The Cowboys’ have dealt with years of an inconsistent run game and a pass protection that has performed at below average levels. Those struggles have caused the franchise to change their tune. The Cowboys’ front office knew if they were going to take it to the next level, they have to make an asserted effort to make changes along the front.
Upgrading the offensive line has become the Cowboys’ top priority over the past few seasons. The Cowboys’ have selected an offensive lineman in the first round three of the last four NFL drafts.
The team recently extended Tyron Smith to a new well-deserved eight year contract worth reportedly up to $110 million. Although Smith is only 23, he has been a rock along the left side of the offensive line and the Cowboys’ expect him to be for many years to come.
The Cowboys’ were criticized for the selection of Travis Frederick in last year’s draft. However, Frederick didn’t play like a rookie last season. He came in right away and performed to a level at center the Cowboys haven’t had in a long time. Along with Smith, Frederick appears to be on his way to an all-pro career.
The Cowboys wanted to solidify the middle of the offensive line by drafting Zack Martin. Considered the best guard in this year’s draft, Martin has the make up to come in his rookie season and make a major impact. The Cowboys’ hope the combination of Frederick and Martin will make the offense tougher in the trenches.
One sleeper along the offensive line could be guard Ronald Leary. The Cowboys’ were extremely high on Leary who went undrafted. The only concern with Leary is his degenerative knee. However, in Leary’s first full season at starting at left guard, he contributed to making the left side of the offensive line a strength in particular in the run game. Playing along side of Smith made Leary a better player last season and the Cowboys’ are hoping he stays on the right path.
Doug Free quietly turned in a superb season in 2013, a year after many were questioning if he should still be on the team. Although, Free is not the most powerful lineman, he plays with quick feet which allows him to make up for his lack power. Free is the veteran along the offensive line and if he can play like he did last year the Cowboys’ should be extremely excited.
Barring major injuries, there is no reason Cowboys’ fans shouldn’t expect to see a top five offense this upcoming season.