In just under two weeks, the 2023 NFL Draft will be underway. There has been a lot of discussion about what the Cowboys should do with their first round pick which will be the 26th pick of this year's draft.
Some draft analysts are hopeful that a talented skill position player will fall all the way to the 26th pick. Some have suggested that the pick should be traded. They think the Cowboys would benefit from having more picks in later rounds of the draft as opposed to keeping their one pick in the first round.
Recently, I said that the Cowboys drafting an offensive lineman wouldn't be the worst thing. Now, I think addressing the offensive line might be one of the best things the Cowboys could do.
Whether it's by drafting or some other means, the Dallas Cowboys need to make moves to ensure they have consistency, stability, depth, and continuity on their offensive line.
That previous article addressed potential options for who could be part of the solution. Now, let's dive into the why.
THE RUNNING GAME
An optional title for this section could be “Keep Terence Steele at Right Tackle.” I say that because it's one of the first places my mind goes when I think of Dallas' running game and the role of the offensive line in it.
There has been talk of Terence Steele being a swing tackle or of him spending time at left guard. Some say this a “negotiation ploy” to preemptively address a future cap concern.
I have trouble entertaining that argument. The idea of holding the success of the organization for ransom in exchange for a short term salary cap fix doesn't make enough sense to me to warrant a full discussion.
So, let's assume that there's an actual, logistical reason to suggest these types of moves. It would mean that if the Cowboys did want to keep Steele in his best role, they need more depth.
When Steele suffered a season-ending ACL injury, the Cowboys all but lost their ability to run the ball. Knowing that, it simply doesn't make sense to willingly configure an offensive line with Steele in some other position.
So, if the issue is Steele's durability with him playing repetitively on the same side, hopefully, that can be addressed through his training regimen. If not, the Cowboys should be searching diligently for someone who can fill his shoes when he moves out of the right tackle position.
If the issue is that there is an actual need at left guard, the Cowboys should definitely be searching for a new addition. Steele should not be considered an option for fixing that problem.
Either way, it sounds like the Cowboys aren't done building their offensive line for 2023.
THE PASSING GAME
Dak Prescott's interceptions puzzled analysts all-season. Recently Mike Martz, former NFL head coach and self-professed Dak Prescott fan, shared a video breakdown of each interception and why they happened.
Martz pointed out the mistakes made by Dak as well as mistakes made by receivers or problems with the plays chosen and routes run.
Although it wasn't heavily addressed in Martz's video, it was hard to ignore how often the Cowboys quarterback seemed uncomfortable or rushed.
During the 2022 season, the Cowboys offensive line situation was regularly described as a game of “musical chairs” with an ever-changing combination of different players in different roles.
With the potential change to the West Coast Offense in 2023, the timing between Dak and his targets will need to be precise. That can't happen when the protection around the quarterback is constantly in flux.
So, the Cowboys could draft a running back. They could draft another receiver. Dak and other players currently on the roster can continue to work to improve their game. But if the Cowboys don't make sure that offensive line is set, it will sabotage all other efforts.