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Putting the Dak Prescott VS Carson Wentz Debate to Rest

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Dak Prescott, Eagles

Nothing better than a little mid-summer smack talk between fans of two of the biggest rivals in football. Carson Wentz or Dak Prescott: Who is better? Who will be more successful? With both guys entering just their second year in the league it's unfair to give either one of them the title quite yet.

Cowboys en Español: Dak Prescott #14 Según los Jugadores, ¿Realmente Lo Es?But one thing's certain, Dak Prescott was light years ahead of Carson Wentz last year when evaluating both quarterbacks.

When comparing both player's stats, Dak Prescott leads in almost every category.

Dak Prescott

Record: 13-3
Yards: 3,667
Touchdowns: 23
Rushing Touchdowns: 6
Interceptions: 4
Fumbles: 9
Total Passing Attempts: 459
Average Passing Attempts Per Game: 28.7
Yards Per Attempt: 8.0
Completion Percentage: 67.8%
Interceptions Percentage: 0.9%
Yards Per Game: 229.2
20 + Yard Completions: 38
40 + Yard Completions: 8
Quarterback Rating: 104.9

Carson Wentz, Eagles

Carson Wentz

Record: 7-9
Yards: 3,782
Touchdowns: 16
Rushing Touchdowns: 2
Interceptions: 14
Fumbles: 14
Passing Attempts: 607
Average Passing Attempts Per Game: 37.4
Yards Per Attempt: 6.2
Completion Percentage: 62.4%
Interceptions Percentage: 2.3%
Yards Per Game: 236.4
20 + Yard Completions: 39
40 + Yard Completions: 6
Quarterback Rating: 79.3

When comparing the two, you'll notice that Dak Prescott won more games, threw for more touchdowns, a higher completion percentage, less interceptions, a lower interception percentage, a higher yards per attempt percentage, more 40+ yard completions, and a much higher quarterback rating.

What did Carson Wentz lead in?

Wentz did throw for more yards on the season, 115 more to be exact, on 148 more passing attempts than Prescott... Take that for what it's worth. Wentz also had more attempts per game, more yards per game (seven more yards than Dak), and just one more 20+ yard completion.

So when we look at the two players, statistically it isn't even close to who was the better quarterback between the two last year.

But comparing stats is a very lazy way to evaluate players. The truth is in the film as well, and while I'd love to sit down with everyone and break down the entirety of both player's seasons, but that simply can't be done.

What I can do, that is the next best thing in my mind is compare the two quarterback's games against teams both teams played.

The Star News - Cowboys Aat Browns

Wentz VS Cleveland Browns

The Eagles won their first game of the season against the 1-15 Cleveland Browns 29-10.

Wentz had a very solid rookie debut going 22 of 37 for 278 yards and two touchdowns. Wentz had a 59.5 completion percentage and had a 101.0 QBR.

Prescott VS Cleveland Browns

Prescott also defeated the Browns in week nine, defeating them 35-10. Prescott was great in this game playing in enemy territory. He finished the day 21 of 27, 247 yards and three touchdowns.

Prescott had a 77.8 completion percentage and a WHOPPING 141.8 QBR.

Ezekiel Elliott, Bears

Dallas Cowboys Running Back Ezekiel Elliott #21 (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

Wentz VS Chicago Bears

Wentz backed up his impressive rookie debut with another good performance against the Chicago Bears.

The Eagles won 29-14 playing in Chicago and Carson completed 21 of his 34 passes for 190 yards and one touchdown. He completed 61.8% of his passes and had a QBR of 86.6.

Prescott VS Chicago Bears

Prescott again played great against the Chicago Bears in week three, going 19 of 24 for 248 yards, one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown. Dak had a great completion percentage at 79.2% and a 123.6 QBR.

Cowboys Headlines - How The Steelers Give Cowboys Defense Their Biggest Test Yet

Wentz VS Pittsburgh Steelers

Three weeks in a row Wentz had impressive performances. This one was probably his best of the season.

Playing at home, Carson Wentz threw for 301 yards on 23 completions and tossed a pair of touchdowns to defeat the Steelers, 34-3. He ended the night with a 74.2 completion percentage and a 125.9 QBR.

Prescott VS Pittsburgh Steelers

Unlike the Eagles, the Cowboys had to play the reigning AFC North Champions on their own turf. Prescott still didn't bat an eye and went out and won the game 35-30.

Dak finished the day 22 for 32, throwing for 319 yards and two touchdowns. Both rookies played tremendous games against the Steelers.

Theo Riddick, Eagles, Lions

Leon Halip / Getty Images

Wentz VS Detroit Lions

Wentz was handed his first loss in an away game against the Lions, losing 23-24. He still didn't have a bad day at the office, going 25 for 33 (75.8%) for 238 yards and two touchdowns.

Wentz threw a big interceptions (his first of the year) on the final drive of the game that would hand the team its first loss of the season.

This is where things started going downhill for Carson Wentz.

Prescott VS Detroit Lions

One of Prescott's most impressive games of the season came in week 16 at home against the Lions.

The Cowboys won the game 42-21 in one of Dak's and the team's most dominant performances of the 2016 season. Dak finished the night 15 of 20 for 212 yards and three touchdowns. Prescott was just about perfect that night, completing 75.0% of his passes and raking up a season high 148.3 QBR.

Demarcus Lawrence, Vikings

Wentz VS Minnesota Vikings

One of Carson Wentz's worst performances of the 2016 season came against the Minnesota Vikings, though it didn't result in a loss for the Eagles.

He finished the game throwing 16 completions on 28 attempts (57.1) for only 138 yards and one touchdown, while throwing a pair of interceptions.

Wentz also fumbled three times in this game and had a rough quarterback rating of 52.4. Minnesota's defense was very stout the first few months of the season and definitely gave the rookie a lot of problems.

Prescott VS Minnesota Vikings

Like Wentz, Prescott wasn't himself that Thursday night in Minnesota. Prescott did manage the game well and was able to finish the game with the win. Dak threw only 18 passes all night, completing 12 of them (66.7%).

On those 12 completions, Prescott threw for 139 yards and one touchdown. Prescott used his legs more in this game, rushing six times for 37 yards. Prescott also had the fumble bug in this game, putting two on the ground.

Dak Prescott, Packers

Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 (Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports)

Wentz VS Green Bay Packers

The Eagles and Cowboys had two totally different outcomes in their regular season matchups against the Green Bay Packers.

Wentz struggled again in this game against the mediocre defense of the Green Bay Packers. Wentz went 24 for 36 (66.7%), throwing for 254 yards and no touchdowns. Wentz did have a rushing touchdown on four attempts for 33 yards.

The Eagles lost this game, 27-13, and any chance of making the playoffs.

Prescott VS Green Bay Packers

Another game that went the opposite direction for the Dak Prescott-led Cowboys. Dallas won the game 30-16 in the tough conditions at Lambeau Field thanks to the rookie quarterback himself and some help from the defense.

Prescott finished the day with a 66.7 completion percentage, completing 18 passes on 27 attempts and tossing three touchdowns in the victory. Prescott did throw his first interception of the season against the Packers, but that had little effect on the game.

The Star News - Tweet Break: Young Cowboys Dominant in Statement Win over Bengals

Wentz VS Cincinnati Bengals

The wheels finally fell off of the Wentz wagon in week 13 when the struggling Cincinnati Bengals crushed the visiting Eagles 32-14. Wentz was asked to do a lot in this game and was obviously not up to the challenge.

Wentz finished the game 36 of 60 for 308 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. Both his completion percentage (60.0%) and his QBR (58.2) where one of the lowest of the entire year for the rookie.

Prescott VS Cincinnati Bengals

Dak Prescott walked all over the Cincinnati Bengals in their week five match up. The Cowboys won the game 28-14 while Dak had yet another solid day at the office. Prescott finished with 227 yards on 18 completions and had an impressive completion percentage (75.0%) and QBR (117.9).

Dak Prescott, Ravens, Gavin Escobar

Wentz VS Baltimore Ravens

Wentz was handed his fifth consecutive loss in week 15 against the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens won a close game, 27-26 and Wentz struggled yet again, going 22 for 42 (52.4%) and throwing his 14th interception on the season. This game was another one of his worst from a completion percentage and quarterback rating aspect.

Prescott VS Baltimore Ravens

This was a game the Cowboys' coaching staff put on Dak's shoulders and he responded perfectly. Dak went out and played one of his best games of the season after the Baltimore Ravens were focused on stopping the run.

Prescott threw for 301 yards on 27 completions and also tossed three touchdowns in the 27-17 victory. He had a 127.2 quarterback rating and another great completion percentage of 75.0%.

Fantasy Football - #DallasCowboys vs Philadelphia #Eagles #FantasyFootball Q&A with Zack Marmer 5

Wentz VS NFC East Opponents

I lumped all the NFC East games the two quarterbacks played into one section to save you some time. Carson Wentz went 2-4 in divisional games in 2016.

The Washington Redskins swept the Eagles in the two games they met in. Wentz went 11 of 22 for 179 yards and a 50.0 completion percentage when playing at FedEx Field. At home, Wentz was more on his game. He went 32-46 (69.6%) for 314 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.

Carson Wentz split the series against the New York Giants, losing on the road in week nine and winning at home in week sixteen. Wentz, again played much better at home than on the road, a common factor in his rookie season. In the road loss, Wentz completed 27 passes on 47 attempts for a completion percentage of 57.4% and a QBR of 64.5 and also threw two interceptions in the game.

At home Wentz wasn't great but did manage the game well, going 13 of 24 for 152 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Wentz was finally able to win a game after losing five straight.

Different team, same story. Wentz was able to win his home game against the Dallas Cowboys in week 17, but couldn't get the job done at AT&T in week 8. Throwing for 245 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles week seventeen win, Wentz was able to get the season finale win against mostly Cowboys backups.

While he couldn't get the job done on the road, Carson Wentz did play good against the Cowboys at AT&T stadium in week eight. Going 32 for 43 (74.3%) throwing for 202 yards and one touchdown, Wentz played a solid game against Dallas. But Dak Prescott is the one who came out on top finding Jason Witten wide open in the end zone to win it for the 2016 NFC East Champions.

Cowboys Headlines - Eagles Player Views Dak Prescott And Ezekiel Elliott As Top 3 NFL Players

Dak VS NFC East Opponents

Dak lost three of his games to NFC East opponents, sweeping the Washington Redskins, splitting the series with the Philadelphia Eagles, and getting swept by the New York Giants.

Dak was great in the series against the Washington Redskins. Combining for 487 yards, one passing touchdown, and two rushing touchdowns in his two meetings with the Redskins. Dak posted two 70.0%+ completion percentages and two 100+ quarterback rating against the Redskins in each of his matchups as well.

We have to say Prescott had a split series against the Philadelphia Eagles because he did start the week 17 matchup. In the final game of the season in Philly, Dak threw eight total passes before putting on his baseball hat and watching the rest of the meaningless game from the bench.

In the game that mattered, Dak may have made the play of his life in overtime in week eight. Dak struggled a lot in the first half of the game, but things started to heat up for the Cowboys' rookie quarterback in the second half. Prescott was almost perfect in the second half and was able to pull out the game-winning drive in overtime to win the game 29-23.

The only team that seemed to have Dak Prescott's number last year was the New York Giants, and rightfully so. The Giants spent loads of cap space in rebuilding their defense and it worked.

Pro Football Focus on Twitter

The Giants had Dak's number last year

Prescott was 25 of 45 for 227 yards in his first game against the Giants. Prescott played a decent game in week one against the Giants but fell short in his NFL debut. In their second meeting, it was a similar result for Prescott. 17 of 37 for 165 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, and posted his worst quarterback rating of the year (45.4).

Supporting Casts

The first argument we'll hear to defend Carson Wentz is he didn't have the offensive weapons that Dak Prescott had. While there is some truth to that, it wasn't all Prescott's supporting cast that led to his success and it wasn't Carson Wentz' supporting cast that led to his failures.

Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott both had great offensive lines in their rookie years. Both offensive lines are top five to top ten offensive lines in the NFL, so that argument gets cancelled out.

ProFootballFocus.com currently has the Philadelphia Eagles offensive line ranked number one heading into the 2017 season.

Where are the Dallas Cowboys?

With the departure of Ron Leary via free agency and the retirement of Doug Free, PFF is expecting the Cowboys OL to drop off quite a bit in 2017.

The running backs where the biggest difference between the Carson Wentz-led offense and the Dak Prescott-led offense.

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott Featured in 9th Annual ESPN Body Issue

It's no secret that Ezekiel Elliott was one of, if not the best running back in the NFL last year and that helped the team, but more importantly Dak Prescott out a lot.

Elliott finished the year with 1,631 yards on 322 carries (5.1 YPC) and scored 15 touchdowns. He also added 32 catches for 363 yards and a touchdown.

The Eagles didn't have a true bell-cow back last year and used more of a running back by committee style.

Ryan Mathews led the backs with 661 yards on 155 carries for a 4.3 yards per carry average and also had eight rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown. Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood also got their fair share of carries out of the backfield, combining for 750 yards on 171 carries and three rushing touchdowns between the two players. Darren Sproles had 427 yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns.

When you compare the names between the two teams: Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, and Jason Witten sounds like a much better lineup than: Jordan Mathews, Nelson Agholor, Dorial Green-Beckham, Zach Ertz, and Trey Burton, but their stats weren't as lopsided as you might think.

NFC East Outlook: Tight Ends

Philadelphia Eagles Tight End Zach Ertz #86 (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

The Cowboys' leading receiver in yards was Cole Beasley with 838, the Philadelphia Eagles' leader in receiving yards was Zach Ertz with 816.

Cole Beasley hauled in 5 touchdowns to match with his 838 yards, and Zach Ertz hauled in 4 touchdowns to match with his 816 yards.

Where there was difference between the two teams was the leaders in touchdowns.

Dez Bryant led the Cowboys in receiving touchdowns last year with eight, while Zach Ertz led the Eagles with his four. Where it balances out is in receiving yards. The Eagles had six different players with 300+ receiving yards in 2016, compared to the Cowboys' five.

Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Eagles

Also we seem to forget that Dez Bryant missed three games due to an injury that held him out of the San Francisco, Cincinnati, and Green Bay games.

Dak Prescott posted quarterback ratings of 114.7, 117.9, and 117.4 in the games his number one receiver missed in 2016.

In the two games that Zach Ertz missed in 2016, Carson Wentz also posted impressive quarterback ratings (86.6 and 125.9).

Closing Argument

When we take an overall look back at both Dak Prescott's and Carson Wentz' rookie seasons, there isn't much difference between the team's supporting casts. Philadelphia's defense had a lot more talent on the field than the Cowboys defense, along with a great offensive line to protect Carson Wentz.

What does separate the two supporting casts was the running game.

Ezekiel Elliott was huge for Dak Prescott's success, but Dak Prescott was a success story of his own. Dak Prescott's numbers were right up there with some of the NFL MVP candidates and deserve just as much credit as anyone else on the Cowboys roster or coaching staff.

It's still to be seen if Carson Wentz can have more success in his second year as the Eagles starting quarterback, but one thing's for certain: with all the new weapons he has (Alshon Jeffrey, Torrey Smith, Mack Hollins, LaGarrett Blount, and Donnell Pumphrey) there should be no more excuses for the former North Dakota State quarterback entering year two.

There's no way of saying who will have the better career between the two players, but right now there is no question who the better, more successful quarterback is, and Dak Prescott is the answer.



Born in 1995, loved Football but more importantly the Dallas Cowboys since day one. Living in Redskins Country flying the Blue and Silver flag as high as possible. Covering the Dallas Cowboys for InsideTheStar.com and CowboysNation.com. Catch me on twitter @ConnorNFLDraft!

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. TreFKennedy88

    July 11, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Good read

  2. John Williams

    John Williams

    July 12, 2017 at 2:41 am

    I was on your side before reading this thing and came away further convinced. Like you there will be a lot more evidence to evaluate in the future (thankfully football season is coming soon), but It’s obvious that Dak was better in 2016.

    He was just more efficient with his opportunities.

    I also like to compare Dak’s 2016 to Romo’s MVP calliber 2014. They nearly had the same stats, though Romo’s 34 total touchdowns beats Dak’s 29.

    Dak is a good one. Anyone who argues otherwise is ignorant. Wentz may still be a good one, that remains to be seen. He definitely has the talent to be good and will have a really good receiver group with Alshon Jeffrey, Jordan Matthews, and Torrey Smith and the tight ends and backs are decent as well.

    Everything is there for Wentz to have a good season. It’s up to him to do it.

    • ThePsychodad69

      July 18, 2017 at 3:32 pm

      My question is who did the all 22 hurt more Dak or Wentz, Wentz is maybe better than his backup, the last franchise QB.

  3. Eric Simon

    July 12, 2017 at 3:59 am

    I like the article, but there’s a nomenclature error: passer rating (maximum score of 158.3) is erroneously labeled as QBR (ESPN’s proprietary metric with a maximum score of 100.0).

    • ThePsychodad69

      July 18, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      Use NFL stats, nobody cares about ESPN stats, pretty sure the HOF uses NFL stats, ESPN stats are for ESPYs and fans

  4. Erik Oeser

    November 24, 2017 at 7:26 am

    haha how did this all work out………

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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Hablemos de los Coaches

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys en Español: Hablemos de los Coaches
Smiley N. Pool / The Dallas Morning News

Lamentablemente, la temporada 2018 de los Dallas Cowboys ha llegado a su fin. Lo hizo cuando el equipo visitó Los Angeles para intentar sorprender a los Rams en su propio campo en la Ronda Divisional de los playoffs. Ni siquiera con una invasión exitosa de la afición de Dallas pudieron ganarse un pase al Campeonato de Conferencia. En vez de eso, los Cowboys estarán viendo desde casa y la afición estará preguntándose: ¿qué sigue para los Dallas Cowboys?

Parece ya una tradición anual que no podemos dejar pasar. Este momento en el que comenzamos a cuestionar, una vez más, que entrenador es digno de quedarse en la franquicia y cual debe irse. En esta edición de "Cowboys en Español," hablaremos específicamente de los tres principales coaches en el equipo.

Cowboys DC Rod Marinelli Should Be On The Hot Seat

Coordinador Defensivo Rod Marinelli

El futuro del coordinador defensivo de los Dallas Cowboys no se puede tratar sin mencionar a Kris Richard. Fue la defensiva la que llevó al equipo hasta la postemporada y fue la unidad que cargó al equipo en muchas de sus victorias. Incluso con la llegada de Amari Cooper a Dallas, la defensiva fue siempre el pilar de la franquicia esta temporada.

Jaylon Smith y Leighton Vander Esch sorprendentemente se perfilaron como uno de los mejores duos de linebackers en toda la liga, la línea defensiva fue muy exitosa con Randy Gregory y DeMarcus Lawrence en los extremos y con la grata sorpresa que fue Antwaun Woods en el centro. La secundaria vio la mejor temporada en la controversial carrera de Byron Jones e hizo un excelente trabajo con un talento decente, pero no genial.

Todo esto, y el haber terminado como la sexta mejor defensiva en puntos permitidos (20.2) y la quinta mejor contra la corrida (94.6), hace a Rod Marinelli merecedor de una ronda de aplausos. Sin embargo, Richard probablemente merezca más aplausos.

Fue Richard quien revolucionó la defensiva de los Cowboys y la convirtió en un grupo mucho más agresivo. Fue él quien implementó jugadas de "blitz" en el equipo (algo no común con Marinelli) y quien en un punto de la temporada, comenzó a seleccionar las jugadas desde la banda.

En esta posición, me parece que los Dallas Cowboys tienen que enfrentar la dura decisión de decirle a Marinelli que es tiempo de dejarle el puesto a Kris Richard. Si bien no se llevó un trabajo de head coach, es muy probable que le llovieran ofertas a Richard si no se hace con el título de coordinador defensivo en Dallas.

Scott Linehan Acknowledges Need for New "Wrinkles" in Cowboys Offense

Dallas Cowboys OC Scott Linehan (Tim Heitman / USA TODAY Sports)

Coordinador Ofensivo Scott Linehan

Con un equipo tan polémico como este, la afición de Dallas no concuerda en muchas cosas. Sin embargo, lo hacen al hablar del pésimo trabajo que Scott Linehan ha realizado mandando las jugadas en ofensiva. Realmente ha sido doloroso de ver y es en mi opinión, el mayor problema que tiene el equipo actualmente.

Semana tras semana, fuimos testigos de pésimas decisiones en la ofensiva de los Cowboys. Vimos como el equipo se aferraba a llenar la caja de defensivos antes de correr el balón con Ezekiel Elliott. Vimos incontables pases pantalla en tercera oportunidad y largo. Pero no solo es lo que vimos, sino lo que no vimos.

A pesar de la innegable habilidad para correr el balón de Dak Prescott, Linehan se rehusó a explotar esta versatilidad de su QB. Vimos pocos "QB sneaks," jugada donde el mariscal toma el balón bajo centro y consigue poco yardage detrás del empuje de su línea ofensiva.

Siendo honestos, los Cowboys llevan dos años sufriendo por este coordinador. Dejarlo volver en el 2019 sería una decisión ridícula. Los comentarios en la radio de Jason Garrett no lucen prometedores, pero realmente sería una sorpresa que fueran ciertos. Linehan no debe volver... punto.

Jerry Jones Delivers Vote of Confidence in "Real Deal" Jason Garrett

Head Coach Jason Garrett

El futuro en esta posición será muy debatido durante los próximos meses, pero de los tres que hemos mencionado es sin lugar a dudas el más seguro de todos. Nos guste o no, Jason Garrett estará al frente del equipo la próxima temporada.

Garrett está lejos de ser un gran coach y aún le hace falta demostrar que puede cumplir las aspiraciones de los Cowboys de traer un sexto Trofeo Lombardi a casa. Pero siendo honesto, este equipo debería tener suficiente con Garrett y un par de buenos coordinadores. ¿El problema? No hay un par de buenos coordinadores en el equipo.

Sin embargo, Garrett ha demostrado que cuenta con el amor y apoyo de sus jugadores. Ha demostrado que efectivamente, puede ganar la división (lo ha hecho en tres de los últimos cinco años). Este año el equipo le dio la vuelta a la temporada después de comenzar 3-5.

Lo más preocupante en mi opinión, es la falta de urgencia para despedir a Linehan, por ejemplo. Quizá a puerta cerrada Garrett quiere un cambio en su staff, pero nunca lo sabremos.

Jason Garrett no es un coach excelente, pero podría ser suficiente para llevar a los Cowboys a un Super Bowl si tiene un equipo adecuado. Todo parece indicar que su trabajo está seguro (incluso más de lo que pensamos) así que es tiempo de esperar que se arreglen sus coordinadores.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Hablemos de los Coaches" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Star Blog

2018 Draft Class Season Review: LB Leighton Vander Esch

Kevin Brady

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Leighton Vander Esch Lands on List of NFL's Top 10 Rookies

As the first round draft pick of America's Team, any player would be under a ton of pressure from all angles. Whether it's from the fans on the outside or the organization on the inside, the expectations around being a first round pick for the Cowboys are immense. But the pressure placed upon linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, from the second he was announced as the 19th overall draft pick, was second to none.

It felt like Cowboys Nation let out a collective groan when Vander Esch was taken, with fans hoping for a more glamorous first round selection. Someone like wide receiver Calvin Ridley or edge rusher Harold Landry would've done the trick, but after Vander Esch's rookie season it's hard to imagine either of those players would have had the impact Vander Esch did in 2018.

Though he didn't start a game until week 4, and didn't become the unquestioned full-time starting WILL until week 10, Vander Esch earned Pro Bowl honors for his rookie season. Tallying 140 total tackles and 2 interceptions, Vander Esch made his presence felt week in and week out.

No counting stats can fully measure Leighton Vander Esch's impact as a rookie, however.

Prior to the 2018 season, the Cowboys defensive success often came down to the health of Sean Lee. When available and playing at his best, Lee led an overachieving Cowboys defense to solid performances each week. But, when Lee went out (as he often did), the entire Cowboys defense seemed to fall apart.5 Studs and Duds From the Dallas Cowboys 2018 Season

This year, though, that all changed. When Sean Lee was out with injury the Cowboys defense got better. Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith became a versatile, hard hitting tandem the NFL immediately feared, and helped to direct the Cowboys defense to signature wins throughout the 2018 season.

There are arguments against taking any off-ball linebacker in the first round, as the value of the position has been questioned due to the new style of offense in the NFL. Nowadays linebackers are relegated to two-down players, taken off the field in favor of faster defensive backs on critical passing downs.

Leighton Vander Esch is athletic enough to be both an old school run stopper, but also a three down linebacker in today's fast paced NFL.

Despite the doubts which surrounded the pick, the Cowboys absolutely nailed their first round selection in 2018. And Leighton Vander Esch made Dallas' front office look like geniuses each and every Sunday.



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Star Blog

What Is The Cowboys Most Pressing Offseason Need?

Kevin Brady

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Can we Believe General Manager Jerry Jones?

Finishing their season with a Division Round loss, Dallas Cowboys fans are getting a somewhat late start on the 2019 offseason. Of course, we'd much rather a later start, but the results are what they are.

Now Dallas must get better, and re-tool before heading into Dak Prescott's fourth season, and the Cowboys' 2019 campaign. Though they didn't feel all that close to a championship this season, looking around the roster, it's actually tough to identify one key need the Cowboys must address.

They are filled with young, talented players that they have high hopes for across the board. And in the places they are "older," such as across the offensive line, they have established veterans who aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

So what is the Cowboys' most pressing offseason need?

Well, despite already using their 2019 first round pick to address it, the answer very well might be wide receiver.

Adding Amari Cooper midseason provided a massive jolt to the Cowboys previously anemic passing attack, but on his own he is not enough to take this passing game to where it needs to be to compete in this new NFL.

Third round pick Michael Gallup is going to be a very good pro, and progressed really well as his rookie season went on. I think he can play opposite Amari Cooper nicely, and be the number two option in the passing game going forward.

Though arguably their best wide out against man coverage, Cole Beasley is a free agent, and if the reports are true about Scott Linehan returning in 2019 it could very well mean Beasley will not be opting to sign back with Dallas.

Regardless of Beasley's decision, however, the Cowboys need to seriously evaluate their pass catchers heading into next season.

This is a passing league. The rules have dictated that you must be able to pass the ball efficiently if you want to compete with the best of the best around the NFL. To take the next step in their progression, and reach an NFC title game and/or Super Bowl, Dak Prescott will need to have as explosive a group of pass catchers as possible.

The Cowboys have already taken solid steps to making this a reality, but another move or two this offseason could go a long way to putting Dallas in the conversation with teams like the Rams and the Saints in 2019.



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