x-factors for the Cowboys

5 Under The Radar X-Factors for the Cowboys in 2024

This year is a critical one for the Dallas Cowboys. With many players entering free agency following the season, it could be the last dance for Dak Prescott and company if things do not go as planned. Here is a look at five under-the-radar x-factors for the Cowboys in 2024.

5 Under The Radar X-Factors for the Cowboys in 2024


Jan 16, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) reacts with wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (88) after throwing a touchdown pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second half during the wild card game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


5. Ezekiel Elliott

The Cowboys surprised a lot of people by opting not to select a running back in April’s draft. It appears that they plan to go into the season with Rico Dowdle, Royce Freeman, and Ezekiel Elliott rounding out the backfield. Elliott returns to Dallas after spending 2023 with the New England Patriots. He was drafted by the Cowboys in 2016 and ranks third in franchise history in rushing yards (8262) and touchdowns (68) While Elliott certainly is not what he once was a runner, he will likely enter 2024 as the team’s number one back. At this point in his career, his strengths are his abilities to get tough yards and goal-line touchdowns, which are two areas that the Cowboys lacked production in 2023. The Cowboys have always had a reliable backfield dating back to the days of Don Perkins. They have employed the likes of Elliott, Perkins, Emmitt Smith, DeMarco Murray, Herschel Walker, Tony Dorsett, and others. Without a star-studded backfield, Elliott will have to step up if the Cowboys want a shot to make a postseason run.

4. Sam Williams

With the departures of Dorance Armstrong and Dante Fowler this offseason, it is important for Sam Williams to break out in 2024. He has shown flashes of potential with 8.5 sacks in 32 games, but he has not lived up to the potential of a second-round pick just yet. Demarcus Lawrence will be a free agent after this year, and Williams has the chance to step into his role in 2025 if he plays well in 2024. The Cowboys’ defense started strong in 2023 but collapsed when it mattered most in the playoffs. With Mike Zimmer now at the helm, Williams will be put in a position to thrive this year with a bigger role. If he can pick up some of the production lost in free agency, it will go a long way in restoring the confidence of this promising Cowboys defensive unit.

3. Jalen Tolbert

The Cowboys enter the 2024 season without a clear-cut number three wide receiver after the departure of Michael Gallup. Jalen Tolbert and Kavonte Turpin will compete for this role, with Tolbert the likely candidate. The Cowboys think very highly of Tolbert, as evidenced by their third-round selection of him in 2022. So far his tenure in Dallas has been underwhelming as he has compiled a total of just 24 receptions for 280 yards and 2 touchdowns in 25 games. With CeeDee Lamb, and Brandin Cooks leading the pack, the Cowboys will look to Tolbert to take some pressure off their top targets. If he can manage to go for 500-600 yards and 4-5 touchdowns, it will be a huge step in the right direction for the promising young receiver. The expectations will be high for Tolbert in 2024 and he will have to be better if the Cowboys have any shot of competing in a promising NFC East division.

2. Mazi Smith

2023 was an underwhelming rookie campaign for Mazi Smith. He posted just 13 tackles to go along with one sack and three tackles for loss in his first year in Dallas. With the departure of Jonathan Hankins, it will be crucial for Smith to step up and have an impact in stopping the run game. The Cowboys struggled in that department last season, and this was one of the reasons for the collapse of the defense in the postseason. Smith was drafted due in large part to his run stuffing ability and if the Cowboys want to get a return on their investment, he has to be better in 2024.

1. Tyler Guyton

The Cowboys offensive line underwent a huge overhaul in 2024. The Cowboys added Tyler Guyton and Cooper Beebe in the NFL Draft, while they saw Tyron Smith and Tyler Biadasz depart via free agency. Similar to Tyler Smith, Guyton is a project that is very raw but has the potential to be a standout on the offensive line. He will enter the season as the likely candidate to start at left tackle despite just playing 70 snaps at that position in his collegiate career. He will have big shoes to fill taking over for Tyron Smith, but the Cowboys have options if he is not ready for week 1. They could choose to move Tyler Smith to left tackle and slot Beebe at guard for the time being while Guyton develops. If Guyton is ready, his play will be important as he will be tasked with protecting the blindside of the Cowboys star quarterback Dak Prescott.

It’s easy to look at players such as Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, Trevon Diggs, and Zack Martin when evaluating the success of the Dallas Cowboys, however, there are many other pieces to the puzzle. It will be very important for these five players to step up if the Cowboys have any shot of winning their first championship in 29 years.

Main Image: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

0 0 votes
Do you agree with this article? Let's see your vote!
0 0 votes
Do you agree with this article? Let's see your vote!
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x