The Dallas Cowboys have accomplished a lot this offseason but this particular unit may ultimately be the most improved in 2019
Between the added drafts picks and the high quality undrafted free agent signings, the Dallas Cowboys addressed multiple areas of the team. Defensive backs and defensive linemen standout as both top needs heading into the draft and heavily addressed units over draft weekend.
But it’s one other position group that stands to improve the most in 2019 and frankly, it’s not even close…
To the surprise of many, guard Connor McGovern was selected with the Dallas Cowboys’ second pick in the draft. McGovern wasn’t just the highest rated player on the board when Pick 90 was made, but he was the highest by a pretty wide margin.
In fact, McGovern was rated by Dallas even higher than Trysten Hill, the man they selected at Pick 58. It’s this detail that made McGovern a surprise option to even the Dallas front office. It’s safe to say –this was not the plan. But McGovern joins a fairly prestigious group determined to regain their glory…
Last season, the Dallas Cowboys offensive line significantly underperformed. Obviously much of that is because they were without the services of All-Pro Travis Frederick. Joe Looney did admirably in his stead, but he was far from the elite level we’ve grown accustomed to at the middle of this line.
The bookends, Tyron Smith and La’el Collins, expect to have stronger seasons. Smith is still just 28 years-old and last season was a relatively healthy for him – offering him some momentum heading into 2019. Collins is in a contract year and looking to cash in on his immense potential. So there’s reason to believe both will be better in 2019.
Zack Martin, arguably the best guard in the NFL, was noticeably hurting last season after injuring his knee in training camp, but he still managed to perform on an high level. Now that he’s healthy he’s expected to improve significantly and likely to be nothing short of dominant in 2019.
Connor Williams and Xavier Su’a-Filo essentially split snaps at left guard last season. Williams started the season shaky largely because of his youth (a young 21-years-old), strength, and inexperience at guard. It’s said he’s already added at least 10-pounds of muscle this offseason likely fixing his biggest weakness. Indications are he’ll be splitting time at RT too, to seamlessly replace Collins when he departs in 2020.
McGovern will, no doubt, be given the opportunity to compete at guard, and as a proven commodity inside, he has a legitimate chance of winning. But it’s likely Williams will retain possession given his athleticism, increased strength, and year under his belt. Either way, the rookie Connor provides some competition, which is always a good thing.
The Dallas Cowboys aren’t just elite in the starting ranks but also in depth. They were extremely aggressive in the undrafted free agent signings following the draft. Even through the serviceable Cameron Fleming is locked in at swing tackle through 2020, Dallas threw big money at priority free agent Mitch Hyatt. If Hyatt can add good weight to his frame, he could develop into a decent swing tackle down the road. If he can also be serviceable at guard, he could bump a veteran for a roster spot this season (the Cowboys paid him handsomely for a reason).
The Cowboys also signed offensive tackle Derrick Puni from the University of Central Missouri. He’s been absolutely dominant in the lower ranks and looks like he could have a bright NFL future with Coach Marc Colombo coaching him up.
This leaves Adam Redmond, a lineman with guard-center versatility and XSF, the multi-game starter from last year, to round out the depth. Consider this: there is a very good chance neither player makes the final cut.
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Note: XSF got a lot of love from Cowboys Nation last season but multiple outlets rated Connor Williams’ final stretch above Su’a-Filo’s. After re-watching the All-22 in January, I only gave XSF a positive grade in his first game and see Williams’ athleticism as huge advantage to his development and as long as his strength is as improved as they say it is, this won’t even be a competition.
Extra Note: Even if Frederick comes back a little less than 100 percent, he’s still offering a significant upgrade on the line. And with Joe Looney, who by all accounts is an average NFL starter, serving as primary interior depth, the Dallas Cowboys find themselves abnormally deep.
The Dallas Cowboys upgraded multiple areas of the team over draft weekend but no unit went from as low as they were in 2018 to as high as they’re expected to be in 2019 than the Dallas O-line.
- Published on 05/03/2019 at 12:45 PM
- Last updated at 05/03/2019 at 12:47 PM