For the Cowboys, every year comes with the same tone of high expectations and intense pressure. This from both media and fans. This year is no different. However I think 2022 may be the most strenuous its been in a few years for numerous reasons. This year takes on a different tone. Coming from another disappointing first-round exit; multiple key guys getting contracts or due for contracts, makes it feel like there needs to be more of a sense of urgency. Training camp is just about two weeks away. I think it’s the perfect time to highlight who the top 5 most important Cowboys are heading in the season.
5. Zack Martin
Once a major strength, the Cowboys’ o-line comes into the season with a couple of serious question marks. They will likely be starting a rookie in first-round pick, Tyler Smith at LG, and Center Tyler Biadsz had a disappointing season last year, which puts his job security in question. And even tho Tyron Smith is still one of the top LTs, he can’t seem to stay on the field due to his injury issues.
The one constant on this Cowboys O-line is RG Zack Martin, and he will have to maintain his hall of fame level play to elevate the O-line. His play will be paramount to the Cowboys setting the tone in the trenches because the Cowboys love running behind Martin. The Cowboys’ offense will lean on Zack Martin, who must deliver for the offense to succeed.
4. Trevon Diggs
The expectation for Trevon Diggs this year is about as high as realistically possible. He’s probably one of the most polarizing players in the NFL because of his play, and he will have to improve on a few things to live up to the hype. Diggs will have to clean up some of his last year’s errors. He will have to stop giving up big plays while also providing the Cowboys with his ball-hawking ability.
The Cowboys led the NFL in takeaways, and Trevon Diggs’s league-leading 11 interceptions played a massive role in that. With an average pass rush and a heavy reliance on forcing turnovers, Trevon Diggs will have to be great for this Cowboys defense to be successful on the back end.
3. Ceedee Lamb
The Cowboys lost 113 receptions, 1,467 yards, and 14 TDs this offseason by trading Amari Cooper and opting not to resign Cedrick Wilson. They brought in James Washington and drafted Jalen Tolbert in the 3rd round, but that won’t be enough to replace what the team lost from those two individuals. Ceedee Lamb’s development heading into his 3rd year will be crucial for the Cowboys’ passing attack.
Lamb put up 79 catches, 1,102 yards, and 6 TDs last year, so it’s not like he didn’t see a large chunk of targets anyways. But now Lamb will be visiting the team’s number 1 corner every time, and his consistent contribution will be necessary instead of just another weapon labeled as luxury. If Lamb doesn’t clean up his drops and assert himself as a top 15 WR in the NFL, it will be hard for the Cowboys’ offense to be as dynamic as they need.
2. Micah Parsons
The most fitting way for Micah Parsons to follow up his spectacular rookie season is by placing himself in discussions for DPOY. Micah is more than capable of that, and the Cowboys will need it. My biggest concern about this defense this year is the lackluster pass rush. Demarcus Lawerence is still a good player, but his effectiveness as a pass rusher has dipped over the past few years.
Micah will be called upon to provide the Cowboys with a dynamic pass rusher along with his responsibilities in the running game. I am highly optimistic about the Cowboys’ defense, especially with Dan Quinn returning. Micah Parsons is a generational talent, and the Cowboys need him hugely; he should be on everyone’s radar to win a DPOY.
1. Dak Prescott
The Cowboys’ most important player is Dak Prescott, which should be unanimously felt. I get some frustration with Dak being up and down last year. His inconsistent play wasn’t ideal for a guy you are paying $40 million. But Dak was still a fringe top 10 QB which to me was extremely impressive considering he spent a long time rehabbing his ankle injury throughout the offseason. He also dealt with a shoulder injury that restricted him the last month before the season, and to make things more problematic, he never seemed right after injuring his calf in Week 6.
The reasons for Dak’s importance are apparent, and if he doesn’t perform, I don’t see a path to the Cowboys finally making a deep playoff run. Being a starting QB in the NFL is demanding, but being the signal-caller for the Dallas Cowboys is even more difficult. I have complete faith in Dak as my team’s QB, and although some fans don’t feel the same way, I think he’ll shut up many of those naysayers with his play.
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