RASmatazz: Athleticism not a problem for Cowboys’ projected OL

The Cowboys offensive line is in a state of flux. LT Tyron Smith and OC Tyler Biadasz left in free agency opening up enormous holes in the starting lineup. Dallas would like to fill at least one of those vacancies with a rookie draft pick this April. But with so many roster needs and so much unpredictability in the draft, there’s no telling how successful that strategy will be.

If the Cowboys fail in their attempts to fill these starting roles through the draft, they will need to get creative with their preexisting internal options. While there is definitely room for growth in performance, the underlying core trait of athleticism is certainly in the house for the majority of the projected starters if the team is unable to augment the group.

The general consensus the team moving Tyler Smith to LT, T.J. Bass taking over at LG, Brock Hoffman elevating to OC, Zack Martin staying at RG and Terence Steele giving it another go at RT.

The Smith-Bass-Hoffman-Martin-Steele quintet isn’t ideal, but it would allow the Cowboys to focus on other needs like DT, RB and LB early. Bass, Hoffman and Steele are all young undrafted players and would give Dallas a low-pedigree offensive line in 2024.

Is it realistic to think that would work? Is it even realistic to think the Cowboys would allow such an experiment to take place?

Under Will McClay the Cowboys have frequently leaned on the analytics of the prospects in order to make draft decisions. They believe in measurables such as arm length, wingspan, height, weight, and explosiveness in making their draft decisions. Players often need to meet minimum thresholds to be considered in Dallas. How they stack up against other NFL players at their position matters so no one should take Combine numbers or pro day numbers lightly.

Relative Athletic Score (RAS) is a metric used to gauge an NFL draft prospect’s athletic standing relative to the position in which he plays. Using measurables such as height, weight, speed, and other athletic drills, RAS creator Kent Lee Platte can compare a prospect against his positional peers to show teams how this player stacks up against others in the NFL.

RAS is exactly the type of thing the Cowboys care about when making draft decisions. It’s not the end-all be-all in the process nor is it more important than film, but it plays a critical role in determining future success.

Despite being undrafted, Steele and Bass both posted excellent RAS scores as prospects. Bass’s 40-yard dash was his only true blemish but his size, strength and 10-yard split more than made up for it. Steele’s explosiveness wasn’t great but his physical measurements and speed were top notch.

The weak link on this proposed lineup is without question at center with Hoffman. Hoffman’s RAS is less than inspiring which is why Bass might be considered in the mix at center if a plug-and-play LT is acquired early in the draft.

None of this data indicates the quality of play these players will deliver but it shows at least four of them have the physical ability to form a good offensive line and that’s certainly a step in the right direction.


Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire