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NFL Draft

Luxury or Need for Cowboys to Draft Another 1st-Round OL?

Brian Martin



Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, offensive line

Due to growing concerns about Tyron Smith's availability and future health, due to reoccurring back injuries, there seems to be a growing consensus among Dallas Cowboys fans that there's a need to draft an offensive lineman with the first-round pick. But, is it actually a need, or would it be more of a luxury?

There is legitimate concern about Tyron Smith and his future health.

Back injuries have a way of flaring up at the most inopportune times. It's also not an injury that's going away anytime soon, if ever. This is the unknown the Cowboys are faced with heading into the off-season, and it could end up having a major impact on the direction they go in the 2018 NFL Draft.

There seems to be a growing consensus around Cowboys Nation that the Dallas Cowboys should seriously consider selecting the best available offensive tackle with the 19th overall pick.

There are probably two reasons for this:

  1. Tyron Smith's health concerns, and
  2. the need to upgrade the swing tackle position after watching Byron Bell and Chaz Green play in 2017.

But, the question remains: is drafting yet another offensive lineman in the first-round a luxury or need for the Dallas Cowboys?

Personally, I can see both sides of this argument. So, let's break it down a little and examine each.


Zack Martin

Dallas Cowboys RG Zack Martin

The Dallas Cowboys have already invested an enormous amount of resources to build arguably the best offensive line in the NFL.

They've spent three first-round draft picks to acquire Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin, two of which have already received long-term extensions with Martin waiting in the wings.

That's a lot of money devoted to one position, which ultimately means the Cowboys have to go cheaper in other areas in order to fit under the salary cap. This is the money that would be used in free agency to acquire some of those higher-priced free agents fans are always hankering for.

It also can be used to re-sign some of the Cowboys players at other positions, such as DeMarcus Lawrence.

But, it's not only the money that makes drafting a first-round OL a luxury.

Four out of five of the Cowboys OL are already pretty much set in stone. The left guard position is really the only unoccupied position right now, but that could be filled rather easily. This, of course, is assuming Tyron Smith stays healthy, but regardless, he is the starting left tackle when the 2018 season begins.


Byron Bell

Dallas Cowboys OL Byron Bell

There's no reason to believe Tyron Smith will be able to play an entire 16-game season going forward. The last two seasons he has had to sit out several games due to injuries, and unfortunately his back issues aren't going away anytime soon.

To make matters worse, Dallas doesn't have an adequate backup, which was proven on more than one occasion in 2017. Hence the need.

With the exception of the quarterback, the left tackle position is arguably the most important on offense. They protect the QB's blindside and are largely responsible for keeping him healthy and upright.

There's a reason they are drafted so highly and paid so handsomely: they are that important to a team's success.

There was also a reason the Dallas Cowboys offense started to sputter once Tyron Smith started missing time. Opposing defenses no longer respected the Cowboys LT, and started putting their best pass rusher on that side to get after Dak Prescott.

Prescott ended up having happy feet and it had a ripple effect throughout the entire offense, and not in a good way.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Quite honestly, I think it would be a luxury to draft any kind of offensive lineman with the Cowboys' first-round selection, but I wouldn't be completely surprised if that's the direction they went. There are positives and negatives to both sides of the argument.

But, if they stick to the draft board and an OL is their highest rated player there, I say go for it.

The only thing we can do is have faith that the Dallas Cowboys know more about Tyron Smith's health and his availability to play then we do as fans. If they decide to draft an offensive lineman early, I think we should all take that as an indication that they are worried about Smith, at least a little bit.

Luxury or Need: Do the Cowboys draft a first-round OL?

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

  • John McClain

    I believe if Vita Vea is their he would be the best pick the Cowboys can get otherwise a linebacker or wide receiver plus the Cowboys need to cut Dez.

    • Brian Martin

      I think that would be a great pick for the Cowboys. At LB keep an eye on Tremaine Edmonds out of Virginia Tech. I think he’s going to climb up draft boards and could be in play for the Cowboys at 19.

      • EverybodyTalks

        I have been fired up about Roquan, but Tremaine is right up there also. He is likely there at 19. Maybe his brother, Terrell, becomes our Safety. The Smiths brothers and the Edmunds brothers on the same team…hmmm.

        • Brian Martin

          That would definitely make things interesting.

        • jglousa210

          Jaylon is trash and was a wasted pick. We need a true middle lb and secondary studs.

          • EverybodyTalks

            Haters gonna hate. I, for one, think he was a great pick. If Jaylon can impress Sean Lee, then that’s good enough for me.

    • jglousa210

      We’re not cutting dez after we just paid him lol. Do you not know how contracts work? And a WR? Lmfao we need defense. Not more wrs when we already have a bunch.

      • John Mcclain

        210 I would actually bet money if I knew you that we will cut Dez. He’s not earning his money and if you actually read about his contract the Cowboys can save 8 million dollars on this years cap by making him a post June cut

  • Quavion Harris

    Derwin James is what we are missing can someone please get his name in the discussion please

    • Brian Martin

      I’m sure he’s in the discussion, but I doubt he still on the board when the Cowboys are on the clock at 19.

      • Quavion Harris

        Yah I’m sure he’ll be gone by then but he is the kind of player to trade up for.

        • Brian Martin

          I’m not a fan of trading up in most cases. It rarely works out.

          • Quavion Harris

            Come on now I’m sure you’ve seen him play he is the chess piece we’re missing

          • Brian Martin

            He’s a good player, but still pretty raw. I don’t know how much his addition would upgrade the Cowboys defense. I think the Cowboys would have a hard time passing him up if he’s there though.

  • Randy Martin

    The reality is both Guard and Tackle are positions of need but are they a big enough need that we have to take one at 19? Most agree that some of losses we had during the season were because we couldn’t adequately replace the injured Smith. As you said that is going to be an ongoing health concern and you only have 3 options: 1) expect that someone currently on the roster will improve enough to fill in; 2) find someone via free agency; or 3) draft one. In the first round you have a few players to consider. At guard, some say is the safest pick in the entire draft is Quenton Nelson. He will be off the board at 19 so he is out of the discussion. Tackles are always a need in the NFL because of their importance to protect the QB and the fact that CFB doesn’t supply enough good ones. There are two or three first round prospects in Connor Williams, Mike McGlinchey and maybe Orlando Brown, though he is still a bit of a project. The first two may or may not be on the board at 19 but I’m thinking they are gone so it might be a moot discussion. However, despite what we have tied up in money on the line that shouldn’t be a concern because we are talking about 4+1 years down the road and who knows what the health of our existing nucleus will be. It’s a position we always need to replenish. All of that being said, outside of Brown, if one of the other three were on the board it wouldn’t bother me if they took one of them but I’d prefer they look in a subsequent round and focus on either LB or WR with that pick.

    • Brian Martin

      There’s another name to consider in that LT group you mentioned… Jamarco Jones, Ohio State. I actually like him better than Orlando Brown. But, everything you said is true. I just think the Cowboys need to stick to the draft board regardless of position for the most part.

      • Randy Martin

        Yeah Jones is a consideration but not in play at 19 which is within the context of your write-up. I like Jones but maybe in the 2-3 range.

        • Brian Martin

          I think he’s going to start rising up draft boards once we get further into the process. I don’t know if he’s a consideration at 19, but he could be a trade back option.

  • TexasX

    An O-lineman is a dire need. Tyron Smith’s back and leg ailments are related. They have not been fixed. What you saw in 2017 is what you will see in 2018. The offense depends on the line dominating. Dallas could trade for a second first round selection if there is a special wide receiver available. Try to shore up the defensive line in the second round.

    • Brian Martin

      I think it’s definitely a concern, but I don’t know if using their first-round draft pick on another OL is wise considering all of the resources/money already invested in that area.

  • EverybodyTalks

    Trying to decide if Swing Tackle is more important then Guard…not sure? Both Smith and Collins have had injuries, so there is that. I would like to see them go DL or OL in the first round. Agree on Vita Vea – total disruptor…total freak!

    • Brian Martin

      I think if they take another tackle early in the draft, then they probably are considering moving La’el Collins back inside to LG. At least, that’s what I would look into.

      • EverybodyTalks

        OT seems a bigger priority to me, not as a starter, but as a swing. I think Cooper can be resigned. I’m just curious if Jonathon found his old self, as a 1st rounder, or if the Line makes him better? I also question if Collins is a better guard or a better tackle? He is a damn good athlete. With 10 picks in the upcoming draftI l can see a Jonathon Jones in the 3rd or 4th. Sean Welsh is classified as a center, but has played guard. Looney says he wants to start for someone. Lots of questions, but to me, the O-line is why Dak is good, why the WRs get open and why Zeke has holes to run through. OL is a need.

        • Brian Martin

          I can’t argue with anything you said. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

  • Tyler Cardon

    I like the idea of the cowboys filling their draft board with Gaurd, Tackle, D-Tackle, DB and WR for the first 2 rounds and whoever falls our way we take. The team has room for each of those positions to be a day 1 upgrade in 2018, and a long term need extending past 2018. And, I think any one of those spots could also “get by” with a mid round pick (since we have extras coming our way with comp picks this year). We’re In a good spot with the ability to re-sign guys in those positions if needed. Or, let guys go and bring in starters in the first two rounds…

    • Brian Martin

      Tyler, you’re exactly right. This will be an interesting draft.

  • Russ_Te

    I also think it’s best-available, and hopefully an impact OT, WR, RDE or LB will fall to 19. It may not be likely the Cowboys will move up in the 1st, but probably is that they deal some of the compensatory picks to move up in later rounds.

    They always find talented project picks, which is a great way to get impact guys down the draft if they hit. Most will bust, but a hit at one of those spots this year will go a long way.

    Remember that Garrett did not post winning seasons until Dallas invested in the OL and paired it with a talented RB. Not Romo, Parcells, T.O. – nothing got this team to contention before that. It has to be religion – you don’t win if you don’t win in the trenches. So OT / Swing OL has to receive attention this year. Don’t wait until it is depleted again.

    • Brian Martin

      The Cowboys should have plenty of options at 19. I think they could go any direction there with the exception of maybe QB and RB.

  • jglousa210

    Defense wins championships, until the cowboys realize that were gonna suck forever. All this wasted money on offense when the defense still gives up 30 points a game. If a defense does its job our offense only has to score 2 to 3 times to win a game instead of 5 to 7 scores to win because our defense shits the bed every Sunday.

    • Tyler Cardon

      7 of our 9 picks last year were defense.. including 1st, 2nd and 3rd round. They get it, defense is important. Ya know what else is important? Keeping the defense off the field. That’s why online and sustained drives helps the defense as much or more than adding a player to the defensive unit. I agree we need to help out the defense, but I’m not convinced that adding a player to the roster is the only way to do that

  • Andre Hickman

    it is definitely a luxury. what the Cowboys need to be drafted as a linebacker and then worry about taking the best player left on the board.

NFL Draft

Can Powers of Persuasion Help Make Will Hernandez a Cowboy?

Brian Martin



Can Powers of Persuasion Make Will Hernandez a Dallas Cowboy?

There is no shortage of NFL hopefuls who would like to become a member of the Dallas Cowboys in the 2018 NFL Draft. But, not one of them have used their powers of persuasion to make their intentions known as much as former UTEP offensive guard Will Hernandez.

Throughout the entire draft process, Will Hernandez has done nothing but stand out when given the opportunity. He first started to make waves at the 2018 Senior Bowl, where he pretty much dominated his competition. Then, he improved his draft stock even more by putting on a show at the Scouting Combine.

The 6'2", 330 pound offensive guard has likely cemented himself as a surefire first-round draft pick and is arguably the second-ranked OG in the entire 2018 draft class. He is a plug-and-play prospect for any team who drafts him, but he has made his intentions well known that he would love to play for the Dallas Cowboys.

Back in February, Will Hernandez was spotted hanging out with the Cowboys bookend offensive tackles, Tyron Smith and La'el Collins, to see the premiere of the movie Death Wish, starring Bruce Willis.

Will Hernandez on Twitter

@PujolsFive Cowboys fans will appreciate this post!! ⭐️ Movie Premiere #Deathwish Great movie!

To see Will Hernandez rubbing elbows with a few of the Dallas Cowboys talented offensive lineman only strengthened the connection for Hernandez becoming a draft pick by America's Team. But, this wasn't the only time the former UTEP offensive guard was seen out with a Cowboys player.

In March, he was once again seen out on the town with the Cowboys All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith.

Will Hernandez on Twitter

Huge blessing being surrounded by players like this 👊🏽👊🏽

All of this can probably be chalked up to a current player hanging out with an NFL hopeful, but as a Cowboys fan you want to believe it's more than just a coincidence.

The Dallas Cowboys without a doubt need a new starting left guard. It can be argued it's the team's biggest need this offseason and Will Hernandez fits the bill to a T. He would immediately upgrade the entire offensive line and solidify the unit for years to come.

The only problem is, the Dallas Cowboys have already invested quite a bit in their offensive line and taking Will Hernandez in the first round would be considered by some as overkill. I for one wouldn't be opposed to taking him at 19 if he is the top rated player when the Cowboys are on the clock.

It's hard to know if seeing Will Hernandez hanging out with Tyron Smith and La'el Collins improves his chances of being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, but it definitely doesn't hurt. Offensive lines around the NFL perform at their best when they play as a cohesive unit, so developing a bond already could be viewed as a good thing.

Who knows, maybe Will Hernandez's powers of persuasion will pay off and end up being the deciding factor to help him become the next first-round offensive lineman drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.

Do you read anything into Will Hernandez hanging out with Cowboys players?

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NFL Draft

Keeping Dez Bryant Shouldn’t Stop Cowboys From Drafting Calvin Ridley

Mauricio Rodriguez



Butch Dill / Getty Images

With NFL Free Agency buzz at full speed this week, Dez Bryant is one of the most intriguing names in the Dallas Cowboys world. We all know the story. We've been talking about it since last season. Bryant, who was once among the "Top WR of the league" conversation, doesn't look like an elite player anymore.

That doesn't mean he is a bad football player, but the problem is that he's getting paid big time.

The Dallas Cowboys, who have struggled with cap space for many years now, may want to avoid paying $16.5M to a player who isn't justifying his paychecks on the field. Big name and all, it certainly doesn't feel that way.

His lack of production on the field the last three years is concerning, even though he's played with quarterbacks not named "Tony Romo." There are other receivers around the league who have played with bad quarterbacks and have still been able to produce.

Even still, it wouldn't be easy to replace Bryant on the offense just like that. Right now, top free agents are already off the market, so if Dallas wants to replace him, it'd have to be via trade or via the NFL Draft.

Jane Slater on Twitter

ICYMI: A few things to consider as we wait on news about Dez Bryant's future with the Dallas Cowboys

Right now, it seems that Dez is going to remain a Dallas Cowboy and after seeing the contracts other receivers in the league are about to get, who knows if a pay cut will even enter the equation.

Even if Dez keeps wearing the Star every week next season, wide receiver is still one of the team's top needs. Despite the fact that Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams and Jason Witten are some very well-known names, the truth is this offense needs a guy who can create separation and be harmful as a deep threat.

This is a draft class with a lot of depth at wide receiver, and the Cowboys could find contributors at the second or later rounds. Even still, if they're on the clock at 19 and Alabama's Calvin Ridley is available, the front office should pull the trigger.

Yes, even if Dez is still on the team.

Despite last year's struggles, we shouldn't lose faith on the Cowboys' offense when it has a lot of talent. We believed in this group to take us to the Super Bowl. What they are missing could just be a new, dynamic wide receiver.

Dallas Cowboys Reportedly Set to Meet with Alabama WR Calvin Ridley 1

Alabama Crimson Tide WR Calvin Ridley (John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

Calvin Ridley is by far the best WR in the Draft this year and will be an impact player anywhere he goes. Despite a poor showing in the Combine, Ridley proves to be worthy of a first round pick on tape. Ideal route-running, great ability to separate and more than enough speed for the NFL.

This would certainly take a lot of pressure off Cole Beasley's shoulders, who was constantly double-teamed last year. Sure, he's still good, but if he continues to run into double-coverage, Dak Prescott and company will probably continue to struggle another year.

It's tough to imagine Calvin Ridley being available at 19, especially with the Baltimore Ravens holding the 16th overall pick. However, some people believe there's a 50/50 chance he's available once Dallas is on the clock. If that's the case, the Cowboys shouldn't pass on this prospect.

Ridley could very well end up being the most productive receiver for the Cowboys in 2018 becoming an essential "best friend" for Dak Prescott.

We've seen how other front offices have made friendly offenses for their young QBs and if Calvin Ridley is what it takes, why even think about it?

Tell me what you think about "Keeping Dez Bryant Shouldn’t Stop Cowboys From Drafting Calvin Ridley" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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NFL Draft

2018 NFL Draft: What Cowboys Look For In LBs

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Draft Target: BYU LB Fred Warner

As we continue to move through the Cowboys' positions of need and construct their overall draft board, we now take a look at what Dallas tends to look for in linebackers.

The Cowboys have some real questions to answer within their linebacker corps this offseason. Sean Lee is an obvious stud, but his injury history makes him a bit unreliable. Jaylon Smith began to come along later in the season, but how much better will he be in 2018? And then, of course, there is the impending free agency of Anthony Hitchens the team must deal with.

The Cowboys will certainly be looking at this somewhat-deep linebacker class in the upcoming draft, and after reviewing what their "type" has been in the past, a few prospects stood above the rest.

Kevin Brady on Twitter

And here it is for LB. Better set of training data so should be more predictive of future picks. LVE is a freak athletically.

For starters, Virginia Tech's Tremaine Edmunds must have been built in a lab. At 6'4" 253 pounds he is much bigger and stronger than the typical Cowboys linebacker, but his athletic testing all exceed the normal thresholds as well. He is significantly faster and more athletic than the typical Dallas draft pick, and would be an excellent candidate with the 19th overall pick. Unfortunately, I don't anticipate him being their for the taking.

Iowa's Josey Jewell is an interesting prospect to evaluate. A rather reliable player on film, Jewell also passes each of the athletic thresholds set by Dallas in previous years. Well, besides his 40 time, which is nearly a full second slower than their average selection. Still, considering his tape, short shuttle, 3 cone, and broad jump, I expect him to be a potential target for the Cowboys on day two.

The 2 linebackers which fit the Cowboys' plan best, however, are BYU's Fred Warner and Boise State's Leighton Vander Esch.

As seen on the spreadsheet, Vander Esch is a certified freak by Cowboys' standards. He greatly exceeds each of Dallas' athletic markers, and does it all at 6'4" and over 250 pounds. Like I said, he's an athletic freak in the eyes of the Cowboys.

Warner is just below the average weight in previous years (by only 2 pounds), but he is much more athletic than players we've seen the Cowboys draft since 2011. He is converting from more of an EDGE-type role in college to being a full time off-ball linebacker, and so far he has looked comfortable doing so at the Senior Bowl and Combine.

Considering the struggles the Cowboys have had on defense as of late, finding these younger and faster players should be a priority. And, as indicated by the testing of their previous draft classes, the Cowboys should be able to upgrade on that athleticism during the 2018 NFL Draft.

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