The Dallas Cowboys had an underwhelming ending to their 2021 season after getting bounced early from the playoffs. However, they can look ahead to the future with several young foundational players in place.
Pro Football Focus released its top 25 under 25 list earlier on Tuesday. In it, they featured three players from the Cowboys roster that figure to be pivotal in the coming years for Jerry Jones and co. Let’s take a look at which youngsters made the cut.
Dallas Cowboy cornerback Trevon Diggs
The Cowboys have one of the best young cornerbacks in the NFL. Strictly from a turnover point of view, Diggs racked up 11 interceptions last year and returned two of those for touchdowns. Simply put, Diggs is always around the ball and he’s consistently looking to make a play; he’s a true ballhawk. Backing up that statement is the fact he has had 35 passes defended over the last two years.
The downside to Diggs’ play is that he’s your prototypical “boom or bust” player, as PFF pointed out. He can return a pass for a touchdown on any given play, but by the same token, he’ll give up a big play. At the age of 23, Diggs can still refine his game so as to not be such a wild card in coverage. At some point, Diggs has to become more patient and, instead of being overaggressive, he needs to let the play come to him. That was magnified a season ago when he also yielded a whopping 907 yards in coverage.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb
After notable 2020 and 2021 seasons, wide receiver CeeDee Lamb cracked the top 20 portion of the list at number 17. Lamb 2,037 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns over the past two seasons. In the process, Lamb has become the de facto number one receiver for Dak Prescott. One stat to keep an eye on for this young star is his yards after the catch. The last two years he’s totaled 311 and 441, respectively.
Sporting a PFF receiving grade of 84.6 for his 2021 efforts, Lamb possesses a solid repertoire as a receiver at the age of 23. With Amari Cooper’s departure and Michael Gallup needing to prove he can stay healthy, fans can look forward to Lamb likely surpassing last year’s numbers.
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons
One of the NFL’s most explosive players, Micah Parsons figures to be a defensive force in Dallas for years to come. The former Penn State Nittany Lion made a big splash last year after he was picked 12th overall. He accumulated 13 sacks and 20 tackles for a loss in quite an impressive debut season.
In addition to coming in at number six on PFF’s list, Parsons earned several accolades. He received a dual nod as a Pro Bowler and an All-Pro as a rookie. In addition, Parsons was the Pro Football Writer’s Rookie of the Year and the Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year. As far as PFF goes, they awarded Parsons an 87.6 overall grade to go with a 93.0 pass-rush grade. Per Pro Football Reference, Parsons amassed 47 pressures last year. Cowboys fans can look forward to the linebacker building on those numbers in 2022.