Through the Draft, the Dallas Cowboys have managed to build one of the most dominant offensive lines in the NFL. Three first-round picks have been invested in this unit since 2011 and the results have been pretty good. However, during the last two seasons the Cowboys OL hasn’t quite lived up to the hype. There has been a few issues with the unit over the last few years. Tyron Smith has been dealing with injuries, and hasn’t played a complete season since 2015. The starting left tackle for the Cowboys is extremely missed during his time off the field, even if we’re just talking about three games per season. In 2017, we saw how Dak Prescott was dominated in Atlanta, when Adrian Clayborn looked like Khalil Mack in a Falcons uniform.
Last season, Center Travis Frederick was the most missed player on the team. Joe Looney did a very good job stepping in for him, but it simply wasn’t the same. There’s a reason why Frederick is considered one of – if not the – best at his position in the entire league. Frederick is already working out with the team and is expected to return to action this season.
And well, last year, former OL coach Paul Alexander had to be fired after the unit consistently underperformed. When Marc Colombo took over, the improvement was very clear and even La’el Collins started playing way better.
It’s not that the Cowboys offensive line was bad last season, but it’s supposed to be much, much better. The 2014 and 2016 units set the bar high, but this is the kind of talent that can reach that sort of potential. Every year this OL should be in the discussion for the best in the NFL and lately, it hasn’t.
One of the biggest question marks last year lied at left guard, where second-round rookie Connor Williams began his season struggling. He progressed throughout the year and once he had the opportunity to play under Marc Colombo, signs of promise were all over. With added weight prior to the upcoming season, Cowboys Nation should be confident in seeing a very improved version of Williams.
La’el Collins is the other big question mark. Although his play has been above-average, he hasn’t really proved he’s worthy of a long-term contract. With Williams’ versatility and Connor McGovern drafted in the third round, watch out for the Cowboys having a ton of options regarding the future at right tackle.
With Frederick back and an improved Connor Williams, this unit should look a lot better. Zack Martin will, as always, be more than fine. Tyron Smith must stay healthy, but even if he doesn’t, the depth at the position is considerably better than in previous years.
I believe the Cowboys offensive line that will take the field in September will look a lot better than many expect. Hopefully, things do go that way and Dak Prescott has a premium OL in his fourth season in the NFL. It’s a very talented roster, and such a unit would go a long way in helping a contending football team.