Dallas Cowboys Offensive Line: One thing still missing

Dallas Cowboys, Travis Frederick (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys, Travis Frederick (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

If the Dallas Cowboys hope to improve next season they’re going to need better performance from their offensive line, so how close is the line from being complete and what is still missing?

It’s safe to say the Dallas Cowboys offensive line under-performed in 2018. The once dominant unit has become a shell of itself as of late, and will need to bounce back if the Dallas Cowboys want to back to their old ways of imposing their will on opponents.

The good news is upgrading this unit isn’t going to take a massive investment. It may actually only need minimal investment for it to reclaim the dominance it once had. Health and organic development are the primary reasons for such an optimistic statement .

Last season, the Dallas Cowboys struggles can largely be traced back to the loss of Travis Frederick and the installation of rookie Connor Williams. The former failed to play a single snap because of a preseason diagnosis of Guillain-Barre Syndrome. The latter was forced into a starting role, at a position he’s never played, and at an age where very few NFL linemen ever play (Connor was only 20-years-old when the Cowboys selected him in April).

This offseason the Dallas Cowboys made the subtle, yet important, move of re-signing swing tackle Cameron Fleming to a 2-year deal. Fleming wasn’t pretty playing swing tackle last season but he sure was effective. The former Super Bowl right tackle has loads of experience and at only 26-years old (two years younger than Zack Martin), Fleming is just entering his physical prime as an NFL offensive linemen.

With Travis Frederick back in the lineup in 2019, last year’s starting center, Joe Looney, moves to a more suitable reserve role. Looney established himself as an average NFL starter last season, and with the ability to play both center and guard, he gives the Dallas Cowboys some of the best internal depth in the league.

Xavier Su’a-Filo quickly became a fan favorite when he filled in for Connor Williams at guard last season. The 28-year-old guard packs a ton of power and affords the Cowboys some position flex should they ever decide to move Williams to tackle (If Tyron was lost for an extended period of time, I argue the athletic Williams is the best internal option at LT).

The only thing this team is truly missing on the offensive line, is a young developmental player with the ability to one day play starting tackle (assuming Dallas keeps Williams at guard long-term).

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La’el Collins is only under contract for one more season and considering the going rate of tackles these days, and the lack of supply in the NFL, Collins will probably break the bank on his next contract (meaning Dallas will not be able to re-sign him). Fleming’s 2-year deal helps bridge the gap but ideally this team would like to have a young prospect to develop on the cheap.

It’s clear the Dallas Cowboys offensive line must improve next season but replacing starters isn’t the way to go – it’s getting Frederick back in the fold and further developing the uber-young-and-talented Williams. Any player the Cowboys draft at Pick 58 or later would project as a back-up, so Dallas would be wise to find a raw player on Day 3 they can develop.

Next. What the heck are the Cowboys doing in free agency?. dark

With Tyron Smith’s health always in question and La’el Collins likely to leave next season, finding a cheap developmental tackle now should be the primary objective for the Dallas Cowboys as they build their O-line corps.

  • Published on 03/18/2019 at 11:00 AM
  • Last updated at 03/18/2019 at 09:12 AM