Dallas Cowboys Positional Review Offensive Line

Dallas Cowboys Positional Review: Offensive Line

  • Cam Erving
  • Cameron Irving
  • Connor McGovern
  • Connor Williams
  • dallas cowboys
  • Joe Looney
  • La'el Collins
  • Offensive Line
  • Terrance Steele
  • tyler biadasz
  • Tyron Smith
  • Zack Martin
By Campbell Keating July 6, 2020 0 Comment
Please Share!

The Cowboys’ offensive line has been known as one of the best in the league. Who will toe the line this season?

Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick retired this offseason and left a hole in the offensive line in his wake. Dallas drafted a center from his alma mater in the fourth round in Tyler Biadasz. Joe Looney will also be competing for the starting spot and did well in 2018 when Frederick was forced to sit out a season because of Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

Here is how the rest of the offensive line projects for the 2020 season.

Starters

Tyron Smith

Seven-time Pro Bowler, Tyron Smith, has been one of the best left tackles in the NFL for years. He has long locked down the left side of the offensive line.

He is an incredible pass blocker who has allowed just four sacks over the past three seasons. Smith allowed just one sack last season.

He is also a force to be reckoned with in the ground game. He is a physical blocker with the strength and hand technique to knock defenders back and create running lanes.

Smith has increasingly felt the effects of his age over the last few seasons. He has dealt with back and elbow injuries over the last four seasons and has failed to play an entire season since 2015.

Though he has dealt with injuries and had a few down seasons, Smith is still one of the best offensive tackles in the league. He will continue to shut down edge rushers this season on Dak’s blindside.

Zack Martin

Zack Martin has been a beast at the guard position since he entered the league. The six-year veteran has been an all-pro guard in every season.

Martin, just like Smith, has only allowed four sacks over the last three seasons. He didn’t allow any sacks in 2019 an earned a pro football focus grade of 88.1, one of the best in the NFL.

Martin is an incredible run blocker and his battles with Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox are must-see football. Martin bullies smaller defensive linemen and has the technique to go toe-to-toe with anybody that the opposing team can throw at him.

He is one of the best players in the NFL and plays his position extremely well. Expect him to perform at a high level again in 2020.

La’El Collins

La’El Collins had a breakout year in 2019. He signed a contract extension just before the season began and he has turned that extension into a bargain for the Cowboys.

Collins quickly cemented himself as one of the top right tackles in the league. He received a grade of 86.4 from pro football focus and allowed just two sacks while facing some of the league’s best pass rushers. He played consistently well throughout the season and complemented Tyron Smith well.

If Collins maintains or improves his level of play he and Smith will be one of the best, if not the best, offensive tackle duos in the league.

Joe Looney

In 2018, Joe Looney stepped up and replaced Travis Frederick for a year. Looney played very well and though he is not on the same level as Frederick, he is a solid NFL center.

Looney’s biggest struggle was cohesion with the rest of the line. One of the most important jobs of a center is to recognize and call out any blitzes that they see coming pre-snap. Looney does a decent job of making calls pre-snap, but his biggest weakness was stunts and twists by the defensive line.

To combat stunts/twists, communication between the linemen during the play is crucial, in order to pass off rushers to each other and keep anyone from slipping through. Though Looney had trouble with this, some of the struggles can be attributed to the fact that Connor Williams, who played next to Looney in 2018, was a rookie.

Since then, Williams has gained experience and has bulked up. Looney should be able to step in and play well, just as he did in 2018.

Connor Williams

After a subpar rookie campaign, Williams bulked up and came back looking for redemption in 2019. He went from allowing five sacks in less than a full season to allowing just one last season while playing one more game.

Unfortunately, in week 11 Williams tore his ACL. He underwent reconstructive surgery in December and will be looking to make a comeback in 2020. According to an interview on NFL radio on SiriusXM, Williams said that he is ahead of schedule and should be ready when the season rolls around.

He will be looking to continue his improvement and cement himself further in his starting role at left guard.

Quality backups

Connor McGovern

Connor McGovern was the Cowboys’ 3rd round pick in 2019. He was one of the top interior lineman prospects in his class and was competition for Connor Williams.

Before the season started, McGovern tore his pectoral muscle and landed on the injured reserve. As a result of the injury, 2020 will essentially be a rookie year for McGovern.

He will need this year to gain experience and to bulk up. He should develop well and could be a starter in the future, even if he doesn’t get the chance to play this season.

Tyler Biadasz

The Cowboys traded for the Eagles’ 4th round draft pick and took Tyler Biadasz out of Wisconsin. Biadasz was one of the top interior lineman prospects before this season, but he did not play as well in 2019 as he had in the past.

After having surgery last offseason to repair his hip, his regression was extremely concerning. This season he was not as fast, or nimble. Many scouts think that this hip surgery and subsequent regression are related and that Biadasz will not play up to his full potential because of the injury.

If he makes a full recovery and proves the scouts wrong, Biadasz will be a long-term replacement for Frederick.

Cameron Erving

Cameron Erving was a swing tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs last season. He played decently and started eight games.

Erving may not be an ideal starter, but he is a good quality backup. With Tyron Smith’s recent injuries, having a good backup tackle is crucial. Cowboys fans witnessed just how bad a game can go without a good backup tackle.

When Sith went down in 2017, Chaz Green filled in for him and proceeded to allowed six sacks to Adrian Clayborn, the second-highest single-game sack number of all time.

Erving will provide insurance if Smith goes down this season.

The others on the offensive line

Brandon Knight and Adam Redmond were both on the roster last year as a backup tackle and center respectively, but with Williams and McGovern healthy and the addition of Biadasz, don’t expect either to make the final roster this season.

Marcus Henry and Cody Wichmann are backup interior linemen. In all likelihood, they will not make the roster and will remain practice squad players as they have been in seasons past.

Mitch Hyatt, Wyatt Miller and Terence Steele are all backup tackles. They will also likely remain on the practice squad or be cut entirely.

Overall, the Dallas offensive line is one of the most talented in the league. With the recent extension of La’el Collins, every one of the projected starters is under contract through 2021. This group projects to grow together over the next couple of seasons. Continuity upfront will be a critical factor for the Cowboys’ success going forward.

Embed from Getty Images


Please Share!

I cover, report, and write about the Dallas Cowboys. I am an undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis studying on the premed track with a major in Mathematics and a minor in Anthropology.

0 Comments

Write A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *