The Dallas Cowboys posted a disappointing 6-10 record last season in large part due to injuries. Many of which were suffered by the team’s once highly-touted offensive line.
The trio of left tackle Tyron Smith, right tackle La’el Collins, and right guard Zack Martin missed significant portions of the season due to injury. Smith played just two games, Martin played in 10, and Collins was sidelined for the entire year.
Suddenly, quality depth along the offensive line revealed itself to be a real issue in Dallas with undrafted rookie tackle Terence Steele forced to start a whopping 14 games.
And while there’s hope the starting lineup will return to Dallas healthy to start the new season, addressing the team’s offensive line needs figures to be a focus in the upcoming NFL draft. Possibly even with the team’s top draft pick.
Both Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell and Northwestern lineman Rashawn Slater are considered viable choices for the Cowboys with the 10th overall selection in the first round. But Dallas looking to add to their offensive line depth on Day Two of the draft would be more in-line with what the organization has done recently. And one analyst believes he knows the perfect candidate.
Here’s what Draft Analyst Chad Reuter wrote for NFL.com when he selected Michigan offensive tackle Jalen Mayfield as the ideal second-rounder for the Cowboys with the 44th overall pick.
"“The Cowboys signed veteran Ty Nsekhe to bolster the offensive line depth, but after witnessing the effect of multiple injuries up front in 2020, a value pick like Mayfield (who could line up at right tackle or guard) in Round 2 would make plenty of sense.”"
Dallas has a history of selecting offensive lineman on Day Two of the draft as of late. Starting left guard Connor Williams was originally a second-round selection in 2018 out of Texas. Penn State guard Connor McGovern was a third-rounder by Dallas the year after.
The Cowboys have had a recent run of successful second-rounders who have developed into starters as well. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, linebacker Jaylon Smith, pass rusher Randy Gregory, and cornerback Trevon Diggs are all former second-round picks who are expected to start for Dallas in 2021.
As for the proposed 2021 second-round prospect himself, Jalen Mayfield is 6-foot-5, 319-pounds. The college offensive tackle had only two years of starting experience at Michigan but showed potential against some of the NCAA’s top pass rushers including Ohio State’s Chase Young, who now plays for the Washington Football Team.
Landing in Dallas, Mayfield might project better on the interior of the offensive line to begin and could become the replacement for Connor Williams at starting left guard by Year Two. The inexperienced but talented prospect would certainly benefit from learning the trade from All-Pros like Tyron Smith and Zack Martin as a rookie.