The Dallas Cowboys are well-represented on this season’s All-Pro team, as Dallas led all NFL teams with five First-Team All-Pro selections. The five players voted in were running back Ezekiel Elliott, offensive tackle Tyron Smith, guard Zack Martin, center Travis Frederick, and linebacker Sean Lee. None of these selections should come as a surprise to anybody.
In 2016, the Cowboys’ dominant offense rolled over opponents en route to 13 victories, an NFC East title, and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. With the best offensive line in football paving the way for him, Elliott led the league in rushing yards in his first season as a pro, racking up 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns on 322 carries. Had Elliott not been rested for the postseason, he could’ve potentially broken Eric Dickerson’s rookie rushing record of 1,808 yards from scrimmage, as Elliott only carried the ball 12 times against the Lions in Week 16 and didn’t play at all against the Eagles in Week 17.
“It’s special,” Elliott told NFL.com when asked about the honor. “Just to be able to come into this league my first year and dominate and just play at the high level I’m playing, and just kind of get these honors already as a rookie, it means a lot. I was never even an All-American in college. I was never a First-Team All-American. I’ll never get a Buckeye tree at Ohio State. That’s the one thing I regret the most.”
While Dallas’ offense has fired on all cylinders this season, their defense is starting to play quality football at the perfect time, and their star linebacker, Lee, who was infamously snubbed of this year’s Pro Bowl, has been the ringleader of the whole operation. Lee is the team leader in tackles, having registered 145 in 2016.
“It’s an unbelievable honor because there’s so many great players and so many great linebackers who play this game,” Lee said. “To me, it’s more of a reflection of this group. I get to play with these unbelievable players. What I’m proud of is what we’ve been able to do as a group. I have so many guys that have helped me that I play off of. The defensive line have been unbelievable. They’ve kept me free a lot of the time.”
The Cowboys will need their All-Pro selections to continue their reign of terror in the playoffs, as they will be in a do-or-die situation next weekend on Sunday, Jan. 15 at AT&T Stadium.