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Will OT Josh Ball Shed Redshirt and Contribute in 2022?

Offensive spent his rookie season with the Cowboys on inured reserve. After serving the NFL's version of a “redshirt” year, will Ball step into a contributing role for Dallas in 2022?

A high-ankle sprain early in last year's kept Ball off the practice field and out of all games. It also gave Dallas a way to stash him on IR throughout 2021 and go with more experienced backups.

The Cowboys spent a 4th-round pick in 2021 to add the former Marshall tackle. While Ball was seen as having at least Day 2 talent as an OT prospect, he fell due to character concerns stemming from accusations in 2018 from his college girlfriend while at Florida State.

If the perceived talent proves true then Ball could be a surprise contender this season. Fourth-round picks don't always make the roster as rookies, let alone in future years, but opportunity is ripe in Dallas.

was released for space and to end an increasingly rocky relationship with the organization. Dallas felt comfortable making that move because of having , the current projected starter for in 2022.

Steele's claim to the starting job is tenuous. He's looked adequate in playing opportunities but still has to prove he's the long-term answer. And as he moves up the there's now an increased need for quality backups.

Veteran wasn't re-signed this so Dallas' trust is currently being placed in Josh Ball and rookie to provide depth at . But with perceived potential that led to them being drafted prospects, which Steele wasn't in 2020, could Ball or Waletzko push their way even higher?

Again, Ball might have entered the NFL with much more fanfare if not for the personal concerns. If healthy then this summer will be his first real opportunity to show what he can do against professionals.

Steele will begin as the starting right tackle and likely retain that role throughout 2022. But don't be surprised if you hear reports out of camp or see things in the preseason that make you wonder about Josh's potential for bigger things.

It'd be easy to forget about Josh Ball after his absence last year. But with more perceived natural talent than any of the Cowboys' tackles not named , he may quickly become a much bigger factor at the position than you'd expect.

Jess Haynie
Jess Haynie
Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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lonewolfz28

I really hope he can because we absolutely need the depth and future replacement for Tyron.

Steele plays well when left on the right side. I would carry all 4 tackles this season and let Ball concentrate on the right side behind Steele and let Waletzko concentrate on the left side. Yeah, it’d be great if one of them could show the flexibility to play the swing tackle for both sides, and maybe one of them will. But, not very many can pull that off and be better than barely serviceable. The drastic change in footwork, responsibilities and teamwork/trust with a drastically different guy next to them is a lot to ask.

Rocket

I am of the impression that Ball is a real sleeper and could eventually be a starter at right tackle….probably not left….i could see a situation where in the very near future.,,couple years…we might have Smith at left guard, Wa….at left tackle, Ball at RT, the BC kid at center and zack or his replacement at rg…?

Dave SC58

You really need first rounders in the starting O-line. Anything else is just average at best. The difference between the top players in the draft and all the rest is huge. To illustrate my point: Travis Frederick, Tyron Smith and Zack Martin were all First Round Picks. Connor Williams was a second round pick. Connor McGovern was a third round pick. Tyler Biadasz was a fourth round pick. See the difference?

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