The spring semester kicked off last week for some and this week for others, but grades are already out!
Keep in mind that after the 2014 NFL season PFF graded the big boys up front for Dallas as the number one offensive line in the land. And you know what? The crown is staying atop the helmets with the Star on them!
That’s right. Numero uno, baby!
Prior to the 2015 season the O-Line was heralded across the country as the league’s best… and that was before the addition of La’el Collins!
Once Jerry and Co. added that extra beef to the stew of Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, and Doug Free the hype surrounding the new Great Wall of Dallas only grew, and they have delivered.
Now to be totally specific the Cowboys were graded (you can view PFF’s entire O-Line ratings here):
- 1st in Pass Blocking
- 1st in Run Blocking
- 32nd in Penalties
That last little bit is a tough pill to swallow, but it’s unsurprising given the multitude of changes that the line had to endure at every offensive position around them.
With their annual grades PFF also hands out a “stud” and “dud” for each O-Line. They deemed Tyron Smith the stud (big shocker!) and La’el Collins the dud… simply because he’s just the least best of the group. That’s like being the least cool dude in The Beatles.
I wrote a few weeks ago about an achievement attained by this line that I believe transcends any ranking they can be given – the resurrection of Darren McFadden’s career.
In my “Anyone Can Run Behind This Offensive Line” post I discussed how this team propelled a running back that many thought was past the point of significant contribution to the top tier of ball-carriers in the NFL.
Ultimately this is a game played with an oblong-shaped ball made out of leather so the bounces don’t always go your way, and the Cowboys were on the wrong side of a few injury bounces in 2015. The foundation of this team though, the offensive line, played to the level that we expected them to… even if it didn’t always feel like it.
It’s important to consider just how much of a point of strength this aspect of our team is when we’re looking at draft prospects. We boast a line that few can even come close to, and it’s evidenced by the Cowboys finishing first in PFF’s grading… for the second year in a row, mind you.
As fantastic as PFF’s #1 ranking is, the accolades won’t stop here for some of the linemen.
Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, and Tyron Smith will represent the Dallas Cowboys at the Pro Bowl next week, along with Dan Bailey and the recently added Sean Lee, so their hard work is being noticed by many beyond Pro Football Focus.
For now let’s relish in the fact that the offensive line is what we thought it was and that these boys are going to be here for a while. Life is good in the trenches for Cowboys Nation.