Dallas Cowboys 4th Round, Pick 124
Drew Dalman, OC, Stanford
Picks Traded: WAS (116 and 227), DAL (124, 163, 196), NYG (115, 238)
A riser on draft boards as of late. Stanford linemen have generally been well regarded but as of late that hasn’t been the same. After former offensive line coach Mike Bloomgren left to take the Rice head coaching job, the development at the position has plateaued. Walker Little might be the most popular Stanford lineman in this draft because of his high school rating, but Dalman might be the most complete lineman of the three in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Dalman has played 25 games in the Cardinal jersey and has been an excellent ambassador for the school. The center was on the 2020 All-PAC 12 first team and is a former All-PAC 12 Academic team. His good mental processing and good athletic ability allowed him to anchor an offensive line that was dominant this season.
Dalman stands at 6-foot-3, 299 pounds which is a solid size for an interior lineman. However, his 31.5-inch arms will leave many teams very concerned. His arm length prevents him from being able initiate contact at the point of attack against bigger and longer athletes. While he displays solid play strength and solid anchor, his inability to beat defensive linemen at the point of attack can cause the pocket to collapse.
The huge silver lining of this is that’s his biggest concern. He displays good athletic ability and is proficient in zone blocking displaying good technique to reach and scoop block anywhere from zero to three techniques. He displays the necessary agility and lateral quickness to get off the line and set blocks at the first level and then possesses good instincts and acceleration to key his assignment and move towards the second level and complete his space block.
On gap runs, his solid play strength and good agility allow him to create gaps by reaching his assignments first and can stalemate the defender with his first contact. He can struggle to finish blocks because he doesn’t have the arm length to lockout and steer defenders, but his mental processing to not miss assignments does more than enough to help running backs.
Dalman might not be the best fit for the Cowboys as he’d be far more useful in a zone-heavy running scheme, but by the same token, Tyler Biadasz wasn’t a scheme fit and had a promising rookie season in his limited playtime.
If anything, it just shows how often centers are combo blocking that if the player is intelligent, they will likely succeed.