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Dallas Cowboys 2 Surprises in Top 3 MVP Candidates

The Cowboys' success may come down to the contributions of these vital representatives.

The Dallas Cowboys' storied history features a trophy case that could, at the very least, occupy most of the luxury boxes at AT&T Stadium. Surprisingly, however, the team has remained relatively bereft of NFL MVP Award winners. 

To date, only one player, Emmitt Smith in 1993, has taken home the AP edition, which has featured only two Cowboys in their voting over the past decade. 

Who are the current Cowboys best suited to break such bad luck at the de facto voting booth? investigates...

3. DeMarcus Lawrence

We know Micah Parsons is a great pick here. But what if offenses are so fo focused on limiting Micah that another guy comes through>

We're leaning toward a guy who can make a difference from last year ...

The image of Elijah Mitchell and Deebo Samuel running wild on the beleaguered Cowboys defense has no doubt remained ingrained in the minds of fans of America's Team since January. While the Bay Area duo provided the most high-profile example of the Cowboys' struggles defending the run, it was far more prevalent than anyone would ever care to admit: Dallas let up triples digits in rushing on a dozen prior occasions prior to the loss in the Wild Card round. 

Such dire efforts partly came without the services of Lawrence, who was not on the field for seven of those 12 opposing showcases. While Lawrence's production in the pass rush has dipped in the most mainstream ways (14.5 sacks over the last three seasons), he remains one of the most feared edge men in the NFL thanks in part to a prowess on run defense that has earned rave reviews from Pro Football Focus. If Lawrence is able to help stabilize the Cowboys' ability to stop the run (especially with matchups against Jonathan Taylor, Joe Mixon, Dalvin Cook, and Antonio Gibson looming), he should at least garner a little consideration. 

Maybe, in the end, Micah wins some MVP votes and Tank wins "Comeback Player of the Year''?

2. Dak Prescott

Prescott and his predecessor Tony Romo have accounted for the aforementioned meager representation on the recent MVP ballots. It's safe to say that the two have put the "V" in "MVP" over the past decade: Cooper Rush filled in well for Prescott in prime time last season, but, save for the incumbent's 2016 takeover, backup quarterbacks in Dallas have struggled to replicate their success. 

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quinn parsons

'Left-Side, Right-Side': Cowboys Dan Quinn on Micah Parsons 'Move'

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons has long been praised for his one-of-a-kind versatility, which defensive coordinator Dan Quinn continues to emphasize.

Since 2011 (again, removing 2016 and Rush's victorious entry against Minnesota from the equation), Dallas understudies are 7-19 when filling in for either Prescott or Romo. 

Prescott has reached a point where he's picking up the bittersweet torch that Romo left behind: one defined by brilliant statistical performances and capable of a legendary status in several other locales, but unappreciated in Dallas because of his lack of a Super Bowl ring, or even a mere conference title appearance. Even with the loss to San Francisco, no one can deny Prescott had a brilliant 2021-22 season, one where he was rarely, if ever, at full strength. If he's able to, as planned, re-add his mobility to the equation, that could truly help the Cowboys get over the divisional hump. 

It's a QB league. So yes, Dallas success will have meant Dak success. But ...

1. CeeDee Lamb

Lamb has a prime opportunity to truly earn the No. 88 this season.

The third-year receiver has proven himself, at the very, very least, extraordinarily worthy of NFL longevity: he has earned 2,037 yards over his first two campaigns, the first of which came with a hodgepodge of backups in the wake of a Prescott injury (earning parts of 935 yards from the arms of Andy Dalton, Ben DiNucci, and Garrett Gilbert). This coming season, however, is the first where Lamb enters as the Cowboys' top aerial option with Amari Cooper having absconded to Cleveland. 

Lamb, despite his youth, is armed with the most reliable big-play talent in the current arsenal. The Cowboys hope that Michael Gallup will be able to take the next step in his upgrade while further promotions on the roster include rookie Jalen Tolbert (not to mention newcomer James Washington, formerly of Pittsburgh). Prescott has proven himself more than capable of steering the Cowboys' offense to high-octane affairs. But they may only be able to reach last year's extraordinary heights if Lamb firmly establishes himself as one of the game's top primary receivers.

We know from our staff being inside The Star how much Dallas plans to feed Lamb. If he turns targets into touchdowns? He's in play here.

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