What do we really know about the Dallas Cowboys offensive line heading into 2020?
The Dallas Cowboys have two starting offensive line spots that are up for grabs and the versatility of a few veterans could alter the way this unit moves forward. Left tackle Tyron Smith is one of the best in the league at his position and is still only 29 years old. Right guard Zack Martin could be the best guard in football and is cemented in that spot as well as rising star right tackle La’el Collins.
Barring injury, those three spots are as secure as any on this team. The real competition starts when you take a look at the left guard and center spots. Most people already know my thoughts on rookie center Tyler Biadasz. I really think that this player will be a plug and play starter.
If this indeed does happen, it will give the Dallas Cowboys a very valuable backup center in Joe Looney on game day who can also double down as a guard. Role players that can give teams versatility on game days often make the team over players that are one-trick ponies. Since teams usually only carry eight or nine offensive linemen on the active game roster, every reserve player needs to be able to play multiple spots.
Interior lineman Connor McGovern basically had a redshirt rookie season but I thought he was a steal in last year’s draft. This third-round draft pick suffered a season-ending injury last year but I think that this player has the inside track to start at left guard.
Having two inexperienced players start for this team is certainly not ideal but I think this new Dallas Cowboys coaching staff has the intestinal fortitude to do just that. Having young players learn and grow with savvy veterans is key in their development. Having them learn from some of the best in the league is invaluable.
So if you’re still with me, the starting five on this line from left to right is Tyron Smith, Conner McGovern, Tyler Biadasz, Zack Martin, and La’el Collins. The top interior reserve is Joe Looney.
Deciding the Dallas Cowboys’ swing tackle position is much harder
So many of you are probably wondering where I have last years starting guard Connor Williams? The answer is not so simple. Williams tore his ACL late last year and I think without having the opportunity to rehabilitate under the team’s supervision, he could be a step behind in the process.
Coming off of this major injury could lead the team to start him off on the physically unable to perform or PUP list to start training camp. This is why I have McGovern taking over at left guard for him. Everyone must remember, the previous coaching staff has a slight obligation to give their drafted players every opportunity to start.
If this does play out the way I think that it will, I can envision Williams kick back out to tackle, where he played in college, and take over the swing tackle role for this team. Depending on health, free-agent addition Cam Erving is the penciled in swing tackle but this former first-round pick has played all five positions in this league.
So with Erving and Williams taking up spots on this line, that leaves one maybe two open roster spots. Most people would agree that former undrafted free agent Brandon Knight could make the team if he continues to develop but I have my eye on former All American Mitch Hyatt.
Hyatt was a four-year starter for Clemson and was often involved in any college lineman award. His preseason tape from last year was atrocious as he often found himself off-balanced, overwhelmed at the point of attack, and curiously slow off the snap. The team kept him on the practice squad and I think that with a year to get stronger, his other issues are correctable.
Interior lineman Adam Redmond is also an interesting prospect as he also has made strides with strength and technique and could make the team simply based on interior numbers. Redmond ended the year on injured reserve coupled with the fact that three other players have the ability to play center would make me think he has to concentrate playing guard to be able to stick.
I am going to have to give the early ninth spot to Knight and hope the Cowboys keep a tenth in Hyatt. That is going to leave Redmond as the odd man. There are a lot of Redmond fans out there that disagree but it is easier to find guards than it is to find a tackle. Especially one with such a high pedigree as Hyatt.