Dallas Cowboys 2021 NFL mock draft: The first four picks

LSU Tigers nose tackle Tyler Shelvin (Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)
LSU Tigers nose tackle Tyler Shelvin (Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Jackson Carman, Clemson TigersJackson Carman, Clemson Tigers
Jackson Carman, Clemson Tigers (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

Last season, the Cowboys’ offensive line struggled all season long due to injuries. Both starting tackles in Tyron Smith and La’el Collins both missed the majority of the season. And Dallas struggled to replace them.

While we’re not sure it’s time to start thinking about finding permanent replacements for either of them, the Cowboys surely need to upgrade the talent currently behind them. So spending a Day Two selection to do so makes sense here. Especially if we see a repeat of last year in 2021.

Perhaps an ideal selection to be insurance for both Smith and Collins at each tackle spot is a player who can compete with Connor Williams for the starting role at left guard. That player could very well be Clemson’s Jackson Carman.

Protecting quarterback Trevor Lawrence is likely the biggest feather in the cap for Carman, who is a potential first-round level talent as he’s both a good run blocker and pass protector. At 6-foot-5, 345-pound, he has the frame to play tackle but might project better at guard for some.

If Carman falls to the third round, it’s likely because NFL teams believe he still needs to develop more before taking on a starting role. Learning from Smith, Collins, and All-Pro guard Zack Martin could be the master class this rookie needs to take his game to the next level.