On day three of this weekend’s draft, the Dallas Cowboys made a trade with the hated Eagles in order to move up into the fourth round. The target?
Wisconsin center Tyler Biadasz.
Biadasz is a 6’5″ 315 pound redshirt junior who started all three years in college at center. Biadasz earned a multitude of awards during his collegiate career, being named a Freshman All American in 2017, first team All Big Ten in both 2018 and 2019, and won the Rimington Trophy as a unanimous All American his junior season. Pro Football Focus graded him out highly at Wisconsin, citing that he only allowed 22 pressures in his three seasons.
As you’d expect from a Wisconsin offensive lineman Biadasz plays with sound technique, but also with a mean streak to finish blocks. He plays with a nasty edge, driving defenders into the ground and playing through the whistle on every snap.
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When Biadasz gets his hands inside of you, it’s usually over. With strong hands and the frame to bring power behind them, Biadasz was able to consistently open rushing lanes for the 2,000 yard rusher Jonathan Taylor.
Most draft scouts have noted that Biadasz will be best in a map/gap running scheme, mostly due to his lack of mobility and struggles in space at the second level. I actually think he’s better in space than he’s given credit for, however, doing a good job working off double teams and working through the garbage at the LOS to adjust to linebackers.
In pass protection, Biadasz’s football IQ really shines. Similar to former Badger and Cowboy Travis Frederick, Biadasz is a natural born leader with a ton of starting experience at center. Biadasz could develop a similar rapport with quarterback Dak Prescott, helping to adjust protections and identify blitzers pre-snap.
Biadasz also showcased the ability to switch off twists and stunts in pass protection, staying on the same level as his guards to allow himself to be in position to pick these up.
While most of this piece has been heaping praise on Biadasz, there are reasons he was available in the fourth round.
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On the field he has issues at times bringing his hips through contact, which can create stalemates at the line of scrimmage.
On this play, you see Biadasz come off with a nice first step, creating first contact and getting into the defensive lineman’s frame. From there, though, things go downhill. He fails to bring his hips through contact, losing leverage and allowing the defender to get off the block to make a tackle. You can see he gets caught leaning here after contact, with his feet moving in place rather than driving forward.
What’s promising here, though, is that even as he gets beat he still works to push the pile.
Biadasz’s biggest issue is keeping his balance. Too often he lunges at contact, letting his upper body get over his base and allowing the nose tackle to rip right over him. He needs to improve consistency in his base, maintain leverage by bringing his hips and lowering his pad level, and make the most out of his excellent first step more often.
The biggest reason Biadasz was available this late in the draft, though, was injury. Not only did he play through a hip injury which clearly hurt his mobility in 2019, but he also had shoulder surgery following the season.
So what about his fit with the Cowboys?
This is an interesting question. It feels like at this point we have an open competition at center.
Veteran Joe Looney is back on a one year deal, bringing starting NFL experience with him from the 2018 season. Connor McGovern may be the clubhouse leader, as the Cowboys scouts and former coaches reportedly had a second round grade on him during the 2019 NFL Draft. McGovern missed his entire rookie season due to injury, however, so we don’t really know what they have with him yet.
Then there’s Biadasz. By all accounts, Mike McCarthy pushed hard for this pick. The Cowboys traded up for him, clearly indicating how they feel about both Biadasz as a player, and the current state of their center competition.
David Helman on Twitter: “Stephen Jones says Mike McCarthy “spoke up big time” about Tyler Biadasz. McCarthy wanted to make sure they added to the competition and “got it right” regarding the center position. / Twitter”
Stephen Jones says Mike McCarthy “spoke up big time” about Tyler Biadasz. McCarthy wanted to make sure they added to the competition and “got it right” regarding the center position.
Biadasz is going to have every opportunity to win the starting center job, and I have to wonder if head coach Mike McCarthy is rooting for him to do so.