The Dallas Cowboys’ offensive line has recently been one of pro football’s best. Dallas has relied on Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and La’el Collins to provide consistency and stability along the offensive line. The Cowboys had Travis Frederick retire earlier in the offseason and this puts center position for grabs. Mike McCarthy and the Cowboys’ coaching staff will look to answer some questions along the offensive line as training camp prepares to open. We will look at the options the Cowboys have on the offensive line.
Starting with the center position, Dallas will be looking to fill the hole left by Travis Frederick at the center position. Joe Looney was brought back to bring some veteran leadership to the center position. Working in Looney’s favor is the fact that Looney started every game in 2018, at the center position. The Cowboys liked what they saw in Wisconsin center Tyler Biadasz enough that they moved up to draft him in the fourth round. Biadasz will be the center of the future for the Cowboys, but the question to be answered in training camp will be, when does that future start?
Moving to the left tackle position. Dallas has one of the most dominant left tackles in the NFL today in the form of Tyron Smith. The longer Smith plays the more honors that he racks up. Smith earned a trip to his seventh Pro Bowl last season. Smith allowed one last season and only picked up eight penalties, during the 2019 season. Injuries have been a concern for Smith the past few years so Dallas has made sure to have a quality reserve tackle behind him.
The Cowboys liked what they saw in Mitch Hyatt a year ago. Hyatt was a durable player for the Clemson Tigers and set a record for career snaps and career starts. Hyatt earned All-American honors two times at Clemson and heads into training camp as the backup to Tyron Smith. The former Clemson Tiger should develop into a solid starter, but it will take a season or two. Until then, he should provide a good option as a backup to Smith.
The left guard position is going to be a battle between Connor Williams and Connor McGovern. Connor Williams had a solid season in 2019. However, the season was cut short due to a knee that required surgery. An ACL injury in week 13 of the 2019 season has made the offseason one of rehab and recovery for Williams. Williams must cut down on the number of penalties he commits.
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Meanwhile, Connor McGovern will have a chance to earn some snaps at multiple positions along the offensive line. McGovern missed the 2019 season due to a pectoral injury and is looking to bounce back this season and earn a starting role on the offensive line. With question marks at the center position and Connor Williams struggling at left guard, the opportunity exists for McGovern to earn some playing time on the offensive line.
The right side of the offensive line for the Dallas Cowboys is a bit more stable. Looking first at the right guard position, Zack Martin has been everything the Cowboys’ front office could have hoped for and more. Martin has earned Pro Bowl selections all six seasons of his career. The right guard spot is in good hands with Martin. As long as Martin avoids injury, all is well on the right side of the line.
Much like Martin, right tackle La’el Collins has become a mainstay on the Cowboys’ offensive line and continues to improve. Collins has performed so well for the Cowboys that he has been rumored to be a prize that the New York Jets want to target, should a trade happen involving Jamal Adams. Collins and Martin make up an impressive combination on the right side of the offensive line. Both Collins and Martin do a great job in paving the way for Ezekiel Elliott.
The Cowboys’ offensive line is a powerful unit on this team. While a few question marks do exist along the line, the Cowboys have some time to get the situation worked out. With no preseason games taking place this year, the chances for injury drop a bit. However, there’s a new coach in Dallas and learning what Mike McCarthy wants from each player, and how best to give it to him, will be the next goal for America’s Team.