Martin, Diggs, McCarthy rank high; Nate Newton honored

It’s the time of year for rankings to get football fans through the break until training camp. It’s more fun, though, when your team’s guys are near the tops of the lists. Trevon Diggs and Zack Martin claim best-of honors for their respective countdowns, but much-maligned Anthony Brown and supposedly hot-seat occupier Mike McCarthy place surprisingly high, too.

Elsewhere, we take a look at the biggest storylines that have brought the Cowboys to this pre-training camp break, we preview a big year for center Tyler Biadasz, and we take a look at that promise Jerry Jones made about Jimmy Johnson being enshrined in the team’s Ring of Honor. Also, dynasty legend Nate Newton attains football immortality in the Black College Football Hall of Fame, Jason Garrett welcomes a special guest, George Teague can’t get any respect… and Tom Landry had to go to court to defend Danny White??? We recognize the anniversary of a strange sidenote in Cowboys history. That’s all ahead in News and Notes.

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When you build an interior blocker in a lab, they look like Martin. That’s why he tops this list as the best interior lineman in football. He’s displayed best-in-class athletic ability and technical wizardry at the guard position ever since coming out of Notre Dame, and even before: he famously battled Aaron Donald Senior at the Reese’s Bowl in 2014.

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Trevon Diggs ranked No. 1 across the league in press coverage last year, according to Pro Football Focus. This, despite a fairly low PFF grade. Anthony Brown finished No. 9, partially the beneficiary of frequent matchups with his opponents’ second-best receiver.

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Assemble 26 identical “average” NFL teams and assign each one to the league’s coaches who already have at least one year under their belts. Now, who’s best? That’s how PFF did these rankings, and they found Mike McCarthy to be No. 10, above notables like Sean McVay and Mike Tomlin. Helming prolific offenses has never been a problem for McCarthy; It’s his seeming inability to monitor defensive performances that live up to his teams’ talent level.

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From a leaner, more mobile Dak Prescott to Trevon Diggs picking up right where he is left off in 2021, more potential opportunities for Leighton Vander Esch, and undrafted rookie kicker Jonathan Garibay looking strong- and so far, uncontested- this is everything you need to get caught up on where the Cowboys stand right now, five weeks before training camp.

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The former fourth-round draft pick improved from his rookie season to his second year, but he needs to keep trending upward. Biadasz ranked just 25th among 32 starting centers in QB hurries allowed, and 22nd in pressures allowed. With Matt Farniok waiting in the wings and UDFAs Alec Lindstrom and James Empey hoping to prove themselves worthy of a roster spot, the Wisconsin product will find himself challenged.

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The six-time Pro Bowl guard and three-time Super Bowl champ was inducted over the weekend. Teammates Troy Aikman, Deion Sanders, Tony Tolbert, and Mark Stepnoski were all in attendance. Newton played at Florida A&M from 1979-82 and earned an All-MEAC conference selection in 1980.

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The Cowboys owner promised back in August that the ex-coach would finally get his place in the team’s Ring of Honor alongside 22 other franchise icons. But asked about it last week, Jones admitted, “I don’t have that timeframe on that.” He claimed that he never decides on a Ring ceremony “until a week or two before,” yet most recent inductees have had two months or more notice. After waiting 27 years to make the offer, is it possible that Jones will milk this moment, too?

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When Jerry Jones wanted to buy an NFL franchise, he sought advice from the late Lamar Hunt, the founder of the AFL and longtime owner of the Kansas City Chiefs (who actually began playing as the Dallas Texans). The Jones and Hunt families remain close; While Clark Hunt is now the Chiefs owner and led the charge in bringing the 2026 World Cup to Kansas City, his brother Dan Hunt is the chairman and president of FC Dallas and helped Jones secure Dallas’s successful bid.

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June 20 marked a strange anniversary in Cowboys history. Landry was a character witness in a case against former quarterback Danny White. White was charged with misdemeanor assault after slapping a 17-year-old driver who reportedly endangered a vehicle carrying White and his family. The always-cool coach even testedified, “under the same type of stress situation that Danny was under, I might do the same thing.” It worked; White was acquitted.

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In five seasons as a Cowboy (over two separate stints), Teague is best known for defending the Texas Stadium midfield star from a Terrell Owens celebration in 2000 and also leading the team onto the field in the first game back after the September 11 attacks of 2001 by carrying the American flag. But the popular defensive back can’t get a blue verified check mark from the powers that be at Twitter.

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