on Dallas heading into the season.
Look, the Cowboys have plenty going for them. They return the bulk of a defense that ranked fifth in points allowed last season, they have an above-average quarterback in Dak Prescott, and they made a few savvy moves during the offseason. Trading for veterans Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore was smart, even if they’re only coming in to replace Noah Brown and Anthony Brown, respectively
However, the Cowboys lost offensive coordinator Kellen Moore to the Los Angeles Chargers in the offseason, so continuity could be a big problem. Dallas’ draft, meanwhile, was promising but might not yield immediate contributors. First-round pick Mazi Smith has potential to spare but underwhelmed at Michigan and still needs time to develop. The same is true for second-round tight end Luke Schoonmaker. ”Luke Schoonmaker is more an idea than a ready-made player, but he has all the tools to grow into a difference-maker,” Derrik Klassen of the B/R Scouting Department wrote.
Schoonmaker won’t directly replace Dalton Schultz, who signed with the Houston Texans in free agency, and 5’5 ¼”, 179-pound running back Deuce Vaughn won’t outright replace Ezekiel Elliott either. That’s two big offensive question marks, and starting tailback Tony Pollard is recovering from ankle surgery. Can the Cowboys win with defense this season? Possibly. They might even get to 10 wins, but they are in the loaded NFC East and have a brutal schedule that also includes the NFC West and AFC East. They probably won’t win the division and should face much longer odds to lift the Lombardi Trophy.
Knox’s point about losing Kellen Moore could be valid, although it isn’t stated that Dallas chose to lose Moore. But his other reasons for doubting the Cowboys don’t make much sense.
Knox mentions the Cowboys will struggle to replace the production that Dalton Schultz and Ezekiel Elliott added to Dallas’ offense. While Schultz and Elliott both did plenty of great things during their time in Dallas, neither player was a big part of their offensive success last year.
The trio of rookie tight end Luke Schoonmaker and second-year players Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot should be able to step in and assume Schultz’s role and produce even more than the 26-year-old tight end did last season.
At running back, Dallas may miss Elliott in short-yardage situations, but rookie Deuce Vaughn and 24-year-old Malik Davis will add more much-needed speed and explosiveness to Dallas’ backfield.
Knox also mentions that the Cowboys are in a “loaded NFC East”. The NFC East is a good division, but I wouldn't go as far as to call it loaded. The Eagles are great, but both the Giants and Commanders are nothing more than a little above-average team at best. Dallas has a clear roster and quarterback advantage over the two and has dominated both franchises in recent memory.
Overall, it’s fair to question if the Cowboys can stack up with the best of the best in the NFL, but to call them one of the most overrated teams in the league does not seem like a valid claim.