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NFL Dallas Cowboys

5 Dallas Cowboys Who Mean the Most to the Team’s Future

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5 Dallas Cowboys Who Mean the Most to the Team's Future

Dallas Cowboys
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys are a model of consistency—consistently mediocre, that is. In a league where teams routinely go from worst to first or from playing in the Super Bowl one season to missing the playoffs the next, it is nearly impossible to remain the same season after season. The Dallas Cowboys have finished 8-8 for three straight seasons, but their unprecedented run of mediocrity goes much further back than just the past three seasons. Since the start of the 1997 season the Cowboys are an unbelievable 136-136. They have mastered the art of mediocrity.

So far this offseason, Dallas has hired new coordinators despite not firing the old ones. Soon we will hear Jerry Jones declare that the Cowboys are “so close” to being one of the NFL’s elite teams. He will bring up how they were once again one win away from the playoffs and that this core group of players can win a Super Bowl.

The problem is, the core group Jerry is talking about is the same core group he has been talking about for the better part of a decade. That group is now in their 30s. The core group of Tony Romo, Jason Witten and DeMarcus Ware are all on the downside of their careers. And, in the case of Romo and Ware, injuries are beginning to take a toll on their bodies. Between injuries and age, I do not see how this core group will ever reach their ultimate goal of a Super Bowl Championship.

Which players really could play a major role in getting Dallas back to being one of the elite teams? While there are many who could factor in, these five players are the ones I believe will decide just how bright the future will be for the Dallas Cowboys.

Jeremy Martin is a Dallas Cowboys writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @Jmartin1982Like him on facebook or add him to your network on Google

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5. Bruce Carter

Bruce Carter, Dallas Cowboys
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Carter had a tremendous end to the 2012 season for the Cowboys. Unfortunately, that did not seem to carry over to the 2013 season. Dallas desperately needs playmakers on defense, and Carter has the talent to be one; he just needs to show it on a more consistent basis.

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4. Morris Claiborne

Morris Claiborne, Dallas Cowboys
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas gave up a lot to get Morris Claiborne in the 2012 NFL Draft. The Cowboys said they moved up to get Claiborne because their scouts gave him the highest grade for a CB since Deion Sanders. In Claiborne’s first two seasons, he has shown zero resemblance to Deion. If Claiborne can start performing up to his potential, he will be a huge part of the Cowboys’ future. If he doesn’t, he just becomes another in a long line of failed draft picks by the Cowboys.

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3. Tyron Smith

Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Tyron Smith has been one of the most consistent players for Dallas the past few seasons. Every successful team needs a great offensive line and every offensive line needs an anchor. If Dallas is smart, Tyron Smith will be their anchor for years to come.

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2. Sean Lee

Sean Lee, Dallas Cowboys
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Lee’s talent cannot be questioned. He is a tackling and playmaking machine. The problem is he cannot seem to stay on the field. Despite the injuries, Jerry Jones gave Sean Lee a new contract before last season. Sean Lee is the most important player to the Cowboys’ defense. If he can find a way to stay on the field, Jerry and the Cowboys will reap the benefits.

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1. Dez Bryant

Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Dez Bryant is one of the most physically gifted WRs in the NFL. There is nothing he cannot do on the football field. While Dez has struggled with maturity issues, the good far outweighs the bad. Dez is the best big play threat on the Cowboys’ roster, and no one else is even close. Dallas’ coaches must make sure Dez continues to mature off the field, and they must find new ways to get the ball into his hands on the field.