Although heralded among the best offensive lines in the league, the Dallas Cowboys have a need to fill among their front five. That need is at left guard, where journeyman lineman Jonathan Cooper filled in for much of the 2017 season.
I would consider Cooper's performance as relatively satisfactory, and worth bringing back on a cheap veteran contract. However, in this draft class, the Cowboys should be able to find a plug-and-play left guard within the first two days.
The first guard they should realistically target is UTEP's Will Hernandez.
Over on SlantSports.com, I completed a full scouting report on Will Hernandez, placing him in the second round of my draft board. In terms of pure guards, Hernandez is my OG2, behind only Notre Dame's Quenton Nelson.
Hernandez is a mammoth of man, weighing 330 pounds. At 6'3″, he has somewhat-prototypical size for an interior offensive linemen in the NFL. Despite his heavy playing weight, I never felt like Hernandez had movement issues. In pass protection, he was rather agile and balanced in his footwork, and he showed impressive body control in run blocking as well.
“When Hernandez gets his hands inside of you, it’s all over. He is incredibly strong in his punch, and time and time again I saw Hernandez dominate interior defensive linemen and keep them at the line of scrimmage.”
Though his strength is in pass protection, Hernandez is consistent as a run blocker as well.
Often he was able to quickly move the defensive tackle out of the hole, positioning himself to seal wide running lanes for the skill players. He typically didn't drive defenders off the line of scrimmage, but he was consistently effective as a blocker.
Hernandez's hands are incredibly strong, and when his hands get inside, the defender has no chance. He plays with a mean streak, and finishes blocks well.
“He also plays with a mean streak, and looks to finish blocks. Hernandez works very well in double teams, getting hip to hip with the tackle or center and pushing the down lineman into the linebacker’s lap.”
Will Hernandez would be a fantastic option for the Cowboys with the 50th overall selection. He's a plug-and-play guard prospect who would instantly make their offensive line better than it was a season ago.
Clearly, the Cowboys have more pressing needs in the first round, but drafting an offensive linemen on day two should be strongly considered.