ESPN names Dallas Cowboys best player of the last decade

ESPN has now revealed its choice for the Dallas Cowboys’ best player of the last decade

The year 2020 has been one to remember, mostly for all the wrong reasons. But it’s also been a time for reflection. For NFL teams like the Dallas Cowboys, it’s a milestone year to look back and consider the accomplishments of the team and its players over the previous decade.

For fans of America’s Team, the previous decade may be best represented by its coach of the last ten years, Jason Garrett. Starting out as an interim head coach replacing Wade Phillips midway through the 2010 season, Garrett remained at the helm of the beloved franchise until just this past January.

Unfortunately, during Garrett’s long tenure in Dallas, the team saw little playoff success. The Cowboys finished the regular season with a record of 8-8 or better eight times since 2010. But earned a postseason berth only three times over the decade, winning just two playoff matchups.

Recently, ESPN.com attempted to tackle the question of which Cowboy would be considered the best player for the team over the past decade. And the answer longtime reporter Todd Archer gave was left tackle Tyron Smith.

“The Cowboys had not selected an offensive lineman in the first round since 1981 before taking Smith with the No. 9 overall pick in 2011. He helped change their draft thought process with his success, leading to the first-round selections of center Travis Frederick (2013) and guard Zack Martin (2014).”

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Tyron Smith selected as the Dallas Cowboys top player since 2010

Since being selected as a top-ten pick in the 2011 NFL Draft out of USC, Smith has been on a Hall of Fame track. Still only 29-years old, he enters his 10th NFL season having been elected to the Pro Bowl seven times. Smith is also a four-time All-Pro, twice as a first-teamer.

More importantly, Smith has been the anchor of the Cowboys’ offensive line for nearly a decade. And his success paved the way for the team to spend several valuable draft picks on future offensive lineman making it one of the top positional groups in the entire league.

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Archer also mentioned tight end Jason Witten and right guard Zack Martin as potential contenders for this crown. But both are likely hurt by time. Witten joined the Cowboys in 2003 so the previous decade represented the back half of his Hall of Fame career (which now continues with the Las Vegas Raiders). It’s the opposite case of not enough time for Martin, who was a first-round selection in 2014 and has been a Pro Bowler every year since.