Cowboys desperately need interior OL, not tackle, in draft

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K.D. Drummond
·4 min read
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All of the talk about the Cowboys draft concerns when it comes to offense have centered around two discussions. One, whether or not they will add a weapon to their arsenal. That conversation primarily has revolved around Florida tight end Kyle Pitts and whether or not he’ll make it to No. 10 and whether or not Dallas would select him if he did fall. A sideshoot to that talk and one that has gained a bit of steam recently is whether or not the club will grab a speed option to add to their receiving corps.

The second conversation has had to do with the future of the tackle position and finding someone to put in the pipeline to take over for Tyron Smith, who has missed at least three games each of the last five seasons and missed 14 in 2020. Although he is expected to be ready to go for the offseason program, it’s a righteous argument being made that selecting a player such as Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater or Oregon’s Penei Sewell makes a ton of sense at No. 10. What goes along with those two choices in a relatively deep OT class is that they have the ability to be placed inside at guard while Smith is still Smith. Once he retires (or gets injured), the draft pick can be moved outside to tackle.

This conversation somewhat but not really addresses what seems to be the biggest Cowboys need on offense and that is the glaring lack of depth at the interior. As it stands now, Dallas only has five players on their offseason 90-man roster at guard or center, and there are question marks around everyone except Zack Martin.

Big questions.

Connor Williams has been a three-year starter after being drafted in the second round in 2018. He was fully healthy for the first time in 2020, the only OL starter not to miss multiple games, let alone a single one as he started all 16. It was his best season by far.

He graded out 23rd out of 58 guards who saw at least 50% of qualifying snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.

Connor McGovern, drafted in the third round of 2019 and then redshirted due to a pectoral injury, had to step up and play last season both when Martin was injured and when injuries forced the perennial All-Pro to kick out to tackle. He started eight games at right guard and is seen as being real competition for Williams as the latter enters the final year of his rookie contract.

While it would be nice for Dallas to have stars at every position along the offensive line, it’s not necessary to move forward. If the club can get top-level play out of their tackles Smith and La’el Collins along with Martin, the other two positions are elevated just by the overall strength of the line.

The issue is that the center position is still a huge question mark, as is a lack of bodies at both interior spots.

The Cowboys drafted Tyler Biadasz in the fifth round of the 2020 draft and most felt that it was a steal. Possibly due to the lack of an offseason thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, Biadasz was unable to dethrone Joe Looney for the starting gig. When Looney also succumbed to the injury bug Biadasz got several starts before being injured himself.

Most felt because of the disappointing Cowboys season, Biadasz would be the starter the rest of the season, but after being activated from the IR, he remained a backup to Looney. That has to bring into question whether or not head coach Mike McCarthy and OL coach Joe Philbin honestly see him as an answer.

The only other interior player on the roster is Adam Redmond, who has been with the club since 2018 after being a UDFA with Indianapolis a year earlier. Redmond appeared in 4 games last year and has 18 appearances with no starts in his career.

Five names. One superstar, one other proven league commodity and that’s it. Dallas certainly can put together a starting lineup out of these players, but entering offseason work, that’s not the only solution the team should be after.

There needs to be depth, there need to be options in case the wipeout injury bug that happened in 2020 to the tackles happens here. There needs to be a focus on the interior in the draft later this week.

If that manifests itself in a future tackle that can play on the interior for the time being, that’s great. Slater or Sewell, come on down. If it doesn’t, than sometime in the next six rounds Dallas needs to turn in a card with a guard or center’s name on it.

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