HomeSportsNFLDallas Cowboys move up in ESPN post-free agency power rankings

Dallas Cowboys move up in ESPN post-free agency power rankings

by Nikki Chavanelle
Dallas Cowboys Demarcus Lawrence
Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboysfree agency moves and draft selections have them on the rise in ESPN’s latest NFL power rankings. The NFC East contenders ranked eighth before the draft, but are now seventh heading into OTAs next week.

A big part of their rankings boost was their improvement of the defensive line. ESPN’s team of rankers called the defensive line the biggest improvement of the offseason.

“With the addition of Brandin Cooks, wide receiver could be the choice, but it’s the defensive line,” ESPN Cowboys beat reporter Todd Archer wrote. “They selected Mazi Smith in the first round and along with the return of Johnathan Hankins, they now have bulk on the interior.

“The Cowboys also re-signed Dante Fowler, who had six sacks last season, to keep core pass-rushers Micah ParsonsDorance ArmstrongDeMarcus Lawrence and Sam Williams together. They added Junior Fehoko, a fourth-round pick, to the mix of versatile players like Osa Odighizuwa and Chauncey Golston. This is the deepest group the Cowboys have had in ages and might be the deepest in the NFL.”

The six teams ranked in front of the Cowboys are the Chiefs, Bengals, Eagles, Bills, 49ers and Dolphins, in that order. Dallas takes on four of the six teams ranked above them during the 2023 regular season.

Ahead of the 2022 season in this same poll, the Cowboys were No. 8 amongst the NFL’s 32 teams. They went on to finish 12-5 for the second season in a row before falling to the 49ers in the second round of the playoffs.

Cowboys flip staff, send off several key contributors ahead of 2023 season.

The 2023 offseason has been one of major changes for the Cowboys. Kicking things off, Mike McCarthy gave the coaching staff a re-vamp. The team opted not to renew the contracts of eight coaching staff members, including offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier.

McCarthy promoted Brian Schottenheimer to OC after revealing his plans to take over playcalling himself in 2023. They also assigned Scott Tolzein the role of quarterbacks coach.

In the free agency window, they signed safety Donovan Wilson, linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, DE Dante Fowler, tackle Johnathan Hankins and franchise-tagged Tony Pollard to keep them off the free agency market.

Jerry Jones and his front office also executed trades that sent two 2023 fifth-round picks out of Dallas in exchange for former Texans wideout Brandin Cooks and former Colts cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

Dallas also signed outside free agents, picking up running back Ronald Jones, offensive lineman Chuma Edoga and long snapper Trent Sieg.