Pro Football Focus (PFF) recently finished a series in which they ranked the top 32 players by position. Not so surprisingly, the Dallas Cowboys landed quite a few of their players on the list. Today will take a look at Dallas’ offensive players who made PFF’s cut.
Prescott has shown himself to be one of the most sensitive quarterbacks in the league to changes in his supporting cast. His overall PFF grade has ranged from 71.8 to 85.2 over his career, and those changes tend to go hand in hand with the level of receiving help and blocking in front of him. Prescott’s turnover-worthy play rate has been above 3.0% in each of the past four seasons, but when at his best he can lead one of the top offenses in the game.
Although Prescott is coming off a somewhat down season after throwing a career-high 15 INT’s, he is still one of the top QBs in the league according to PFF and could end up being ranked much higher next year now that he has a much better supporting cast to help him.
Pollard has been one of the most exciting backs to watch in the NFL over the past two seasons. His 91.0 rushing grade across the past two years ranks fourth in the NFL. He also has the highest yards-per-carry figure (5.3) and the second-highest yards-after-contact average (3.7) in that span. Let’s hope he’s fully healthy this upcoming season. If he is, history tells us he’ll put on a show as RB1 in Dallas.
Pollard was one of the most dangerous and explosive RBs in 2022 working in a tandem with Ezekiel Elliott. With Zeke gone, No. 20 has a really good shot at having a career year for himself in 2023 and solidifying himself amongst the best in the league.
Lamb’s production should only go up in 2023 now that Brandin Cooks is on the roster to keep defenses on their toes. Last season, with no Amari Cooper, Lamb set career highs in targets, catches, yards, touchdowns and yards per route run. He posted the lowest drop rate of his career and looked like one of the best receivers in the game. This season could be even better.
Cooks will be moving on to his fifth team in the NFL when he suits up for Dallas this season, but whatever reason teams choose to trade him away with impressive regularity, it’s not because he doesn’t produce. This past season was the first of his Texans tenure that didn’t yield a 1,000-yard season, and he has posted at least one of those for every team he has played for.
CeeDee Lamb is no doubt a Top 10 WR in the league coming off a career season in 2022. Add another of the league’s best WRs, Brandin Cooks, and a healthier Michael Gallup, and the Cowboys could have the best WR trios in the entire NFL this year.
If Smith can get back to his best, and we saw him get close to that in 2021, then this is far too low of a ranking. His six starts at right tackle to end the 2022 season weren’t great, though, with Smith allowing 16 total pressures from 239 pass-blocking snaps.
Steele, an undrafted free agent in 2020, has really grown as a run blocker over the past three seasons and is coming off a career-high 82.1 PFF run-blocking grade that ranked sixth among all offensive tackles. He is limited as a pass protector but has developed into a starting-caliber player all the same.
For both Tyron Smith and Terence Steele to make PFF’s top OT rankings is somewhat surprising considering both players had injury-riddled seasons last year. When healthy though, they form one of the best bookend duos in the league.
Martin’s 72.8 PFF grade last season ranked ninth among guards, but in every other season of his career he finished with a top-five grade at the position. He was the only guard in the NFL to not allow any sacks while playing 700 or more pass-blocking snaps, and, on balance, it’s hard to see him not being one of the best guards in football in 2023.
Slotting Smith on this list was a challenge, given that he played left tackle for all of 2022 but is expected to start on the inside with Tyron Smith back at left tackle for the Cowboys as things stand. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect him to be in the top 25% of starting guards this upcoming season. He finished the 2022 campaign strong at tackle, with PFF grades of 70.0 or better in six of the final eight games of the season.
Zack Martin being PFF’s top-ranked guard comes as no surprise. What is somewhat surprising is the fact Tyler Smith made the list, despite starting at LT for the majority of his rookie season last year. It’ll be interesting to see where he ends up playing in 2023, LG or LT?
Both Biadasz’s PFF pass- and run-blocking grades took a dip in 2022 after a pretty encouraging first year as a full-time starter in 2021. His 60.5 PFF grade in 2022 saw him end the season as the 24th highest-graded center in the league.
Coming in at No. 24 seems a little low for a player who was a Pro Bowl selection just last season, but that’s where Tyler Biadasz ended up being ranked according to PFF. Heading into a contract year in 2023, his future is somewhat uncertain still in Dallas.