Do the Dallas Cowboys have an issue at swing tackle?
Could the Dallas Cowboys be shopping for another swing tackle this summer after Cameron Fleming posted a worrisome offseason performance?
When the Dallas Cowboys inked offensive tackle Cameron Fleming to a reported two-year deal worth up to $8.5 million in March, it appeared the team was locking up their critical swing tackle position with a quality veteran who won’t turn 27-years old until September.
Fleming playing in 14 games last season in Dallas and was named the starter for three of them. Those starts coming in Week 12, 13 and 17. Pro Football Focus gave Fleming his highest rating of the season in his Week 13 start against the New Orleans Saints, posting a strong 83.7 grade as a pass blocker. Unfortunately in Fleming’s next start, Week 17 against the New York Giants, he posted his worst performance of the year earning low grades of 29.5 for pass blocking and 50.4 for run blocking.
It’s that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde nature to Fleming’s game that should have fans of the Cowboys worried. Much like former third-rounder Chaz Green before him, you never quite know what kind of performance you’ll get out of the sixth-year tackle.
Here’s what football analyst for DallasCowboys.com’s Bryan Broaddus revealed during a mailbag question on the team’s official website recently about Fleming’s inconsistent play this offseason.
"“Tyron Smith appears fine but with his various medical concerns you don’t know when those issues will pop up. As far as the back up plan, at this moment it’s Cam Fleming but I have my own concerns there. He wasn’t as sharp as he needed to be in OTAs and minicamp.”"
Obviously, there is only so much you can analyze during OTAs and minicamp as the contact is limited and the players aren’t in pads. So it’s fair to reserve judgment until training camp is well underway in Oxnard, California late next month.
But the fact Dallas invested a new two-year deal in Fleming is worrisome. It appears the Cowboys do have a backup plan as 2018 second rounder Connor Williams spent some time playing at left tackle this offseason after starting eight games of his rookie season at left guard. Both Williams and Fleming are projected to be candidates to replace starting right tackle La’el Collins in 2020 as the veteran is in the final year of his current contract in Dallas.
Beyond Williams, the Cowboys have first-year tackle Jake Campos in the mix. They also have a talented trio of undrafted rookies in Mitch Hyatt, Brandon Knight, and Derrick Puni who could also compete for a roster spot.
If the Dallas Cowboys are unhappy about what they see from Cameron Fleming this summer, don’t be surprised if the team looks to the waiver wire during final cuts in order to find themselves some insurance at the position.
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