Two of the Dallas Cowboys land on NFL.com’s Next Gen Stats All-Pro team, highlighting the top players from the first quarter of the regular season.
When you think about the Dallas Cowboys top two stars, most fans will automatically think of quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott. If you are more of a traditionalist, maybe that top player for you is tight end Jason Witten, who is undoubted bound for the Hall of Fame. Or how about the scariest positional group in all of football, the Cowboys offensive line?
The point being here is that the Cowboys defense rarely gets that kind of love. And when they do, it’s newsworthy. So imagine my surprise when two of Dallas’ defenders were recently named to the league’s Next Gen Stats All-Pro team.
Lee’s been the Cowboys top defensive player for years. The two-time Pro Bowler’s main issue is simply staying healthy. Between 2013 and 2015, Lee missed a whopping 31 games. But in the last two seasons, he has only been sidelined for three total games. One of which was a healthy scratch in preparation for the playoffs.
The 31-year old’s sudden spark of consistency coincided with his move from middle linebacker to weakside. And his production shot way up. Lee’s averaged 136.5 tackles per season the past two years in Dallas.
And in 2017 so far, Lee has been the best overall linebacker in football according to Next Gen Stats.
"“…one of the true points of strength is the defensive centerpiece, Sean Lee. He’s been right at home in legendary coach Rod Marinelli’s defense,” wrote Matt Harmon on NFL.com this week. “Lee has recorded a tackle on 25.4 percent of his plays this season, a top-seven rate among linebackers this year. The veteran’s ability in coverage is a massive edge for the Cowboys, as the team allows a mere 54.5 catch rate to tight ends on the year.”"
Lee’s importance to the Cowboys was never more clear than in last weekend’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Out with a hamstring injury, Dallas’ defense struggled to contain running back Todd Gurley without their top linebacker on the field.
As for Lawrence, the fourth-year player is leading the league with 7.5 sacks. The 25-year old is the NFL’s premier rusher through the first four games of the season and is on pace to smash some significant records if he continues.