The Cowboys had a disastrous 2015 which they ended with the score 4-12, but last year they bounced back and ended the season with 13-3. This marvelous change in a year happened unexpectedly and thanks to Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott, while the entire team finished 5th in offensive yards. Jason Garrett managed to save his job, and he returns for a seventh season with the 58-46 record and only two playoff appearances.
The offensive coordinator will be Scott Linehan, who over the course of three years as a head coach had an 11-25 record with the Rams. The defensive coordinator position will belong to Ron Marinelli whose defense have been about league average, but it’s going for the better.
The Cowboys lost some important pieces during the offseason, and those include guys like CB Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne and S Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox. We can say that Carr had an average season, whereas Church and Claiborne played at a high level, unlike Wilcox who had small roles coming off the bench. However, the Cowboys added CB Nolan Carrol, who is definitely a downgrade and S Robert Blanton who was good in 2014 with the Vikings, but ever since that his game has faded.
Furthermore, Dallas lost DT Terrell McCain, DE Jack Crawford, and DE Ryan Davis, whereas, on offense, T Ronald Leary left the team. The squad also moved on from RB Lance Dunbar, QB Mark Sanchez, and TE Gavin Escobar, while the biggest star – quarterback Tony Romo retired. T Byron Bell missed the entire season with an ankle injury, and he returned as the team hopes to rekindle Damontre Moore who has struggled with injuries in the previous three years.
This franchise had to fill those defensive spots, so they entered the draft with defense in mind. That is why they picked CB Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, Marquez White and S Xavier Woods. Awuzie will definitely fit perfectly with his ability to move and handle WRs in the short areas. However, he can get in trouble in run supports and deep one-on-one coverages, but he focuses on doing his job instead of making huge impact plays on the ball.
Meanwhile, Lewis is undersized but quick. He is good in press coverage against second tier WRs, but he needs to hold to maintain the advantage. On the other hand, Woods plays deep in coverage and his game is most valuable there. He needs to improve his tackling skills and change of direction abilities. White’s strength is working off the line of scrimmage facing the QB while he lacks playmaking ability and this guy is short on speed and change of direction.
DE Taco Charlton was added in the first round, and his talent is expected to develop, while he is definitely physically ready. WR Ryan Switzer was a fourth-round pick, and he lacks size, but he is quick and has to improve in so many areas. However, Dallas signed him in case something happens to Cole Beasley. In addition, the Cowboys drafted DT Joey Ivie, WR Noah Brown and DT Jordan Carrell in the seventh round. Each of these players has potential to stay in the league and be good.
Dallas has perhaps the best O-line in the league, and they finished second in rushing yards (2,396) and second most rushing TDs (24). Who is a part of the offensive line?
LT Tyron Smith has been a good anchor ever since he was drafted in 2011. In 2014, the team gave him a massive $109 million contract for eight seasons, and last season he played great but unfortunately missed three games with a knee and back injury.
LG Nate Theaker arrived in Texas this season as an undrafted free agent, and this position is well below league average in Dallas, but there is a great potential in Nate.
C Travis Frederick is a tremendous player selected in the second round of 2013 NFL Draft. He has been the best C in the league in the last two years.
RG Zach Martin is great in pass protection and run game. He has an edge in all areas, and he was drafted 16th overall in 2014.
RT La’el Collins used to play left guard but, unfortunately, his season ended with a toe injury. Cowboys signed him in 2015 as an undrafted free agent, and at the beginning of his career he was expected to be the top player, but just before the draft, they linked him to his ex-girlfriend’s death which made everyone pick someone else.
Dak Prescott is one of the main reasons the Cowboys had an amazing season. He had a completion rate of 67.8 and finished with 3,667 passing yards with 23 TDs and just four interceptions. Unlike Romo, Prescott can run meaning that other teams need to keep this in mind. Over the last five starts of the season, he had fewer than 200 yards passing in three games plus four games with one passing TD or less.
Just like Prescott, Elliott had a dominant season as he led the league in rushing attempts (322) and rushing yards (1,631) while playing in 15 games. He ran over 100 yards in seven games last year and averaged 23.6 touches per game. He had a slower start, but in his last 11 games, he had 26 catches for 319 yards and a TD on 33 targets.
McFadden missed 13 games, but he had 27 touches for 104 yards and three catches over the last three games of the year with minimal snaps. In 2015, McFadden played his best season, but unfortunately, Zeke was too good, and he will only get a chance if Elliott gets hurt.
This guy only had a pair of snipped TDs in Weeks two and three, but other than that, nothing. He finished the season with 69 rushes for 243 yards and two TDs, and he averaged 3.5 yards per carry.
Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott stole the show last season, causing Bryant to have a frustrating time. Dez had ups and downs in his first three games after which he went down with an injury and missed three games. Over his next nine matches, Bryant earned the total of 20.1 Fantasy points per game, but that dropped to 16.2 after the two short games. In 2017, Bryant will be overlooked by many owners because of his injuries and his ups and downs. However, people will still pick him.
Cole Beasley proved that he can play and he caught 75 of his 98 targets resulting in 833 yards and five TDs. In eight games, Beasley had five catches or more, but he didn’t score in his last six games, which caused his value to drop. He can be an interesting pick, despite the injury he suffered in the spring.
Dez Bryant was out for a huge part of the season, but Williams had a chance and failed to show himself off. He finished with a 50 percent drop in opportunity but his catch rate improved to 72.1. He averages 15.8 yards per catch, but he needs to do a much better job of getting open.
In North Carolina, he caught 243 passes for 2903 yards and 19 TDs. He is quick, but not strong enough, and that is the area he needs to improve. In the upcoming season, Switzer will be a substitute for Cole Beasley.
Witten has had a good career with 69 passes caught for 673 yards and three TDs on 95 targets. Interestingly enough, Jason hasn’t missed a game since 2003, and even though he is 35, the Cowboys offered him a four-year contract extension. His game has faded away, but he is still a steady player with a great track record.
Dan is one of the best in NFL with made 89.5 percent of his career chances with 24/35 from 50 yards or longer. Moreover, he has never missed an extra point in his career even after the NFL moved the kicker line back, two years ago.