Dec 2, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant (88) runs after a catch for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Power Rankings countdown: 18. Dallas Cowboys

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2014 NFL Power Rankings Countdown

18.  Dallas Cowboys (NFC East)

2013 Record:  8-8

Head coach:  Jason Garrett – Garrett has had three consecutive 8-8 seasons as the Cowboys head coach, managing to keep his head above water just enough to keep from drowning.  However, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones seems happy with Garrett for the moment.  But if the team has a losing season this year, then it may be Garrett’s last as the Cowboys head coach.

Best offensive player:  Dez Bryant, wide receiver – Bryant had his second straight season with over 90 receptions and over 1,000 yards for the Cowboys.  He also had 13 TD receptions, and has ascended to being one of the top wide receivers in the league.  Dez Bryant’s size and speed makes him extremely hard for defenses to handle, and give quarterback Tony Romo a great number one target.

Best defensive player:  Henry Melton, defensive tackle – With the loss of DeMarcus Ware in free agency, the Cowboys new best player on defense is Henry Melton.  Melton was a pro bowl selection in 2012, and more than likely would have been last season for the Chicago Bears if he hadn’t torn his ACL.  If healthy, Melton should give the Cowboys a pro bowl level defensive tackle.

Rising Star:  Terrance Williams, wide receiver – Williams had an impressive rookie season for the Cowboys with 44 receptions for 736 yards and 5 TD’s.  He also had an outstanding yards per catch average of 16.7 yards.  Williams is clearly emerging as a good number two receiver to Dez Bryant, and if he continues to improve the Cowboys offense will be much better because of it.

Best new addition:  Henry Melton, defensive tackle – The Cowboys lost their top defensive tackle Jason Hatcher to the Washington Redskins in free agency, so they needed someone to come in and have as much of an impact that Hatcher did last season.  And Melton just might end up being more effective than Hatcher was in the Cowboys defense.

Biggest offseason loss: DeMarcus Ware, defensive end – Ware signed with the Denver Broncos as a free agent this offseason.  he was the Cowboys best pass rusher for years, and now they don’t have a proven pass rusher who is close to matching what Ware brought to the table.

Biggest strength:  The Jets biggest strength is their offensive line.  The Cowboys offensive line is anchored by left tackle Tyron Smith who is coming off his first pro bowl.  Center Travis Frederick had a good rookie season last year, and now they add rookie guard Zack Martin who will more than likely start this year as well.  The Cowboys have good depth and youth on their O-line, and that should pay dividends for years to come.          NFL Power Rankings

Biggest weakness:  The Jets biggest weakness is a lack of pass rushers.  George Selvie had a good year last season with 7 sacks and the Cowboys drafted DeMarcus Lawrence who has potential. They still have Anthony Spencer who is solid but is recovering from microfracture surgery.   So unless one them steps up the Cowboys might be hurting for sacks in 2014.    2014 NFL Power Rankings Countdown

32. Houston Texans

31. Cleveland Browns

30.  Minnesota Vikings

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

28. Oakland Raiders

27.  Washington Redskins

26.  Atlanta Falcons

25.  Buffalo Bills

24.  Tennessee Titans

23.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers

22.  Detroit Lions

21.  Miami Dolphins

20.  St. Louis Rams

19.  New York Jets

 

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Tags: 2014 NFL Power Rankings Dez Bryant NFL Power Rankings Tony Romo Washington Redskins

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