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Where Have Cowboys Upgraded the Most This Offseason?

Brian Martin

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Where Have Cowboys Upgraded the Most This Offseason?

The Dallas Cowboys 2017 season didn't go as they had planned in large part due to unforeseen injuries to key players and unfortunate suspensions to others. These two things alone derailed what was supposed to be a big year for the Cowboys and would have an impact on their approach to the offseason.

Unfortunately, the Dallas Cowboys depth at several positions, or lack thereof, was exposed due to the two problem areas mentioned above. The organization definitely needed to make some changes if they wanted to become a better ball team in 2018, which is why the moves they made in both free agency and in the draft are so important.

It's a little too early to know exactly how these new faces will fit in, but I think the Dallas Cowboys did an excellent job of addressing some problem areas. With that in mind, I wanted to share with you exactly which positions I believed they upgraded the most this offseason.

Swing Tackle

Cameron Fleming

Dallas Cowboys OT Cameron Fleming

The Dallas Cowboys were dead set on upgrading the swing tackle position heading into the offseason and did just that by signing free agent Cameron Fleming. This could turn out to be the Cowboys most important move this offseason, especially with the concerns with Tyron Smith's ongoing back issues.

Tyron Smith has stated that his back is feeling better now than it has in years past, but the Cowboys now have a better insurance policy in place if worse comes to worse. Fleming can play on both the right or left side, something he did with the New England Patriots, which will please fans because I believe they have seen enough of Chaz Green.

Left Guard

Connor Williams

Dallas Cowboys LG Connor Williams

The left guard position was the weak link on the Cowboys offensive line last season and was in desperate need of upgrading. Dallas brought in free-agent Marcus Martin and re-signed Joe Looney to provide depth, but neither would probably be an upgrade.

Fortunately, the Dallas Cowboys ability to remain patient in the 2018 NFL Draft paid off in a big way in the second-round when Connor Williams fell right in the lap. Williams played left tackle at the University of Texas, but will be asked to kick inside to guard in the NFL. He will likely be the Cowboys LG in 2018, but also has the versatility to play LT as well.

Running Back

Rod Smith

Dallas Cowboys RB Rod Smith

The biggest upgrade to the Dallas Cowboys running back position is the fact Ezekiel Elliott has had an entire offseason without any problems or anything hanging over his head. He will be out to prove something in 2018 and I can't wait to see him run with a renewed energy, something that was lacking last season. Elliott of course will handle the majority of the workload, but the depth behind him looks to be much improved.

No offense to Alfred Morris, but Rod Smith clearly outperformed him last season, which is why he will be the RB2. Then, Bo Scarbrough provides another physical runner to the mix, but will likely earn his living on special teams to begin with. Don't forget about Tavon Austin's addition. He will become the change of pace/receiving RB and could really add some much-needed speed to the offense.

Wide Receiver

Michael Gallup

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)

The Dallas Cowboys were focused on improving the wide receiver position after they drastically underperformed in 2017. They've certainly done their due diligence in trying to upgrade the position by investing in a couple of free agents and draft picks, but from the outside looking in it doesn't look like enough.

Personally, I believe the passing game will be much better in 2018. I really have high hopes for Michael Gallup, the Cowboys third-round draft pick. I believe Gallup will end up being the best WR on the roster by the end of the season. I also think Allen Hurns can adequately replace Dez Bryant's production. All in all, it may not look like the Cowboys have done enough, but I think they have upgraded the WR position.

Cornerback

Byron Jones

Dallas Cowboys CB Byron Jones

The Dallas Cowboys didn't add any new cornerbacks through free agency or the draft, but I still believe the position upgraded. Not only will rookies Jourdan Lewis and Chidobe Awuzie be much more prepared in 2018, but Byron Jones' move to CB strengthens the position in my opinion.

A lot of fans have been down on Byron Jones since he was drafted in the first-round a few seasons ago, but I think he has been missed used during that time. I always thought Jones' best position was CB and I think he will prove that this year. And, when you have Anthony Brown, a former starter, as your fourth CB, your depth is pretty good.

Defensive End

Randy Gregory, Eagles

Dallas Cowboys DE Randy Gregory (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

DeMarcus Lawrence was a one-man wrecking crew in 2017 and I don't see any reason why he can't pick up where he left off in 2018. Fortunately, things could become much more easy for him this season due to the addition of Dorance Armstrong and a few reinforcements coming back from injuries and suspensions.

I really like what I've seen from Armstrong. He will be a good rotational piece as a rookie, but it's the return of Charles Tapper and Randy Gregory that could improve the pass rush the most. Both are talented players that have yet to live up to their abilities. And, that's not even mentioning Taco Charlton, who should be much improved after finishing his rookie season on a high note.

Where do you think the Dallas Cowboys upgraded the most?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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Tony Pollard is Just What the Doctor Ordered in Dallas

Matthew Lenix

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Tony Pollard is Just What the Doctor Ordered in Dallas

The Dallas Cowboys have what many believe to be the best running back in the NFL in Ezekiel Elliott. However, you can never undervalue the importance of depth at any position. When the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft came around, the Cowboys added another weapon to the backfield by selecting Tony Pollard out of Memphis.

If you’re looking for a dynamic player maker with the ability to take it to the house at any given moment, Pollard is your man. The former Tiger averaged a touchdown every 13 touches in college. That’s an absolutely insane statistic when you think about it. He also tied an NCAA record with seven kick returns for touchdowns. Long story short, he can get you six points at the blink of an eye.

The versatility in his game is outrageous and undoubtedly the reason why he was drafted. In addition to running for 941 yards on 6.8 yards per rush, he also had 104 receptions for 1,292 yards. New offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has to be salivating about the possibilities with his new toy. Having a running back that can not only carry the load as a runner but also line up at receiver keeps the defense honest. You never know what angle the offense is going to come from.

This has to be a sigh of relief for Ezekiel Elliott. Now, the Cowboys don’t have to overexert him and can bring Pollard in on third downs if need be. Not just to give Elliott a breather but to change the pace of the offensive attack. You can hand the ball off, throw it to him or run jet sweeps when he is on the field. This sets up a potential combo at running back that could be the leagues very best shortly.

Speed, quickness, and agility are all wrapped up in the Tony Pollard package. The Cowboys now have a running back that can line up at multiple positions if need be. Also, this prevents a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on the body of Ezekiel Elliott. This combination has all the potential to set the NFL on fire in 2019.



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CB Byron Jones Not Expected To Return Until Week 1 Against NYG

Kevin Brady

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Byron Jones

Coming off what was clearly the best season of his career thus far, Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones underwent surgery to hopefully fix a nagging hip injury.

While he earned both his first All Pro and Pro Bowl honors in 2018, his first season as a full-time cornerback, Jones still has a lot to prove in the upcoming season. Some still criticize him for his lack of interceptions, and there's no doubt his stellar play slowed down a bit towards the end of the year.

I'm willing to wager that the slight decline had a lot to do with his hip troubles, but nonetheless he must come up with his elite level play once again to earn himself a nice contract somewhere in 2020.

Oh, did I forget to mention it's also a contract year for Byron Jones? As it is for so many important Dallas Cowboys, it seems.

So when will Byron Jones be able to return to the Cowboys' lineup? Well, the initial date reportedly set by Jones and the team was late July, giving him a chance to practice and play a bit before the season opener in September. But, according to the Team Site this week, that date may be pushed back a bit, and we might not see Byron Jones until that season opening game against the Giants.

"As for Jones, all along the Cowboys have been targeting his return for the season opener, but hopefully at that. So, don’t expect to see much of Jones in training camp, and if so, certainly no more than individual and walk-through drills." - Mickey Spagnola

Ultimately, as long as Byron Jones is good to go when the regular season starts, that's all that matters, but the fear of rust when Jones returns is a real one.

It's tough to go from no live football straight to the meaningful games, but if anyone would be able to do it it would be the guy with the freakishly athletic traits. The guy who can get out of the bed in the morning and set athletic records at the Combine.

And, of course, that guy is Byron Jones.



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Dak Prescott: Calm Under Pressure

Matthew Lenix

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Dak Prescott: Calm Under Pressure

When the 2016 NFL Draft came around the Dallas Cowboys were in search of the heir apparent to Tony Romo. Unfortunately, coming off an injury-plagued 2015 season, Romo would find himself on the shelf again after suffering a broken bone in his back during a preseason game against the Seahawks. However, the Cowboys had an ace in the hole, in the form of Dak Prescott who they drafted in the fourth round.

The idea was the groom him for a few years before taking the keys to the car so to speak from Romo, but fate had another idea in mind. Prescott would be thrust into the starting lineup against one of the Cowboys most hated rivals to start the season, the New York Giants. Added to that, was the pressure of living up to Romo's stellar resume as the franchise's all-time leading passer. After struggling in a tough 20-19 loss, no surprise there for a rookie quarterback, Prescott began to take flight.

Over the next eleven games he wouldn't suffer a single loss as the Cowboys were sitting pretty at 11-1. What made this streak more impressive was the efficiency of Prescott. He threw 19 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions over that span. In the process, he set an NFL record for the most passing attempts to start a career without an interception with 176. This broke the previous record held by Tom Brady of 162. It didn't stop there, as he also set a rookie record for completion percentage (67.8), was named Offensive Rookie of the Year and was selected to the Pro Bowl.

The Cowboys would finish 13-3 and win the NFC East. With home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and the franchise only winning two postseason games in 21 years, Prescott was definitely under the microscope. After the offense struggled to produce points in the first half and fell behind 21-3, Prescott lead a furious comeback. Helping the team storm all the way back to tie the game at 28 and again at 31. He finished with 302 yards and 3 touchdowns in his first playoff start against future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers. Even though the team lost 34-31, Prescott proved how much of a gamer he was as he basically went yard for yard and point for point with one of the NFL's elite signal-callers. It was clear the Cowboys were in good hands going forward.

2017 started off well as the Cowboys were 5-3 and firmly on pace for another playoff run. Unfortunately, All-Pro Running Back Ezekiel Elliott lost his fierce battle with the NFL over domestic violence allegations, and Dak along with the offense struggled. After a 9-7 season and falling one game short of a Wild Card berth, the pressure on Prescott heading into the next season was immense.

Once 2018 came about Prescott had more pressure than ever with Elliott back for a full season. After a slow 3-4 start the Cowboys traded for Pro-Bowl Wide Receiver Amari Cooper, providing the team with it's first true number one receiver since Dez Bryant. Putting even more expectations on Prescott to turn things around, and boy did he ever.

He would complete 71.6% of his passes in the final eight games of the season, and the Cowboys won seven to finish 10-6. Now, with another division title under his belt, came a playoff matchup with Super Bowl-winning Quarterback Russell Wilson.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys were hanging on to a 17-14 lead. They faced a 3rd and 14 inside the redone with just over two minutes left. After dropping back a few steps, Prescott scrambled for 16 yards setting up a first and goal from the one-yard line. The team held on for a 24-22 victory but here's why that scramble was so important.

If the Cowboys don't convert that 3rd and long that would've set up a field goal attempt. Assuming it would have been successful, that would've only put them up 20-14. Giving Seattle a chance to more than likely win with a touchdown and an extra point or two-point conversion. Prescott essentially won the game with that 3rd down run. Proving once again there's no situation he can't handle.

He's set an NFL record for completion percentage in the first three years of a quarterbacks career at 66.1 percent. No quarterback has won more games than him since 2016 except Tom Brady. No one has more game-winning drives than him since he entered the league. His 13 primetime victories are tops in the NFL over the last three seasons. Simply put, Dak Prescott is a winner and doesn't fold under pressure, instead, he embraces it. There are no bigger lights in the NFL than the ones that shine in Dallas. With those lights come huge expectations and pressure, and it's clear this young man is made of the right stuff to handle it.



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