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Dallas Cowboys Draft Targets at Interior Offensive Line

The month of April couldn’t have come quicker for most Dallas Cowboys fans. After a disappointing loss in the first round of the playoffs and a less than satisfying start to free agency, Dallas fans can turn their attention to an area where America’s Team has typically excelled over the past decade, as the Dallas Cowboys draft classes have largely been successful.

The NFL Draft is quickly approaching, and the Cowboys are wrapping up evaluations and hosting potential targets with each of their nine selections in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft. The pressure will be on Will McClay and the Joneses to put this team in a position to be the first repeat winner the NFC East has seen since the Eagles won four straight from 2001-04.

However, after an offseason that started with more departures than additions, a strong draft haul has never been more crucial. Let’s take a look at the Dallas Cowboys draft targets at each position, starting at interior offensive line in this article.

QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | G/C | DE | DT | LB | CB | S | ST

Dallas Cowboys Draft Targets: Guards/Centers

While Zack Martin continues to play at an All-Pro level, the results at left guard and center have been far less consistent. Tyler Biadasz did get better as the season went on. Considering it was his first full year as a starter, Dallas could exercise patience unless someone presents a significant value with an early pick.

Still, the big question is who steps in at left guard. Connor Williams is gone and struggled with consistency in pass protection through his first four years in the league. The Cowboys have had high hopes for Connor McGovern, but he couldn’t hold onto the job a year ago when Dallas benched Williams.

Cowboys fans may not care for entering the season with Biadasz and McGovern both starting. Still, the idea that we are going to fill every significant need with an upgrade over the current placeholder is unrealistic.

We could do worse than starting the season with them in the starting huddle, considering neither will be 25 until November. However, Dallas could stand to add competition for them at the very least.

Where the Cowboys could look to add help

While I believe the starting duo of McGovern and Biadasz next to Martin isn’t a bad worst-case scenario, there is no doubt the Cowboys will pull the trigger on a guard or center with a top-100 pick if they are near the top of their board.

There will be options at 24, 56, and 88, and while I think they would prefer a guard, I could see them drafting either at any of those picks. Even if they don’t, there will be interior linemen early on day three that could push for playing time.

Adding depth on the interior is also a necessity. I thought Matt Farniok showed promise during the preseason a year ago. Still, the Cowboys have little-to-no experience in the reserve department if Biadasz and McGovern are starting.

Tyler Linderbaum Draft Profile: Scouting Report, Highlights and 2022 NFL Draft Projection dallas cowboys
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

First-Round Dallas Cowboys Draft Options

Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa

Biadasz showed progress throughout his first full season as a starter, but Linderbaum is a definite upgrade. After a less-than-desirable offseason, it may not be the sexy pick Cowboys fans want.

Still, I remember the 2013 draft like it was yesterday. The Cowboys were desperate for help on their offensive line picking 18th, and I had six offensive linemen with first-round grades. It seemed possible that one of the six would get to Dallas, but when all of them went in the top 11, the front office had to be quick on their feet.

They ended up trading back to 31 and took a player valued in the second round, though he was not guaranteed to get to their second-round pick. That player was Frederick. It wasn’t sexy drafting a center, but it was a clear upgrade.

Five Pro Bowls and four All-Pro selections had him on the way to a possible gold jacket when the effects of Guillain-Barre syndrome brought his career to a halt. I’m not saying Linderbaum will be Frederick, but he’s one of the top centers I’ve scouted in the past decade, with a grade similar to Ryan Kelly’s.

Zion Johnson, Boston College

I honestly believe Dallas’ dream scenario would be to have one of the top four tackles or one of the top five receivers fall to them. However, I also believe Zion Johnson is their safety net. Though their skill sets are much different, I see a lot of Tyron Smith in Johnson.

Smith was slightly shorter than what teams desire at tackle coming out of USC, but had exceptional arm length and strength. He also had a constant desire for improving at his craft, and his chiseled physique does not resemble a typical offensive lineman.

That description fits Johnson well with the exception of him being a guard prospect. Watching him put in the extra work after practice in Mobile so that he could prove capable of playing center turned every scouts head.

It showed just how far this guy will go to help his team win and to get better. Like Linderbaum, drafting Johnson won’t be the sexy pick but those who have studied his game will be thrilled.

Day 2 Dallas Cowboys Draft Options

Kenyon Green, Texas A&M

Many have Kenyon Green as a first-round prospect, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he went on day one. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him slide either. Yes, Green started 35 games in three years at four different positions on the offensive line.

Still, over the course of three seasons, I would’ve liked to have seen a steady incline in his technical ability. That was not the case. His game is too reliant on physical gifts, while he can go through sloppy phases.

Too often, Green overextends or his hands miss their mark, and his footwork gets inconsistent as well. He drew quite a few flags during his time as an Aggie, and things only get tougher in the NFL.

Having said all that, his issues can be coached. His interviews will provide an answer to why that didn’t happen in College Station, and if the Cowboys get an answer they like, I could see them making him a real possibility on draft night.

Tyler Smith, Tulsa

Like the tackle position, at guard, the Cowboys will have their eyes on some prospects that will be day-one starters, while others will need patience while they develop further. Smith is in the latter group.

At this point, Smith is more of a bully than a blocker. Don’t get me wrong, having a bully’s mentality has its place on the line, but no blocker consistently manhandles NFL defenders. That is especially true if they are playing with poor technique.

Technically, Smith is far from where he needs to be, leading to 12 holding penalties in 2021. Some see him as a tackle prospect, and he has the frame and length to play the role. However, I’m not sold he has the lateral movement necessary to play on the perimeter.

Still, his raw physical traits are rare, as he is a physically imposing player with a powerful frame and tremendous grip strength. With proper coaching, he can be a special player at guard and just turned 21 years old, making him one of the youngest prospects in this class. Teams can be patient with his development, and I’d have a serious conversation about his services if he got near 56.

Sean Rhyan, UCLA

Rhyan is another college tackle whose best NFL fit will be at guard. Like Smith, he has exceptional grip strength, and his thick lower body allows him to anchor with ease.

He’s a good athlete, but his lateral quickness and ability to shift his weight are the reason a move inside will be necessary. I’d also like to see him show better timing with his hands.

Still, Rhyan’s technique improved each season at UCLA, and unlike most prospects on the offensive line, he plays with terrific leverage and pad-level. He can be a day-one starter at guard, and if he slid to 88, it would be a gift for the Cowboys.

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Day 3 Dallas Cowboys Draft Options

Joshua Ezeudu, North Carolina

I’m a big fan of Ezeudu, and even see him slipping into the end of day two. He spent a lot of time split between tackle and guard, but guard is where he fits best. He’s a fluid athlete that could aequtely fill in at tackle in a pinch, but his ability to block at the second-level and in open space will shine at guard.

He competes at a high level, and as he adds weight to his lower-half, I think we will see him become a much better finisher. Right now, he finishes blocks because of his initial positioning and relentless attitude, but once the power starts showing up more, we will see him become more consistent in this area.

Dallas has brought him in on a visit to The Star. Should he get to day three, the Cowboys could look to target him in the fourth round, regardless of who they selected on day one and two.

Luke Goedeke, Central Michigan

Goedeke was a tight end when he arrived at Central Michigan, and after two years at tackle, it looks like his best fit will be at guard. For a guy who was once a tight end, his play strength as an offensive lineman was impressive.

While I think he still needs to develop the proper footwork to make the most of his power, it’s hard to fault him considering his limited experience as a lineman. Teams will need to be a little patient with him, but like his teammate, Bernhard Raimann, it’s impressive the techniques he’s picked up in a short stint working on the line.

His arm length isn’t great, but that will be less of an issue on the interior. Some value him in the third round, but I think he could be on the board when Dallas is choosing at 129.

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