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Will Any Cowboys Compete for 2018 Awards & Pro Bowl Spots?

At this midseason point in the , you might be wondering how some of your are faring in the races for NFL awards and Pro Bowl spots. I thought we’d take a moment today to assess their positioning now and what some could do the rest of the way to improve it.

Before we get to the contenders, though, let’s just take a moment to eliminate some from the discussion. While there may still be half a season to go, some of these awards are clearly out of reach for our team.

For example, the awards for and Offensive and aren’t going to any in 2018. Even Ezekiel Elliott is trailing behind at his own position, and those offensive awards usually go to quarterbacks anyway.

On , we have a lot of solid performers but nobody who’s really standing out. hasn’t had the same high volume of this year, and he was probably our only shot at the DPOY award.

Two years after being the , is hardly in the running now. Some thought he might win the “First Coach Fired” award a few weeks ago, but the Browns settled that one earlier this week.

And unlike last season, when had a great case to be the , no Dallas players really have that story in 2018.

But enough with the negative.

Leighton Vander Esch
Dallas Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch

Defensive Rookie of the Year: LB Leighton Vander Esch

He isn’t the front-runner right now; that would be Colts LB . But Leighton is in the hunt for this award with his strong player so far in 2018.

Leonard had been more of a playmaker, adding four sacks and three forced fumbles to his high total of 88 tackles. He’s one of the best linebackers in the NFL right now, rookie or otherwise.

If Darius were to get injured or have some other drop in production, though, Leighton isn’t too far behind. He has 54 tackles currently and has been praised more than once for his presence in the middle of the field. He’s been able to fill in the shoes of surprisingly well.

But Lee is coming back now, and that may be a deterrent to LVE’s chances at the award. Less time on the field means less chances to make plays.

What’s more, Darius Leonard is far from the only competition. Safeties (Chargers) and Jessie Bates (Bengals), (Browns), and LB Tremaine Edmunds (Bills) are also putting up strong numbers in starting roles.

So no, Leighton isn’t probably getting this award. But at least he’s in the conversation, which is more than most Cowboys can say this year.

Ezekiel Elliott, Pro Bowl
Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

Pro Bowlers: Ezekiel Elliott, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin
DeMarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones, Brett Maher

Last year, only five Cowboys made it to the Pro Bowl. This season could be even less based on the current numbers.

Some guys have little to fear. Ezekiel Elliott should return this season, missing last year’s Pro Bowl only thanks to ’s shenanigans. Even though he’s almost 200 yards behind Todd Gurley in rushing, Zeke is still the second-highest in the and the league as a whole.

and will probably get their annual invites. Cowboys offensive linemen have always had an in Pro Bowl voting thanks to the size of the fanbase. But if the team really tanks the rest of the way, that could change.

Even though he’s not as hot as last year, DeMarcus Lawrence is still in the mix for the Pro Bowl. His 5.5 sacks this season is sixth-best among NFC players right now. There are generally six spots for defensive linemen on the team.

Even though he’s been great this year, will need some interceptions to get the votes among other cornerbacks. His reputation isn’t strong to make it without the stats, but if he gets some picks soon then he could be in the conversation.

Lastly, isn’t unreasonable to make it as the NFC . Along with the strength of the Cowboys voting for him, his 16-of-18 is a strong number thus far. Only (Packers) and Aldrick Rosas (Giants) have made more field goals in the conference.

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It shouldn’t be a surprise that a team with a 3-4 record isn’t looking too good right now for end-of-year accolades. And of course, we care way more about the wins and losses than any of these awards.

But as fans of the team, we always like to see our players’ names in lights. Hopefully, more Cowboys step up the rest of this season both for their own recognition and the good of the team.

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!

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