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2020 Position Battles: Who Takes the Job at Center?

There are a lot of assumptions floating around the position battle at center for the Dallas Cowboys. Namely that Rookie fourth-round pick Tyler Biadasz will earn the starting center job over the more experienced Joe Looney.

It’s certainly possible that Biadasz wins the job. However, as I wrote last weekI wrote last week, these rookies are coming into the NFL under very different and more difficult circumstances than the players that came before them.

In a typical offseason, rookies are able to participate in a rookie minicamp, full team minicamps, offseason training activities, training camp, and four to five preseason games. COVID-19 has changed everything about this offseason.

That means fewer practice and preseason reps for a rookie like Tyler Biadasz to prove he’s the superior player.

Remember, that Joe Looney was more than capable as a starter back in 2018 when the Dallas Cowboys went to the playoffs and Ezekiel Elliott led the league in rushing. Sure, the early part of that season was a struggle, but as we found out that had more to do with the wide receiver group than the absence of Travis Frederick.

Consistency and continuity are a couple of the more underrated traits you can have on the offensive line. Joe Looney’s experience should give him the edge to be the starter while Biadasz adapts to the NFL game; at least in the early part of the season.

Biadasz certainly comes into the NFL with a lot of experience and was a Remington Award winner given to College Football’s Best Center. The Dallas Cowboys thought enough of him to move up from the fifth round to the end of the fourth to take him in the 2020 NFL Draft. The talent is there. The opportunity, however, is not.

Practice reps are incredibly valuable and this year, those reps will be few and far between. As the Dallas Cowboys assemble their roster and attempt to determine who will be the starter, they’ll be doing so with very limited information.

Now, this isn’t to say that things could change during the course of the season. As the Cowboys practice more and learn more, it may become evident that Tyler Biadasz is a better option than Joe Looney. However, as things stand and without the benefit of seeing both men against live competition, the Cowboys will have to go with what they know works and at this point in time, that’s Joe Looney.

What do you think?

John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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  1. Gotta believe Looney’s stroghold on the job is pretty strong, but if Biadiasz makes it a coin-flip call, I’m completely cool and comfortable with a rookie center on this line. It would mean he was a steal and having acquired him via a trade with Philly is just icing on the cake!

    • I agree with you there. If Biadasz can be as good as Looney early on, I’d much rather give him a shot and see if he can improve beyond that. Having Looney as a floor at the center position is pretty nice, but if Biadasz can show he has the potential to be better, roll with him and let him grow.

  2. Having a rookie starting has the benefit of that player being on rookie contract for several yrs u can plug em in and forget about them for a while. If we had the benefit of a traditional season Biasdsz could challenge for a starting nod but he is hamstrung by lack of reps at a complex position. If he were to start that would mean Looney regressed or got hurt, neither one if those are good scenarios.

    • Gary, that’s a viable perspective but note that Biadasz is actually the only guy in the so-called center rotation right now that player the position in the last year! It’s a position of intelligence, and if Biadiasz shows that he has the makeup for it, the transition won’t be as steep as some think. All he really has to learn is how to become the leader from a “calling the protections” standpoint. The bigger question is probably, is he really healed and completely healthy? I think the brass is going to be strong in their desire to have him earn the job … so much so, that if he just proves healthy and “heady”, the job could be his.

      IMO, Biadasz, Lamb, and Diggs are the rookies most likely to earn starting roles in Week-1.

  3. I can’t wait to see Lamb with the ball in his hands. Certain positions are more conducive to plug and play (WR, RB) and if ur a playmaker u can make an immediate impact with a dominant skill set. DIggs is another exceptional athlete that could make his presence felt early on.

  4. Baidasz will eventually start at some point this coming season. May need some acclimation.
    Then the battle will be between the Conners at Guard. I like that scenario. Would be a very strong Oline.

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