The way things look, the Dallas Cowboys will likely be falling all the way to Pick 19 in the 2021 NFL Draft
Team Draft Pick, I have bad news for you, you can kiss that top-5 draft pick goodbye because the Dallas Cowboys are probably winning the NFC East (subsequently picking at No. 19 in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft). Team Win Baby, I have equally bad news for you, the Dallas Cowboys are going to get smoked in the first round of the playoffs making us all wonder if the division crown was worth it.
When you’re a bad football team like the Dallas Cowboys are here in 2020, there really is no ideal scenario. And the way things are trending right now, both sides are going to feel equally disappointed with the results.
NFC East is Dallas’ for the taking
I don’t have to tell any of you the NFC East is experiencing a down year. We’re 10 games in, and the division leader only has three wins. I repeat – the top team in the NFC East this season only has three wins after 10 games. It’s likely a 6-10 team will claim the division crown this year.
The Dallas Cowboys are in especially good position since they are the only NFC East team with three division rivals still on their schedule. They have the second easiest schedule remaining in the NFL and they’re one of the only teams in the division who’s actually trending in the right direction.
Even if Dallas loses on Thanksgiving to the Washington Football Team, they still have decent odds of winning the most embarrassing division crown in history. Yay?
Inevitability of Pick 19
The draft order is based on win-loss record with one major caveat: Non-playoff teams are stacked in the first group and playoff teams are stacked in the second group. That means no matter how bad of a record the winner of the NFC East is, the highest they can pick in the draft is Pick 19.
Looking around the league it’s perfectly possible a supremely talented team like the Baltimore Ravens could go 10-6, in a season where they happen to beat Dallas (Cowboys play them next Thursday), and still pick before a Dallas team that goes 6-10. All because Dallas won the division and “earned” a playoff spot.
Normally we say something like, “Anything can happen in the playoffs, you just gotta get there.” And that’s usually true, but the 2020 Dallas Cowboys are far from your usual team. The biggest factor working against them is their QB.
Andy Dalton was signed to fill in for emergency purposes only. Last season we saw Dak Prescott get banged up pretty bad down the stretch. He couldn’t practice and he couldn’t really throw. In an ideal situation you’d sit and rest your franchise arm so he could heal up as quickly as possible. But Dallas didn’t have a suitable backup to give him that opportunity. I guarantee you if Dalton was QB2 last year he would have had at least two starts.
That’s why the Cowboys signed him in the offseason. They didn’t sign him to lead the team to, and through, the playoffs. While we’ve seen backup QBs go on postseason runs before, their circumstances were considerably different than what we have here in Dallas. Those QBs found success because they were playing on healthy and talent-rich rosters. The 2020 Dallas Cowboys are neither.
Dallas Cowboys’ ceiling is capped
Dallas has almost half of their payroll on IR this season and the players who are playing are largely underachieving. They played their best ball of the season last week in Minnesota but that wasn’t even remotely good enough to compete in the playoffs. The Dallas secondary looks like the worst in the league and their offense is still a shell of its former self.
Keep in mind, even in a playing-from behind situation last week, Andy Dalton still failed to put up average passing numbers against the Vikings (They usually give up considerably more). The offensive line made some decent adjustments, sure, but even if every player maxes out his potential, there’s no way they’ll even resemble an average NFL O-line.
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It’s also worth pointing out Dallas will have to play an actual good team if they make the playoffs. They could be hosting an 11-win Tampa Bay or an 11-win Seattle in the first round. Dallas’ only wins this season have been against teams with losing records. There’s no indication they can even beat an average team at this point.
All logic tells us, whoever wins the NFC East will be one-and-done in the postseason. Fans aren’t going to suddenly start flooding stadia anytime soon so you can kiss homefield advantage good bye as well.
Winning offers plenty of intangible advantages, to be sure. It builds character and fosters trust and comradery. That’s useful for a team wanting a quick turnaround in 2021. So maybe winning the worst division title in sports is good for something – even if it does result in an embarrassing first round loss, a 2021 first place schedule, and a drop to the back-half of the 2021 NFL Draft.
It doesn’t matter what camp you’re in, if they win on Thanksgiving, the chances are the Dallas Cowboys will be picking 19th in the 2021 NFL Draft. We probably should all make peace with that.
- Published on 11/25/2020 at 13:01 PM
- Last updated at 11/25/2020 at 16:04 PM