With each season that passes, old records fall by the wayside as players embark on the adventure of etching their name into the Dallas Cowboys record books. As the NFL has evolved into a passing league, a lot of the records from the early days through the 90s dynasty are falling by the wayside.
In 2019, five Dallas Cowboys will have the opportunity to reach new heights with their work on the field.
1. Dak Prescott
Dak Prescott has done a lot in his first three seasons in the NFL. Among players with at least 1,000 pass attempts in their first three seasons only Dan Marino and Russell Wilson have a better passer rating than Prescott’s career rating of 96. He already owns the highest career completion percentage of any of the Dallas Cowboys franchise quarterbacks in team history.
In just a short time, he’s ascended the Dallas Cowboys record books and finds himself on the verge of joining some historic names in Dallas Cowboys lore.
With just 14 more touchdown passes, Dak Prescott will pass Craig Morton for sixth on the Dallas Cowboys all-time leaderboard. Prescott has averaged just over 22 passing touchdowns per game through his career, so getting that 14 should be a piece of cake.
Prescott has a long way to go to break into the top five among the Dallas Cowboys all-time touchdown leaders as Don Meredith sits in fifth place with 135 touchdowns. I’d imagine that Dak will break into the top five sometime in 2021.
Prescott’s ability to run the football has been one of the attributes that has made him so good in his three years in the NFL. He’s averaged six rushing touchdowns per season and with three more will pass Roger Staubach for first all-time in rushing touchdowns amongst quarterbacks and 13th overall regardless of position.
2. DeMarcus Lawrence
It may have taken a few years for him to get healthy and reach the potential that the Dallas Cowboys expected when they drafted him in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, but he’s now on a really nice trajectory. Despite what any top 100 lists have to say, Lawrence is one of the very best edge defenders in the NFL.
He’s done enough in the last two years that he’ll soon be joining some of the iconic Dallas Cowboys defensive linemen.
With DeMarcus Lawrence’s next sack, he’ll pass Hall of Fame Defensive End Charles Haley for sole possession of seventh place in sacks for the Dallas Cowboys. Haley did a lot of damage with the San Francisco 49ers before joining the Cowboys midway through his career, but Lawrence has only really had three productive seasons for the Cowboys. So to be at that spot despite missing a year due to injury, is pretty impressive.
DeMarcus Lawrence has a strong chance to continue to climb this list, though it will likely take him two to three more seasons to pass the likes of Randy White (52), Ed “Too Tall” Jones (57.5), and Tony Tolbert (59).
Tackles for Loss
In order to pass Anthony Spencer for fourth all-time among Dallas Cowboys in tackles for loss, DeMarcus Lawrence needs just six tackles for loss. Depending on the health of Sean Lee in 2019, Lawrence has an opportunity to pass Lee in this same category for third on the Dallas Cowboys all-time list.
*Now tackles for loss and sacks (1982) haven’t always been kept as official statistics. So some of those elite players that the Dallas Cowboys had during the “Doomsday Defense” years won’t have as many recorded as they possibly could.
3. Byron Jones
Byron Jones needs just eight more pass deflections to move into the top five on the Dallas Cowboys all-time list. Through his first four sessions in the NFL, Jones has averaged 8.25 pass deflections per season. If he hits his career average, he’ll pass Brandon Carr (44) for fifth on the Cowboys all-time list.
4. Jason Witten
Jason Witten holds every Dallas Cowboys receiving record except for receiving touchdowns, which is held by Dez Bryant(63). All Jason Witten needs is just six more receiving touchdowns to pass Bryant for first all-time on the Dallas Cowboys receiving touchdowns list.
Witten hasn’t had more than five touchdowns in a season since he had eight back in 2013. Over his last four seasons, he’s averaged four touchdowns a year. In 2017, his last season before retiring, Witten had five touchdowns.
It’s not outside the realm of possibility that Witten could get the six touchdowns he needs to pass Bryant on the Dallas Cowboys all-time list, but he’ll need to have a better than average year to make that happen.
5. Ezekiel Elliott
Elliott has averaged 1,349 rushing yards per season through his first three years in the NFL. He currently sits eighth all-time among Dallas Cowboys rushing leaders, just behind Marion Barber who is in seventh place.
The Dallas Cowboys starting running back can get as high fourth place on the Cowboys all-time list. In order to get to that point, Elliott needs just 962 rushing yards to pass Calvin Hill for fourth place on the all-time list.
Of course, a lengthy hold out could hurt Elliott’s chances to climb the ranks of Dallas Cowboys rushers. However, even if he misses a couple of games, Elliott should be able to rush for the total needed to climb the list.
When Elliott missed six games in 2017, he rushed for 983 yards and averages 101.2 rushing yards per game for his career through 40 games.
When a deal gets done, it will lock Elliott up for the final two years of his rookie deal and probably three to four more years on top of that. If he averages 1,000 yards a season for the next four to five years, he’ll end up as third on the Dallas Cowboys all-time rushing yardage list. If he continues to maintain his career average for the life of his contract extension, the Dallas Cowboys will have another 10,000-yard rusher, joining Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett.
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It could be quite a year for some of the elite players for the Dallas Cowboys. Though individual success isn’t as important as team success, if these players have the seasons that they’ve shown capable of, then the Dallas Cowboys will have a lot of success as a team as well. This is the deepest and most talented team they’ve had during the Jason Garrett era. On paper they should have a chance to win every game on their schedule. With a little luck (on both the injury and in games), the Cowboys will be making a deep run in January on their way to their sixth Lombardi trophy.