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Could Cowboys Target Boise St OT Ezra Cleveland in 2020 NFL Draft?

A primary goal for the the last several years has been building and maintaining one of the league's best offensive lines. That evergreen objective requires constant attention, and could mean that Dallas will spend one of their premium 2020 draft picks on the o-line. One potential target is Boise State Ezra Cleveland.

Cleveland checks a few boxes for the Cowboys this season. With veteran swing Cam Fleming headed to the Giants, Dallas is looking for a new primary backup. Ezra has been a standout for the last few years with the Broncos.

The Cowboys do have as a potential swing option but his is on the right side. Can he step in and play left tackle if goes down?

Another prospect on the roster, , was a left tackle at Clemson but went undrafted last year. He spent 2019 on the .

Ezra Cleveland isn't going to go undrafted. In fact, he should be off the board before Saturday. He is widely considered a mid-round prospect and has been mocked as high as the late , but mostly in Rounds 2-3.

In addition to a higher perceived upside than Knight or Hyatt, at least coming out of college, Cleveland played at the Cowboys' favorite feeder school. The Cowboys have drafted more players out of Boise State than any other program the last 12 years, going back to CB in 2008.

You may be thinking, “Dallas has bigger needs right now. This would be a wasted pick!” But really, both short-term and long-term, it could make a lot of sense.

Tyron Smith
Dallas Cowboys OT Tyron Smith

In the short-term, Cleveland may be able to walk onto the roster and provide superior depth at left tackle than other current options. But his real value could come in the not-so-distant future.

Tyron Smith is still one of the top left tackles in football but has been struggling to stay healthy for a while now. He's missed three games every year from 2015-2019 and had to leave a few others injured.

While only turning 30 this December, Smith's put in nine seasons as a full-time starter. And after what we just saw with 's , who knows how much longer Tyron wants to play?

Even if Smith wants to keep going, the Cowboys may not be in for the long haul. in 2021, Smith could be released for about $10.5 million in space. Those savings increase to about $13.5 million in either 2022 or 2023.

Again, think about what just happened with Frederick. While re- appears to be the immediate solution to losing Travis, is another option. Last year's third-round pick, McGovern should at least be able to fill in as a key backup at and if he doesn't push for a starting job.

Having Ezra Cleveland, or a comparable mid-round tackle prospect, already on staff would help protect Dallas against a similar future issue at offensive tackle.

Yes, there are bigger needs. and are chief concerns and I expect will be addressed in the first two rounds, though with , , and all also on the board

But if Ezra Cleveland slides into Round 3, depending on who the Cowboys have already drafted and what else they do during the next four weeks of , then I think he will definitely be on Dallas' radar. It would be consistent with their recent draft behavior and their predilection for Boise State products.

Jess Haynie
Jess Haynie
Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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