The Dallas Cowboys offensive line was already considered one of the best young lines in the NFL. Now, they’ve got a little more veteran experience to go along with that youth. On Tuesday, the Cowboys agreed in terms to sign free agent offensive guard Uche Nwaneri. The terms of the deal were not immediately available. A native of Garland, TX, Nwaneri is a seven-year NFL veteran who has spent his entire career as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Nwaneri was a fifth round pick for the Jags back in 2007. He played his college ball at Purdue. While in Jacksonville, the 30-year old guard started in 92 total games, including all but one game the last four seasons. The Jaguars saved $3.705 million of cap space this offseason by releasing him. Nwaneri visited both the Tennessee Titans and the Cincinnati Bengals before landing in Dallas this week.
Pro Football Focus ranked Nwaneri as the 34th best guard in the NFL last season. According to their statistics, he excelled in both pass blocking (12th) and screen blocking (10th). But Nwaneri also ranked a lowly 64th in run blocking. Which is a bit surprising especially as he was described as “a mauling inside run blocker” early in his career. And Nwaneri was also part of the O-line that help running back Maurice Jones-Drew gain a career-high 1,606 rushing yards back in 2011.
Still, we must keep these rankings in proper perspective. Nwaneri did play for a struggling Jaguars team that ranked next to last in total offense in 2013.
Now in Dallas, Nwaneri will compete for a starting role against current Cowboys guards Ronald Leary and Mackenzy Bernadeau. The opposite starting guard role should be occupied by the Cowboys 2014 first round draft pick, Zack Martin.