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Cowboys Position Battle Evaluations: Offensive Line

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Cowboys Blog - Cowboys Position Battle Evaluations: Offensive Line

Coming off a year when three of the starting Offensive Lineman went to the Pro Bowl, along with those same three making All-Pro Teams (Zack Martin, Tyrone Smith, and Travis Frederick); with Frederick being the lone second team All-Pro, you would believe the Offensive Line would be set going into the Regular Season. Well, the starting lineup is.

Yet, quite a few questions remain regarding the quality of depth along the line. Left Tackle to Right Tackle will again be:

  • Tyrone Smith
  • Ronald Leary
  • Travis Frederick
  • Zack Martin
  • Doug Free

La'el Collins, whom many thought would take Ronald Leary's position at Left Guard, simply has not shown that he is ready for a starting nod. I never thought he would walk in and start on a unit that had become one of the best, if not the best in the NFL. He needed to be clearly better than Leary; despite Leary missing a lot of Training Camp with injuries, Collins was not able to capitalize on the additional reps. While he has shown improvement through camp, the idea of him supplanting Leary was quickly put to rest.

Other than those six, I see the following making the Final 53:

  • Darrion Weems
  • Mackenzy Bernadeau

Weems did nothing else during Training Camp other than make me wish that third round draft pick Chaz Green was healthy. I have seen very little that should leave Offensive Line Coach Frank Pollack comfortable with Weems being the primary Swing Tackle. He has made numerous mistakes with his technique in pass sets. He also has not blown anyone off the ball with his run blocking with any consistency either.

The team could carry anywhere from eight to ten on the Offensive Line on the 53.

Weems' performance leads me to believe the team will call on Will McClay after the final cuts to see if they can claim another Tackle that could be the primary backup at one of the positions while Weems strictly backs up at the other. I am not comfortable enough with his work to feel he can carry the workload that he would need to prepare for both Tackle positions.

Bernadeau is a reliable Guard who has also received some work at Center. I would be shocked if he was not kept around, especially after starting in place of Zack Martin against Minnesota. While he is a step down in talent from both starting Guards, he is reliable enough to step in and give a solid effort if needed.

That leaves a discussion for Shane McDermott and Ronald Patrick to see which can make the Practice Squad. Both have worked at Center, I have personally seen more out of McDermott who they may keep on the 53. McDermott has been one of the only decent performers when we get to the third string and beyond Offensive Line unit.

Then finally a decision comes down to John Wetzel and Laurence Gibson at Tackle. There is a chance they may place Wetzel on the 53 and cut him after if they can claim an upgrade at Tackle. He was better than RJ Dill, but that is not a roaring endorsement of his camp performance, as Dill was honestly awful.

Gibson has been a project for Offensive Assistant Marc Colombo, he improved through Training Camp but is looked at as a developmental project. I feel if it came down to he or Wetzel on the Practice Squad that they would choose Gibson.

While the starting Offensive Line is set, there still remains quite a few questions around the depth behind them.

This is the most likely position to see an addition made to after the final cuts, while we all hope for the health of the starters, they will make sure the depth is improved before the opener against the New York Giants.



Avid Cowboys fan that will provide analytical analysis to the Draft, Film, and everything related to the team. You can find me @TheRealSmoothG on twitter.

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Free Agency: Week One Recap

Jess Haynie

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Tavon Austin

It's been just a week since NFL free agents could begin negotiating with other teams, but it feels like a lifetime for anxious Cowboys fans. Dallas' seemingly passive approach to 2019 free agency has left many disappointed. Still, there are some moves to recap.

As has become their strategy in recent years, the Cowboys have focused on filling up their depth chart and trying to avoid any glaring holes prior to next month's draft. They've re-signed several backups and added at least one likely rotation player.

It's still far too early to judge Dallas' activity. Comparing the 2019 roster to last year will depend heavily on the draft, growth from current players, and other factors. But with the "second wave" of free agency upon us, it's a good time to look at who's come, gone, and stuck around so far.

New Arrivals

  • TE Jason Witten (unretired)
  • TE Codey McElroy (Rams)
  • DT Christian Covington (Texans)

The biggest addition so far this offseason wasn't even a free agent, at least not in the purest sense of the term. Jason Witten's surprising return from retirement helped shore up one of Dallas' biggest needs, though it may not preclude them from drafting a tight end high in April.

Also at tight end, Dallas signed developmental project Codey McElroy. His experience is in baseball and basketball, having played just one year of college football. But at 6'6'" and 255 lbs., and having spent last year working with the Rams, the Cowboys must see something they're intrigued by.

Last week Dallas signed Christian Covington, who had 3.5 sacks for Houston in 2018 playing as a 3-4 defensive end. He should move to DT in the Cowboys' scheme and should be a solid addition to their rotation.

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Free Agency: Week One Recap

Former Cowboys WR Cole Beasley, now with the Buffalo Bills. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

Departures

  • WR Cole Beasley (Bills)
  • TE Geoff Swaim (Jaguars)
  • DL David Irving (shenanigans)
  • LB Damien Wilson (Chiefs)

Beasley is heading to Buffalo on a four-year, $29 million deal. It appeared the relationship soured between Cole and Dallas over his playing time last year, and clearly the Cowboys didn't fight hard to keep him.

Damien Wilson followed Anthony Hitchens to Kansas City to help round out their linebacker corps. Once it was announced that Dallas was hanging on to Sean Lee in 2019, it was fairly certain that Wilson wouldn't be back.

Also not expected back was TE Geoff Swaim, who signed with Jacksonville. Even before Witten came back, Dallas appeared likely to stick with Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz for returning talent and then add an upgrade via free agency or the draft.

While still a free agent, nobody expects David Irving back in Dallas or even the NFL after recent activities. Irving appears focused on a Hollywood career and advocating for medical marijuana use at this point.

Keepers

  • FB Jamize Olawale
  • WR Tavon Austin
  • WR Allen Hurns (team option)
  • OT Cam Fleming
  • G/C Joe Looney (team option)
  • DE DeMarcus Lawrence (franchise tag)
  • DT Daniel Ross (ERFA)
  • LB Justin March-Lillard
  • S Darian Thompson

While Dallas put the franchise tag on prized pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence, his return in 2019 is far from settled. Lawrence has previously sworn he wouldn't play under a second franchise tag this year, and last we heard the two sides are far apart on a long-term deal. Could a holdout be on the horizon?

The Cowboys doubled-down on WR depth by re-signing Tavon Austin and exercising their team option on Allen Hurns' contract. Both are able to play out of the slot, meaning we could see more of a rotation approach to replacing Cole Beasley next year.

Dallas also re-signed fullback Jamize Olawale, which was a surprise given his low usage rate last year. Perhaps the change to Kellen Moore at offensive coordinator was behind this one, hoping to take better advantage of Olawale's receiving skills going forward.

Joe Looney and Cam Fleming will also be back as valuable backups on the offensive line. Looney started 16 games last year at center and also helps at guard, while Fleming will be the swing tackle once again for his second season in Dallas.

On defense, Dallas kept Daniel Ross in their DT rotation after solid performance in 2018. Justin March-Lillard return at linebacker, particularly for his value on special teams. And Darian Thompson, a former third-round pick by the Giants, is back as an ongoing developmental player.

~ ~ ~

Today we're already seeing a flourish of free agent activity in Dallas. Reports this morning have them meeting with WR Randall Cobb and S Clayton Geathers, and we haven't even had lunch yet.

If this is any indication, next week's recap may have a lot more to discuss.



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REPORT: Cowboys Visiting With Free Agent S Clayton Geathers Today

Jess Haynie

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REPORT: Cowboys Visiting With Free Agent S Clayton Geathers Today

The Cowboys appear to be waking up in 2019 free agency. After a report earlier that they're meeting with WR Randall Cobb, now they're also visiting with Safety Clayton Geathers. He's spent the last four years with the Indianapolis Colts and was a starter and team captain in 2018.

Geathers missed four games last season with a neck injury but still had 89 tackles on the year. He has yet to get an interception since entering the league in 2015, but hasn't been a full-time starter for much of that time.

Field Yates on Twitter

Free agent S Clayton Geathers is visiting the Cowboys today, per source. He was a team captain for the Colts last season, starting 12 games and recording 89 tackles.

At 6'2" and 220 lbs., Geathers is every bit of a strong safety. He is likely being considered to compete with Jeff Heath for the starting role and otherwise provide depth.

Clayton's rookie contract expired this year, making him available as a free agent. He turns 27 in June and was a fourth-round pick in 2015.

This is still just a visit and a signing is hardly guaranteed. But at the least, the Cowboys seem to be becoming far more active in this second wave of free agency.



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REPORT: Cowboys Visiting With Free Agent WR Randall Cobb Today

Jess Haynie

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Randall Cobb

The Dallas Cowboys are hosting free agent Receiver Randall Cobb today at The Star, according to ESPN's Todd Archer. Cobb has spent all eight of his NFL season thus far with the Green Bay Packers.

After losing Cole Beasley to the Buffalo Bills in free agency, and with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup entrenched as starters, Dallas must be considering Cobb to help them at slot receiver.

Todd Archer on Twitter

The Cowboys are hosting free-agent wide receiver Randall Cobb at The Star today, according to a source. With the departure of Cole Beasley, the Cowboys are looking for help at slot receiver and Cobb can also play on the outside. In eight years in Green Bay, he had 470 catches...

This move is a bit surprising after Dallas chose to keep both Tavon Austin and Allen Hurns from last year. Both veterans are capable of playing out of the slot, as is Amari Cooper.

Cobb, however, may bring more upside. He's struggled injuries lately but was a key part of the Packers' offense for several years. He went to the Pro Bowl in 2014 with nearly 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Turning 29 in August, Randall's contract expired in Green Bay and he remains a free agent. The Cowboys are likely hoping to replace Cole Beasley's skill set at a discounted price.

It's been a slow free agency period for Dallas thus far, and Randall Cobb wouldn't be a glamorous addition. However, any activity would make anxious Cowboys fans happy at this point.



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