Jerry Jones knows the offensive line is a huge need for Cowboys in 2022 Draft
The offseason has been quite a rollercoaster for the Dallas Cowboys. The team said goodbye to many big-level players and signed a lot of depth-level free agents to remain on the roster. When Jerry Jones spoke to the media for the first time since free agency began, the reporters certainly had a plethora of questions. Aside from avoiding lawsuit questions, trying to convince people that poor decisions were actually good ones, and discussing the “great work culture” the team has, many reporters were curious about how the team would be handling the draft.
If the season started today, there would be many positional gaps. But the biggest concern would certainly be the offensive line, especially at left guard. Most of the players that the Joneses have brought back to the team are defensive signings: Jayron Kearse, Leighton Vander Esch, Dorance Armstrong, Malik Hooker, etc. The only offensive additions to the team have been WR James Washington and re-signing Michael Gallup. No moves have been made to cover the losses of Amari Cooper (unless you consider Gallup, but then who fills in for him), Connor Williams, or La’el Collins.
The Cowboys seem to have full faith in Terence Steele replacing Collins, but who knows how that will pan out. That leaves Connor McGovern to help at guard, which isn’t a great option. McGovern proved this year that he wasn’t as good as Williams when he was offered the starting position. Then, you have players who are skilled but piling up injuries with increased age such as Tyron Smith and Zack Martin. That leaves Tyler Biadasz at center. The consensus around the young center is that he is still raw and isn’t a great long-term solution.
Thankfully, this is something Jones sees. He knows that rebuilding the offensive line is a top priority for the club (among other things). The franchise needs to protect the quarterback that they are spending a lot of money on. Here’s what Jones had to say about draft priorities:
"“I think that I wouldn’t dismiss a great opportunity with a pass rusher. Obviously, I’d like to have a young offensive lineman at the positions that you could immediately come in and play…Famous last words: We’ll get [an offensive lineman] unless Lamb or Parsons is there.”"
Jerry Jones told reporters that he knows the Dallas Cowboys need to prioritize offensive linemen in the 2022 NFL Draft
His last sentence is worth noting. In the last two drafts, the Cowboys went into the weekend having very specific draft needs. Yet, when CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons were still available, they grabbed them. Those two picks certainly worked out well but also didn’t address some of the main concerns.
As far as the draft goes, some of the top offensive linemen in the class are Alabama’s Evan Neal, Mississippi State’s Charles Cross, and Iowa’s Tyler Linerbaum. The problem is that those names will likely be long gone before the Cowboys have a chance to select at 24th overall. However, Texas A&M’s Kenyon Green and Boston College’s Zion Johnson are still great options for Dallas that will more than likely still be on the board.
Dallas has had major success when picking offensive linemen in the first round. The last two OL guys selected in the first round (Zack Martin and Travis Frederick) went on to be multi-time Pro Bowlers.
There are also veteran options still in free agency. However, as we have clearly seen, the Cowboys love to stay internal and spend as little money as possible. Maybe if guys like Will Hernandez and Trai Turner remain on the board long enough, their price tags will drop and the Joneses will swoop in. It’s always fascinating/infuriating to talk about how a billionaire seems unwilling to spend more than bargain bin money to better him team.
At the end of the day, the Cowboys know that both offensive and defensive line are big needs going into 2022. Since zero moves have been made to address the OL, let’s hope Jones sticks by his word and prioritizes that position in the 2022 NFL Draft.