in

LikeLike LoveLove HahaHaha AngryAngry

3 Strongest Positions for Cowboys Ahead of 2022 Offseason

Every NFL comes with a list of highest and lowest priorities. For the 2022 , where do they already have assets under contract to lean on for the upcoming season? Where are they already strongest and able to do little, or even stand pat, so that they can focus cap space and draft picks elsewhere?

Earlier this week I did one of my favorite offseason rituals by constructing a possible roster using only the players Dallas currently has signed up for 2022. This is a great way to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the team before and the draft, helping to then project where the will likely focus their efforts in March, April, and beyond.

Based on the analysis in that article and other considerations, here are the three positions where I see Dallas having the most strength already before the 2022 offseason.

Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush
Cowboys QBs & (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

Quarterback

You can debate all day about Prescott’s elite status, contract, championship-worthiness, and other issues. And trust me, most of our readers and followers do.

However, you can’t deny that Dak and Cooper Rush give the Cowboys a solid starter and backup combination for 2022. Their presence allows Dallas to focus on improving on other parts of the team and not, like last year, having QB dominate much of the offseason talk.

Prescott has led the Cowboys to the three times in six years and put up some of the best numbers in the NFL during his career thus far. He has his own weaknesses, as most do, but he’s proven that he can be dynamic and even dominant when the rest of the is in synch.

Hopefully, the work that Dallas will assuredly be doing on the , plus replacing or retaining talent at WR and TE, will give Dak the tools and support he needs to get back to his best form.

With his strong showing last year in the road win over Minnesota, Cooper Rush finally gave us some real-game evidence of what he can do. Dallas has now trusted Cooper for several seasons to be the primary backup and the victory over the Vikings, forcing Rush to perform under pressure and in the clutch, finally gave him a real highlight on his NFL resume.

This isn’t to say Rush is the best QB2 in football. The Cowboys would certainly be justified by bringing in a more experienced veteran for competition. They already have a former 3rd-round pick in-house with , who hasn’t played much but should at least put a little heat on Cooper this offseason.

Again, these positions listed today aren’t ones where Dallas couldn’t possibly get better. But with only so many resources to utilize this offseason, these are spots where they could go into 2022 with current talent and not have any glaring holes or issues.

Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard
Cowboys RBs and

Running Back

Much like at quarterback, the RB position has a starter that not everyone is thrilled about coming out of a disappointing season. But Ezekiel Elliott is still one of the most productive backs in the NFL and his backup, Tony Pollard, may be the best RB2 in the game today.

Despite all the criticism heaped on him in 2021, Zeke still had a 1,000-yard season and 10 touchdowns. He only fumbled once, a huge improvement from his 2020 struggles. Of the 18 players who had at least 200 carries last year, Elliott’s 4.2 yards-per-attempt was right in the middle of the pack.

Last year we saw several instances where Zeke’s elite pass-blocking skills also came into play. With the offensive line having a rough season overall, Elliott was stonewalling pass rushers and helping keep Dak Prescott safe in ways few other running backs can.

Yes, Elliott has a contract and cap hit that makes many cringe. But since trading or releasing him won’t do the Cowboys any good this year when it comes to cap relief, all we can do is appreciate Zeke’s many strengths and accept that he’ll be back for at least one more year.

The key for Dallas in 2022 is finding the right mix of touches between their two great rushers. Tony Pollard is a play-maker with dynamic potential anytime he has the ball. It’s time for the Cowboys to get him more opportunities through a more creative offensive approach.

Even the RB3 spot could be solid next year if comes back strong from his 2021 hip . A standout on in 2020 and showing offensive potential as well, Dowdle would’ve easily been the third back last year if not getting hurt late in the .

Dowdle’s injury led to Corey Clement being signed and we saw some nice things from him last year. He’s a again in 2022 but wouldn’t be a bad choice to re-sign as competition and insurance for Dowdle’s return.

Dallas Cowboys 2021 Awards for Season Midpoint
Dallas Cowboys CB

Cornerback

There’s only one spot on you can argue is strong right now based on currently-signed talent. Even if the Cowboys make no additional moves at CB this offseason, last year’s group would give them a solid core and even depth for the upcoming campaign.

Obviously, there’s Trevon Diggs, the human interception machine, and a clear starting spot filled for next year. Plus you have under contract for now and, despite a couple of bad games, his overall play in 2021 graded well and validated him as a capable starter.

Granted, Brown will likely be a cap casualty in 2022. Dallas can save $5 million of his $6.5 million cap hit and have bigger concerns at other positions. But part of why they can afford to let Anthony go is having other in-house options already signed.

Assuming Brown is released, and would finish out the top-three at cornerback. We didn’t see much of Joseph, a 2nd-Round in 2021, due to a preseason injury but he flashed some great potential in limited late-season play. And Lewis quietly contributed three interceptions, a forced fumble, and some big tackles during a season where everyone got overshadowed by Trevon Diggs and .

If Dallas winds up keeping Anthony Brown then they will be especially deep at corner. But even if he’s gone, they will still have acceptable options for the primary roles and some intriguing depth to work within and Reggie Robinson.

The Cowboys will likely bring in some other mid-range veterans or even a Day 2 draft pick to bolster the position further. But in terms of the top three spots, all basically starting roles in the modern NFL, Dallas can feel way better about what they have to work with today than any other position on defense.

What do you think?

Jess Haynie

Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

Leave a Reply

Avatar

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

12 Comments

  1. Elliot WAS the best running back in the league. He was awesome his first three seasons, no doubt. Unfortunately, he is no longer that guy, and now with him getting nicked up, things most likely will not get better with him, and if the current EE is his ceiling, then IMO, time to augment the position, especially with TP on his final contract year. BTW, getting 1000 yards in 17 games just isn’t the same feat it was when the season was 12, or 14, or even 16 games. Consequently, not sure this position is a particularly strong one as it stands now.

    As far as the QB position, maybe for the NFC East division, yes, it would be considered a strong position, but only by default, because of the lower talent level of the other QBs in that division. This is the advantage DP and the Cowboys have, being in the league’s weakest division, and able to get to the playoffs fairly easily. In spite of the glossy stats, and when looking at the QBR rating, DP is probably not a top ten QB. And if the second half of last year is an indication of his play moving forward, he is not top ten. Rush is still unproven, and one regular season win vs MN, does not necessarily reassure. Would not mind seeing more of Grier. Despite the long-term contract, if the right promising QB were available at the draft, they should jump on it.

    Cornerback position maybe one of the stronger positions because of the depth and, IF, they can continue getting TOs at the same clip, which would be difficult. I also think the WR position could be considered a stronger one.

  2. Have to respectfully disagree on the QB position! Our starting QB is a little above average at this point and our back up in my opinion cannot lead this team through a season of Dak goes down! It’s just that sample!

  3. I don’t believe the RB position is a current strength. It’s been largely ineffective, except for in spurts. The personnel have been mismanaged. The ground game itself isn’t supporting the offense. There is zero depth beyond the top-2, and of those top-2 they’ve shown zero willingness to invest into Pollard. Zeke’s contract buys him one more year, Pollard will be on his final year. It’s not a reach to suggest that going into the 2023 Draft, this team doesn’t have a starting RB on the roster. Pollard will not be back … why on earth would he want to resign here?!

  4. Ideally positions of strength ( as is with any team) should be OL/DL and QB. If these three positions are strong it can compensate for other areas.

    The DL came on at the end of the year when players returned from injury. BUT they were manhandled against the 49ers and STILL can’t stop the run.

    The OL started the season strong, but regressed badly. Couldn’t open holes for the running game and had Dak on skates most of the year.

    Dak like the OL started off strong and faded down the stretch. He isn’t in the tier of the elite QBs but is still arguably in the 7-10 range. He can’t carry a team, so this OL needs to get fixed and the Jerry has to let Pollard be the lead back, as Zeke is a shell of his former self. DL/OL need to be the top priority in free agency and the draft.

    • I believe Jess was going by position groups this time.

      LB is a lot of question marks behind Parsons. Will Jabril Cox recover fully and be effective, since he didn’t get a lot of snaps on D last season before tearing up his knee? Pretty much every other LB is a FA of some type. Will any of them return? If so, will it be the OK ones like Vander Esch and Neal, or the relatively unproven ones like Bernard and Gifford?

      OG (and OT) are highly questionable outside of Martin. And even Martin, at 31, is becoming more of a question as he’s been getting dinged up more and more of late. He’s still performing at an elite level, but for how much longer? Would La’el accept a move to LG to shore up that spot? Can McGovern or Farniok step up to replace a likely departing Williams? McGovern struggled so bad he was benched again. Farniok looked serviceable in limited snaps late in a win, but will he be ready to be an improvement over Williams? As for OT, Steele has shown he can be a very effective RT when he isn’t being bounced back and forth between the left side and the right side. But, Tyron is fading fast, and we know next to nothing about Ball. Alarcon was bad enough at OT that they were already moving him inside during preseason.

      CeeDee, and Cooper, are bright spots at WR. However, with it still up in the air if Gallup (unlikely), Wilson (50/50), Noah Brown (quite possible), or Turner (very possible) will return, it’s hard to call the position one of the strongest on the team. Sure, Fehoko and Vasher have some traits that are very appealing. But, neither have shown it in a regular season game. Fehoko was pretty much benched in favor of Turner for the #5 receiver spot.

      IMO, it’s a sad testament to the state of this team when very uneven play by our starting QB and RB is still enough to earn them two of the three strongest positions groups. I don’t disagree with Jess’s selection and reasoning. I just disagree with how the FO is managing this team.

    • Lamb, Martin, and Parsons are great players but the stories at their positions are bigger than just then. Who’s your other staring guard? Who’s left at linebacker right now besides Micah? They can’t do it alone.

  5. Cornerbacks among the worst in yards allowed, yards per target and after the catch. Diggs will likely never have another year of interceptions like that again but should improve in his coverage skills but not so with Brown who has hit his ceiling. Need help there.

Auto Draft 39

Commenting Errors Resolved

Cowboys Address Beef Up Their Trenches In 3 Round Mock

Cowboys Beef Up Their Trenches In 3-Round Mock