After beginning the free agency period relatively quietly, the Dallas Cowboys finished off this weekend with a bang. After signing two wide receivers in Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson, the Cowboys brought in two veteran offensive linemen as well – Cameron Fleming and Marcus Martin.
Of the two offensive linemen, however, Cameron Fleming is probably the most interesting. The former fourth round pick of the New England Patriots was in-and-out of the starting lineup a season ago, but did start each game down the stretch. At 6'6″ 320 pounds Fleming is a big-bodied tackle who is expected to bring solid depth to a Cowboys offensive line which certainly lacked it in 2017.
Overall, Fleming is simply a fine player. He was well coached in New England, and his highs on tape are decently-high, but he was riddled with inconsistencies at times. Fleming is a very strong player, but isn't someone who gets a ton of movement at the line of scrimmage. Often times he relies on body positioning or double team help to get defenders out of holes.
In pass protection, Fleming is consistent in his hand technique and did a solid job with the Patriots. He struggled with his footwork and balance at times, leading him to be caught off balance or lack recovery speed after withstanding an initial pass rush move.
Here's Cameron Fleming (right tackle number 71) working against former first round defensive end Shaq Lawson of the Buffalo Bills. Fleming gets out of his stance quickly, and kick-sets back smoothly to meet Lawson at the arc. He uses excellent hand placement here, putting the clamps on Lawson before he can hit a pass rush move.
Although this is a very impressive rep from Fleming, I would like to see him sink his hips and anchor better at the point of contact. Overall, however, this is a great job by the newest Cowboys tackle.
Later in that Buffalo game, Fleming shows off some nice run blocking ability. As I mentioned earlier, Fleming rarely dominates his opponents, but he does do a good job of sealing off lanes in the run game.
Here he is at right tackle kicking out Lawson and clearing a lane for running back Dion Lewis. To be honest, Fleming won with his alignment here, and didn't have to do too much in order for this play to be successful. Still, though, this is a nice job by Fleming punching and sealing Lawson's play-side shoulder to allow for the big gain.
Lastly, here is an example of the bad from Cameron Fleming. Once again at right tackle, Fleming is supposed to power down and help his guard with the defensive tackle. He looks sort of lazy out of his stance, and doesn't come down balanced or square. This results in him looking caught off guard when the defensive tackle knocks him backwards at the snap. Plus, it appears he stepped with his outside foot first although he should have initially stepped with his inside foot to compensate for that gap.
Fleming does do a good job of re-setting his feet and getting back into a decent position, but getting knocked back that quickly is never a good rep.
All in all, I like the addition of Cameron Fleming to the Dallas Cowboys. He should provide solid depth at tackle for Dallas, and can compete with Chaz Green for the “swing tackle” job this offseason. He is a young, but experienced player who has been coached up well and is definitely worth taking a chance on.