Heading into this summer, there are some intriguing storylines to watch concerning one of the Dallas Cowboys’ top positional groups: The offensive line.
This offseason, eyes will once again be on the Dallas Cowboys‘ offensive line. But not for the reasons they once were. In the recent past, the Cowboys were deemed to possess the top offensive line in the NFL. And that’s due in large part to the fact Dallas devoted three first-round selections in the positional group.
That high investment has continued in recent years with the second round selection of Texas offensive tackle Connor Williams in 2018 and the addition of Penn State guard/center Connor McGovern in the third round of last month’s draft. Their strength seems to only get stronger.
yet, the Cowboys’ offensive line will be watched for a different reason this summer. Perennial Pro Bowlers like left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick, and right guard Zack Martin all struggled with health issues in 2018. The biggest being Frederick, who was forced to miss the entire season as he recovered from an autoimmune disease (Guillain-Barré syndrome).
Entering this offseason, the Cowboys are hoping for a healthy return from all three of their star offensive lineman including Frederick. But a new year brings new issues. The two biggest questions surrounding this positional group outside of health concerns are: Who will start at left guard in 2019? And is this the last season La’el Collins is on the roster?
The battle for who will start at right guard will be one to watch this summer. Last season, rookie Connor Williams started eight games before injury got him Wally Pipped and replaced by veteran Xavier Su’a-Filo. Williams has apparently lived in the weight room this offseason and will try to regain his starting role.
Early reports out of OTA’s have the Cowboys working Connor Williams at left tackle, possibly in preparation for Collins’ eventual exit. The four-year veteran is scheduled to become a free agent in 2020. And the Cowboys aren’t expected to re-sign Collins due to their current heavy salary investment in other players along the line.
If rookie Connor McGovern is able to impress this summer, the Cowboys could consider making him their starting left guard instead of Williams. Expect Su’a-Filo to be in the mix as well.
Where things become really interesting for the Dallas Cowboys and the future of their offensive line is if undrafted rookies like tackles Brandon Knight or Mitch Hyatt can actually make some noise this summer. We could see the Cowboys go heavy on the depth chart at offensive line in order to keep their talent in-house as well as considering the health concerns from last season.