As we head closer to training camp, the hype continues to build for the Dallas Cowboys roster. A team that has added two Pro Bowl talents in CB Stephon Gilmore and WR Brandin Cooks, also had a draft which was based heavily on filling needs on the roster. Now the Cowboys roster is very loaded, featuring talent at every position level of the roster.
With so many talented players on both the offense and defense, let’s take a look at the five best players on the Cowboys roster heading into training camp.
5. Stephon Gilmore, CB
When the Cowboys front office traded for CB Stephon Gilmore from the Indianapolis Colts early in the offseason, they not only shored up their CB2 position, they also secured one of the best corners across the league. In his ten-year career, Gilmore has been selected to five Pro Bowls, two AP First-Team All-Pro selections, and won Defensive Player of the Year in 2019 when he led the league in interceptions (6).
Despite being 32-years-old, Gilmore remains one of the league’s top corners. Last season with the Colts, Gilmore recorded an 81.1 PFF coverage grade and allowed just an 82.6 passer rating from 82 targets.
Gilmore comes to the Cowboys with Super Bowl-winning experience, and veteran leadership that should positively impact the entire team. It will be a joy to watch him across from star CB Trevon Diggs this upcoming season.
#Cowboys cornerback Stephon Gilmore continues to train and get ready for his first season in Dallas— Brandon Loree (@Brandoniswrite) July 5, 2023
The former All-Pro corner had a PFF coverage grade of 81.1 in 2022, the highest since 2019
( / : @builtnotbornuk on IG) pic.twitter.com/bSVfL9YcHT
4. CeeDee Lamb, WR
Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb comes in at number four on this list due to his explosiveness and consistency throughout his three years in Dallas. Since his rookie season in 2020, Lamb has improved in each major statistic at the wide receiver position.
At just 24-years-old, Lamb is already doing a good job living up to the number 88 in Dallas. He has solidified himself as a premium number one option in the receiving room and should only improve as his career continues.
Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott had high praise for Lamb at the team’s minicamp back in June:
“I’ll say it,’’ said Prescott at this week’s minicamp at The Star. “I believe it. I think (Lamb) will be the best receiver in this league, honestly.’’
It will be exciting to continue seeing how Lamb can develop his game in Dallas, as he is nearing a future lucrative contract with the team. Trading for speedy WR Brandin Cooks should allow greater opportunity for Lamb to thrive as the team’s top target in 2023.
3. Trevon Diggs, CB
When it comes to making an impact on the field, the statistics show that no corner in the NFL impacts a game the way that Diggs has for the Cowboys. Everyone knows about his mind-boggling 11 interception season in 2021. However, Diggs’ managed to improve his skill-set as a corner last season, despite only having three interceptions.
It is easy to see why Diggs took such a dip in his interception numbers from 2021 to 2022. His coverage simply got better and more consistent. He was less aggressive in coverage, which led to fewer mistakes and big plays given up in the secondary. While he may not have had the flashy interceptions, he shut down several of the league’s top wide receivers.
Trevon Diggs in coverage vs Ja'Marr Chase:— PFF (@PFF) September 19, 2022
2 catches allowed
14 yards allowed pic.twitter.com/4nKuWpOaLI
Aj brown vs Trevon Diggs this year in two games— IntGodiggs (@ceedeex2) December 25, 2022
3 catches for 56 yards
56 coverage snaps
28.6 qbr when targeted
Trevon owns him pic.twitter.com/eglaMXYlXN
Trevon Diggs vs Justin Jefferson in Week 11:— PFF (@PFF) November 21, 2022
2 catches allowed
19 yards allowed
1 forced incompletion pic.twitter.com/fPJ7VPkfDu
Given how impactful Diggs has been in the secondary for the Cowboys, it is easy to forget that he will be entering just his fourth season with the team in 2023. At just 24-years-old, Diggs likely has not even hit the peak of his career as a coverage corner. With former DPOY Stephon Gilmore now across from him in the secondary, Diggs should be given more opportunities to come away with interceptions, and get that number up from last season.
A big season could be underway for Diggs, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract in 2023. He should be in line for a big payday if he continues playing the way he has in Dallas.
2. Zack Martin, RG
Zack Martin has been nothing short of perfect for the Cowboys since he was drafted in 2014. While there have been several shifts in who lines up around him, he has been a consistent anchor at the right guard position for the team. In his nine-year career he has been selected to eight Pro Bowls and has been selected to the AP First-Team All-Pro six times. In 2020 he missed six games in the season, being the only year he failed to be selected to the Pro Bowl.
Martin is also very disciplined in his blocking. He owns one of the most mind-boggling statistics throughout the NFL. In his career thus far, he has more Pro Bowl selections (8) than he does holding penalties (7).
Martin is a sure bet to be a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee when his playing career is over. In the mean time, he continues to be one of the best players across the entire league. He will be a big reason the offense is efficient in 2023, as he has been throughout his excellent career.
1. Micah Parsons, LB/EDGE
It takes a generational talent to be higher on a player ranking list than Zack Martin. Micah Parsons is a generational talent. When the team drafted him in the 2021 NFL draft, it felt as though the team settled for him after the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos selected CB Jaycee Horn and CB Patrick Surtain II in back-to-back picks.
What may have seemed like a disappointment to some fans at the time turned out to be a true blessing for the Cowboys. Parsons immediately proved he was the best defensive player in his draft class by winning the 2021 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He had an astonishing 13 sacks, the third highest by a rookie in NFL history. Surely Parsons would suffer some sort of a fall in production the following year, a “sophomore slump” as analysts describe it. Parsons answered that assumption with an even more impressive 13.5 sacks in his sophomore year.
Parsons is truly a game-wrecker for the Cowboys. If he plays edge, he is the best pass-rusher on the field. If he plays linebacker, he is the best linebacker on the field. Regardless of where he is lined up on the defense, he is always involved in the play, making an extraordinary play for the team.
Entering just his third season with the team in 2023, Parson looks to make another leap in production. Parsons is in prime position to win his first DPOY award and hopefully lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl.