With the 2023 season creeping ever so closer and some teams reporting to camp already, with the rest joining them within the week, football is in the air and the excitement is mounting. Before we dive head first into the new season, ESPN took one last look at the teams of the league before the page is turned to the here and now with their annual ‘Future Power Rankings’ list.
ESPN experts Dan Graziano, Louis Riddick, and Seth Walder take a look at all 32 teams and discuss how they think each team stacks up over the next few years and rated each team’s quarterback situation, remaining roster, drafting ability, front office, and coaching to get a complete future outlook.
We all agree the Cowboys are a good football team and should be in the mix for at least 2023, but where they have the Dallas Cowboys and their future prospects may surprise you a bit.
10. Dallas Cowboys
Overall score: 83.2
CATEGORY SCORE NFL RANK
Overall roster (minus QB) 86.77
Front office 84.38
Reason for hope: For all the jokes and justified criticism about the lack of recent playoff success, the Cowboys’ front office has absolutely demonstrated an ability to draft and develop players who keep them competing for division titles and playoff berths every year. Young cornerstone players at key positions, such as Micah Parsons and CeeDee Lamb, offer plenty of hope for the roster in the coming years. — Graziano
Reason for concern: Philosophically, what this team wants to be offensively and what it is equipped to be are two different things. Coach Mike McCarthy said this offseason, “I want to run the damn ball so I can rest my defense. ... Being a head coach and being a playcaller, you’re a little more in tune with [everything].” That’s sounds good in theory, but primary running back Tony Pollard is returning from a fractured left fibula, has not been signed to a long-term deal and will no longer be able to share the load with Ezekiel Elliott. And what is Dallas’ plan to help Prescott take advantage of a quality WR group and cut down on his career-high 15 interceptions last season? — Riddick
Stat to know: The Cowboys pressured opposing punters on 20% of punts last season, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. That’s just one part of the game, but that number blew away every other team in the league, as the Raiders were next-highest at a 13% pressure rate on punts. — Walder
The experts have the Cowboys second in their division behind the Philadelphia Eagles and fourth in the conference behind the Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, and Seattle Seahawks over the next three years.
While that seems somewhat encouraging, some may look at the Cowboys being the 10th-best team in the NFL moving forward and think it feels a tad low for what they have been able to build here with star power and development through the draft.
Secondly, while McCarthy did allude to this team having more focus in the running game during the offseason, many around the team feel like that was coach speak and when you look at the way they actually have attacked the roster construction over this year, and McCarthy’s history as a play-caller, it may be an overblown storyline heading into the season that does not mount to actual reality.
The Cowboys have a few big contract decisions looming that with certainly shape the future of this franchise with CeeDee Lamb, Micah Parsons, Trevon Diggs, Dak Prescott, and now Zack Martin to deal with, but if all goes to plan the Cowboys should feel good about this year and the future of this franchise.