5. Alex Leatherwood, Tackle (Alabama)
The Dallas Cowboys have boasted one of the best offensive lines in the NFL for much of the past decade. That unit was mostly built through the draft with players like left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick, and guard Zack Martin. The three quickly became pillars of the offense, but those pillars are beginning to crumble.
Smith, the team’s seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle, turned 30-years old late last year and has been afflicted with a myriad of injuries that have prevented him from playing more than 13 games in a single season since 2015. Meanwhile, Frederick, the organizations’ five-time Pro Bowl center, unexpectedly retired before the 2020 season, leaving the unit more vulnerable than it has been in a long time.
Those developments, along with a handful of other significant injuries along with the unit, resulted in the line cracking and letting up 43 sacks last season while also struggling to open up holes in the running game.
The Cowboys offensive line has been the backbone of the team for much of the past decade and the team has done shockingly little to address this growing need this offseason thus far. While some people have speculated that Dallas might use their top pick to address this problem, in this scenario the team is able to do it in the second round by picking Alabama tackle Alex Leatherwood.
The six-foot-six, 312-pound lineman was a key part of the menacing offensive line that helped Alabama on its National Championship run. Over the past two seasons, Leatherwood has played a whopping 1,584 snaps while only allowing four sacks and six quarterback hurries.
The 22-year old has also demonstrated his versatility during his collegiate career when he was moved over to play right guard during his sophomore season. The 2020 John Outland Trophy (most outstanding offensive lineman) winner was widely considered a potential first-round draft pick last year but has a good chance to fall in a class that is absolutely stacked at the position.
The Dallas Cowboys potentially find Tyron Smith’s successor in the second-round here and they can also have the luxury of moving him inside to play left guard for the remainder of Smith’s time in Dallas. This pick would address an important and growing need for the team while also allowing the team to draft one of the best players likely to be available at this pick as well.