Pro Football Focus and ESPN released their NFL roster rankings for all 32 teams. Using projected starters, and PFF grades from the 2019 season, ESPN compiled a list of the most talented rosters heading into the 2020 season.
With a solid core of players in place, Dak Prescott signing his franchise tender and an notable group of incoming rookies, the Cowboys set themselves up to be one of the most talented units in football.
And the experts agreed.
Dallas’ projected roster ranks sixth among the field.
Biggest Strength: “Not too many quarterbacks have it better than Dak Prescott. The trio of wide receivers that Dallas plans to run out on the field in 2020 is arguably the best three-deep group in the NFL. Among the 104 wide receivers to run at least 250 routes in 2019, both Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup finished in the top 10 in receiving yards per route run. And now the Cowboys have the FBS leader in yards per route run last season – CeeDee Lamb – after selecting him in the first round of the draft.”
Biggest weakness: “Losing cornerback Byron Jones is going to hurt the Cowboys’ secondary. Rookie Trevon Diggs is a player PFF liked coming out of Alabama – someone who projects well in a press-heavy, zone scheme – but you can’t expect him to replace a top1- cornerback such as Jones as a rookie. Their cornerback depth becomes even thinner if Chidobe Aquzie transitions to safety as some chatter this offseason has suggested.”
X factor for 2020: “A neck injury took a large portion of last season from linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, but even when he was healthy, his play wasn’t at the same level as it was during his rookie season. A decline in play against the run was a major culprit. Vander Esch’s run-defense grade fell from 81.3 as a rookie to 42.3 in 2019, and he missed nearly as many tackles in 2019 (12) as he did in 2019 (13) on fewer than half of the opportunities. Following Vander Esch’s offseason surgery, the Cowboys will be hoping the player who looked like one of the NFL’s best linebackers as a rookie returns to the field.
Interestingly, they revealed the projected starters they expect to see on the field for week 1. After losing a great Wisconsin center in Travis Fredrick, PFF expects Dallas to replace one Badger with another in fourth-round lineman Tyler Biadasz.
Also, they expect Randy Gregory to get the start opposite of DeMarcus Lawrence and rookie Trevon Diggs to start on the other side of Chidobe Awuzie.
Dallas will see two of PFF’s top-five overall teams in the Baltimore Ravens (1) and the San Francisco 49ers (3).
The Philadelphia Eagles are ranked ninth, the New York Giants are ranked 27th, while the Washington Redskins are ranked 31st.
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