The Dallas Cowboys won 12 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1994 and 1995. Head coach Mike McCarthy is the fourth coach in team history to have at least 12 wins in back-to-back seasons, joining Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson, and Barry Switzer—all of who have won the Super Bowl.
To accomplish that, a team needs top-level talent across all levels of the offense and defense. Earlier this week, the NFL finished announcing who the top 100 players were from the 2022 season, as voted on by players from around the league.
No. 99: DeMarcus Lawrence, DE
Even though DeMarcus Lawrence hasn’t had a ten-sack season since 2018, he was recognized for his dominance as an overall edge player in run defense and for being a leader in Dallas. That recognition earned him a Pro Bowl nomination and an appearance on the NFL’s Top 100.
Since coming to Dallas, Lawrence has been the definition of consistency whenever he’s taken the field. In 2022, No. 90 played in all 17 games and recorded six sacks, nine tackles for loss, and 40 hurries, the second most of his career.
No. 68: Zack Martin, OG
Nothing anyone can say about Zack Martin hasn’t already been said. Unfortunately, the contract negotiations have become an issue and are keeping him from practice. He seems to be missed along the offensive line from what’s been coming out of training camp.
Here is a crazy stat from PFF for Martin. Since coming into the NFL, his pass-blocking efficiency has been graded at 98.2 or higher. Martin also has almost as many Pro Bowls (eight) as sacks allowed (nine) in his career.
To say Martin’s availability is critical to the success of the Cowboys’ offense in 2023 is an understatement.
No. 60: Trevon Diggs, CB
Cowboys CB Trevon Diggs comes in at No. 60 in this year’s NFL Top 100 for 2023…— Kevin Gray Jr. (@KevinGraySports) July 28, 2023
Diggs has more interceptions and more PBUs than any cornerback since coming to the NFL in 2020 and just got paid! #DallasCowboys
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For the recent $100 million man, this is his second appearance on the list, where he finished at No. 23 last year. Diggs might not have replicated his 11 interceptions and All-Pro nomination from 2021, but he arguably had a better all-around season as a cornerback.
The highlighted performances by Diggs were in Week 2 against the defending AFC Champion Cinncinati Bengals and Week 10 against the Minnesota Vikings. The Cowboys’ corner held Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson to just eight receptions and 83 yards combined.
No. 56: Dak Prescott, QB
Even though Prescott missed five games during the regular season with a thumb injury and led the league in interceptions, he still earned the respect of his peers to be a Top 100 player. Dallas’ leader took his team to the playoffs for the fourth time in his career and carried them to their first road playoff win in over 30 years.
#Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was named No. 56 on #NFLTop100— Brandon Loree (@Brandoniswrite) July 28, 2023
Despite missing games five games due to injury, he still became Walter Payton Man of the Year and “out performed @TomBrady in the Wild Card game.”
A true leader and a true gamer
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Even more impressive was being awarded the 2022 Walter Payton Man of the Year for all his work off the field. Prescott dedicated an immense amount of time to the community of Dallas and was well deserving of the honor.
No. 55: Tony Pollard, RB
Running back Tony Pollard made the list for the first time in his career. Pollard has always shown the talent to be one of the NFL’s top backs but took advantage of his opportunities having a career year in carries, yards, and touchdowns.
With Ezekiel Elliott no longer in Dallas, Pollard will take over as the Cowboys’ lead back. Even though Mike McCarthy will be cautious with his offseason workload, Pollard did not end up on the PUP list to start camp and has participated in almost every workout so far in training camp. The Pro Bowl back feels stronger and faster than ever, even after suffering an injury at the end of the season. Playing under the franchise tag for 2023, Pollard could be in line for a massive payday if he finally hits the ceiling many fans believe he could reach.
No. 34: CeeDee Lamb, WR
After the Cowboys traded away Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns for a fifth-round pick, CeeDee Lamb was the heir to becoming the “dude” in Dallas. When he donned the legacy of No. 88, it came with an expectation to be great. In 2022, Lamb proved he could be among the best in the league. Lamb had career numbers in targets, receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. The Pro Bowl receiver was eighth in the NFL at his position in average yards per game with 79.9. That was more than Jaylen Waddle, Travis Kelce, Keenan Allen, and D.K. Metcalf.
There will be less pressure on Lamb to be the No. 1 target every week with Brandin Cooks in the fold and a healthy Michael Gallup. McCarthy can deploy Lamb in various ways to keep developing him as a dangerous player for Dallas’ offense. 2023 could be a first-team All-Pro season for Lamb.
No. 9: Micah Parsons, DE/LB
Growing up, watching DeMarcus Ware was the closest thing to witnessing a generational player line up for the Cowboys. Numerous stories have been told about the player Lawrence Taylor was in his day, but I’ve always wanted to see and appreciate the greatness like so many New York Giants fans had with LT.
Then a player like Micah Parsons came along, and the dreams became a reality. Like a few other Cowboys on this list, there’s nothing to add here that has not already been said about Parsons and his impact on Dallas and the NFL in two short years.
Cowboys stud DE Micah Parsons comes in at No. 9 in this year’s Top 100 NFL Players for 2023…— Kevin Gray Jr. (@KevinGraySports) August 8, 2023
The 2X First-Team All-Pro moves up seven spots No. 16 in 2022 to No. 9 this season, an absolute game wrecker! #DallasCowboys
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The versatility he brings to Dan Quinn’s defense is something unseen before, especially with his size and speed. Wanting to play full-time defensive end this season, Parsons decided to gain a few pounds to be at his peak for an entire year.
The two-time All-Pro and Defensive Player of the Year runner-up has 26.5 sacks across two seasons. In 2023, Parsons needs 13 sacks to become the second player since 1982 to reach the mark in each of his first three NFL seasons, joining Reggie White. If he accomplishes that, there’s a chance he’ll be higher on this list at the end of next season.