Sports Illustrated’s Peter King Thinks Too Lowly Of The Cowboys


Sports Illustrated lead NFL writer Peter King has released his offseason power rankings and many Cowboys’ fans are scratching their heads. Dallas stands only 13th in King’s rankings behind teams most Cowboys’ fans perceive to be less talented such as the Kansas City Chiefs (4th), Minnesota Vikings (6th), Philadelphia Eagles (7th), and Cincinnati Bengals (12th).

"On his Monday Morning Quarterback website King says about the Cowboys, “I keep reading how many great pieces the Cowboys have added to their defense. I don’t see it. But they’re going to win a bunch of 33-27 games, so there’s hope.”"

It is hard to understand why King thinks that a Dallas defense that ranked 16th in the league last season will be worse in 2015. The Cowboys will see starting middle linebacker and defensive leader Sean Lee return after missing all of 2014 with a knee injury and teaming him with outside linebackers Rolando McClain and Anthony Hitchens makes a formidable line backing corps.

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Dallas will also have a better pass rush as second-year defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence improves by participating in a full training camp and offseason program, unlike last season when a training camp injury forced the 2014 second round draft pick to miss the first half of the season. Lawrence showed flashes of talent late in the season including the memorable sack and fumble recovery to seal the Cowboys NFC Wildcard round win over the Detroit Lions.

Apparently, King also doesn’t see much talent in this year’s second round pick by the Cowboys , defensive end Randy Gregory from Nebraska, though most of King’s contemporaries gush about Gregory’s pass rush skills. Heading into the draft, Gregory was ranked as one of the top two pass rushers available but he fell to the second round after he failed drug test for marijuana.

Dallas also solidified another area of weakness on defense when they drafted Connecticut cornerback Byron Jones in the first round. With the addition of Jones, the most impressive athlete to participate in the 2015 NFL Draft Combine, and the return of a healthy Morris Claiborne at corner, the secondary should be better prepared to defend multiple receiver offensive formations this season which was a weakness exploited by teams with skilled passing attacks.

Another piece acquired by Dallas that King apparently doesn’t highly regard is offensive lineman La’el Collins from LSU, who was ranked as one of the top 25 draft prospects coming out of college this year.  After going undrafted due to the uncertainty surrounding the murder of his former girlfriend and her unborn child (a crime in which Collins was later cleared of any involvement by Baton Rogue authorities) the top-rated lineman in the draft signed a free-agent contract to join the Cowboys.

Conventional wisdom states that the best marker for success in the NFL is to obtain as many top 100 prospects as possible each year. This year, Dallas was able to acquire three prospects ranked in the top 25 of almost every draft preview thus adding talent and depth to the team that won the NFC East last season, yet King thinks Dallas will be mediocre at best.

Perhaps King is placing more emphasis on the loss of running back DeMarco Murray than I am, after all he does have Murray’s new team ranked in the top ten despite the fact that the Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly jettisoned a number of the team’s top contributors from 2014. Yet, King says that Dallas will have to win a number of offensive shootouts so he must not feel that the Cowboys’ offense will suffer much without last year’s NFL rushing champion.

Though King deserves the utmost respect for his knowledge of the NFL, Dallas fans should not fret. Last season, no one (including King) predicted America’s Team to go 12-4 and win the NFC East. In reality, there is no way for anyone, even the great Peter King to accurately predict what will happen when the season begins because the NFL is the most unpredictable league in sports.

Cowboys’ fans should take articles of this nature as nothing more than interesting summer reading intended to spark debate and conversation between fans in a time when football news is often slow. And in the conversations that will follow the 2015 season, I predict that the Cowboys will be talked about as being much better than the 13th best team in the NFL.

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