After passing on all available offensive linemen during the 2017 NFL Draft, the Cowboys decided to add a few through undrafted free agency. One of the bigger names which was signed to a deal after the draft concluded was Arkansas Razorbacks offensive tackle Dan Skipper.
Standing at 6'10” 309 pounds, it's pretty easy to spot Skipper when turning on the tape. For a tackle, this size and length are certainly attractive to coaching staffs who believe they may be able to fine-tune his technique and blocking skills for the next level.
You can't teach size, although Skipper's height does work against him at times as well.
Working in a pro-style offense at Arkansas, Skipper was able to flash the ability to work off combo blocks with guards and get to the second level. Skipper flashed decent athleticism at times as well, especially for his size.
Here we see Skipper (left tackle) stone the 3-technique to help out his guard before advancing to the second level and cutting off the linebacker. The Cowboys run a ton of zone-blocking schemes in run game where their tackles are asked to handle similar tasks. Skipper's experience already using these techniques is very valuable.
Once again we get an example of Dan Skipper's functional athleticism. With a good get-off, efficient feet, and strong hands, Skipper is able to reach the edge defender (7-technique) and seal the edge for a big run.
Skipper also shows strong hands when run blocking, mauling defenders once getting himself into the right position. I love when offensive linemen play with an edge, and Skipper plays like the “prick” I want all of my big uglies to be. This nastiness is one of my favorite traits of Dan Skipper.
He does, however, come with his flaws, especially in pass protection.
While his massive size can be seen as plus in many ways, it also puts him at a disadvantage at times. With his chest exposed during his kick-set, power rush moves such as a strong bull rush can knock Skipper off his track. He will need to tighten up his base and strengthen his initial punch/upper body to withstand those bull rushes.
He also must make sure to bend at the knee a bit more, and loosen up his hips.
Skipper also struggles to attain, and maintain leverage on blocks. Stiff in the hips at times, I'd like to see Skipper work his pad level down more often, and drive his hips through blocks. In the NFL, he won't be able to rely so much on being bigger and stronger than the guy across from him, which could expose his spotty technique.
Dan Skipper is a player I found myself to be higher on than most during the draft process. While I had a 5th-6th round grade on him, I certainly considered him draft-able, making his signing as an UDFA a smart move.
Inevitably, it is going to be tough for Skipper to break through this offensive line depth chart. With four almost guaranteed starters already on the roster, and guys like Chaz Green, Emmett Cleary and Jonathan Cooper seemingly assuming roles, it will certainly be an uphill climb for Skipper to make the final 53.