Cowboys Nation was completely caught off guard earlier this week when Travis Frederick unexpectedly announced his retirement from the NFL. Dallas Cowboys fans, including myself, had absolutely zero idea Frederick was even considering hanging up his cleats. But if we would’ve been paying closer attention we probably should have.
After battling back from an autoimmune disease that wiped out his 2018 season, Frederick returned to the Cowboy starting lineup and even earned another trip to the Pro Bowl. Throughout the year though he admitted on a number of occasions he wasn’t playing to the level he expected from himself. It must’ve weighed more heavily on him then we realized, because it’s now a large reason why he’s decided to call it a career.
With Frederick gone, the Cowboys now have to figure out who will anchor their offensive line in 2020. The most logical choices are Joe Looney, who filled in for him in 2018, and Connor McGovern, last year’s third-round draft pick out of Penn State. Connor Williams is believed to be able to play all five positions on the offensive line as well, so Dallas at least has options currently on the roster.
Today though, I thought we take a look at a handful of prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft the Dallas Cowboys could target to replace Travis Frederick. For better understanding of where they may get drafted, I’ve included where each player is ranked in Draft Network’s and CBSSports overall rankings.
Cesar Ruiz, Michigan (6’3″, 307)
Rank: Draft Network (38) CBSSports (67)
Cesar Ruiz started 31 games at Michigan, 26 of those were playing at center and five at right guard. He is considered by most as the top center prospect in this year’s draft class, although Draft Network and CBSSports disagree a bit on this. He has an impressive blend of size, power, mobility, and technique, but unfortunately he’s probably a reach to take it 17 and likely won’t still be on the board at 51 for the Dallas Cowboys.
Lloyd Cushenberry III, LSU (6’3″, 313)
Rank: Draft Network (39) CBSSports (60)
Lloyd Cushenberry III saw limited action as a redshirt freshman, but started 13 games at center as a redshirt sophomore and quickly became one of the leaders of the team. He even earned the right to where the illustrious No. 18 jersey, which is pretty impressive considering who some of his teammates were. He started all 15 games last year and helped lead LSU to the National Championship. He’s arguably the most athletically gifted center in this year’s draft class.
Matt Hennessey, Temple (6’4″, 307)
Rank: Draft Network (64) CBSSports (90)
Matt Hennessey doesn’t have the same kind of name recognition as Cesar Ruiz or Lloyd Cushenberry, but he’s just as talented as either one in my opinion. He started at center for Temple the last three seasons and earned the prestigious single-digit practice jersey given to the toughest player. He’s arguably the most technically-refined center and plays with good mobility and football IQ. He’s probably a better fit in a zone blocking scheme and should be an immediate starter in the NFL.
Nick Harris, Washington (6’1″, 302)
Rank: Draft Network (95) CBSSports (74)
Nick Harris has started over 40 games at both center and guard, but projects best as a center in the NFL. He’s extremely athletic and thrives when he’s asked to pull and block in space. He’s not overly physical as a run blocker, but he’s technically sound enough to get the job done. He might be a scheme-specific prospect for a zone blocking team, which might not make him the best fit for the Dallas Cowboys who use both the zone and man blocking scheme.
Tyler Biadasz, Washington (6’4″, 314)
Rank: Draft Network (121) CBSSports (70)
Tyler Biadasz is one of the biggest center prospects in this year’s draft class, but he’s also the most inconsistent on this list. His earlier tape shows a player who plays with good functional mobility and technique, but he seemed to regress quite a bit in 2019. If he can recapture his earlier form he could become an immediate starter in the NFL. He is however schemed diverse and based on his high ceiling he’s worth a mid-round selection.