Only three days remain until the 2012 NFL draft and as the anticipation intensifies team draft boards are constantly evolving with last minute alterations. With events such as this weekend’s arrest of Nebraska Cornhuskers’ defensive back Alfonzo Dennard and last week’s final pre-draft visit to Valley Ranch by LSU Tiger Michael Brockers teams are rearranging draft boards across the league.
Regardless of draft boards, rumors and last minute visits the Cowboys will need to address the center position of the offensive line and the team could end up doing just that as early as the second round. If choosing to do in the second round, the Cowboys will need a can’t miss center and may need to trade up in order to acquire one such as Peter Konz from Wisconsin.
Every Dallas Cowboys fan who watched the team last year is well aware of the struggles at the center position. And if your a frequent visitor here to the Landry Hat then you are also aware of our affinity for Baylor Bears center Phillip Blake. Last season’s production from the center of the offensive line was border-line comical at times and dominating at other times all the while consistent inconsistency plagued the position throughout the season.
Prime examples of the inconsistencies along the front line are last season’s games against the New York Jets and the St. Louis Rams. Granted coming into Sunday night’s game against the Jets on opening weekend of the NFL season was after a lock-out shortened off season. Nonetheless the Cowboys were limited to 64 yards rushing on 26 attempts, a meager 2.4 yards per carry, against the Jets at MetLife Stadium.
Coming into week seven of last season against the Rams it was evident that inconsistencies within the offensive line existed. Never rushing for more than 64 total yards in the Cowboys’ six previous games, Dallas entered into the match-up as the league’s fourth-worst rushing offense. Yet the offensive line managed to put on a blocking clinic. A performance that helped then rookie running back DeMarco Murray amass 253 yards rushing, breaking former Cowboys great Emmitt Smith’s single-game rushing record.
Dallas has two centers on the current roster and both are undrafted free agents and in each of the last three seasons the Cowboys have went from 7th in the league in rushing during the 2009 season, to 16th in 2010 and 18th in overall rushing during last season’s compaign.
Phil Costa an undrafted free agent from Maryland became the third first-year starter on the Dallas offensive line last year and the only undrafted free agent to start the season on any team last year. Although this is an impressive feat at times last year Costa showed exactly why he went undrafted in the 2011 NFL draft. Phil Costa was 29th in the NFL among centers with 2.7% pass protection efficiency.
Toledo alum Kevin Kowalski was signed byDallasas an undrafted free agent in 2011 did show promise at times in spot duty at the center position but is still be a couple years away from the minimum talent needed to perform on a constant basis at the NFL level.
Having the young talented undrafted free agents obviously provide nice cap relief for the Dallas Cowboys as both centers are only slated to earn a combined total of just under $1,000,000 in 2012. Both Costa and Kowalski appear to be nothing more than viable back-ups providing depth along the offensive line at this point.
It’s a fact that eventual NFL journeymen are currently filling-in at center for the Cowboys. This alone is responsible for the current dilemma that has Dallas needing to address the center position, with a solid NFL caliber anchor, at center-stage in the 2012 upcoming NFL draft.
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