The Dallas Cowboys offensive line has been one of the best units in the NFL for the last several years. With multiple key veteran departures, the Cowboys will have to find solid offensive-line play from unfamiliar faces. Dallas relies heavily on their offensive line to protect Dak Prescott and open running lanes for Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. When the offensive line struggles, the entire offense struggles.
Cowboys Offensive Line Crucial for Success Entering the 2022 Season
Recent Offensive Line Departures
The Dallas Cowboys offensive line has declined over the last few seasons after the departures of key pieces. The Cowboys intially put together a juggernaut of an offensive line with Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Travis Frederick. The Boys in Blue have made some good moves to piece together holes on the offensive line including acquiring La’el Collins, Connor Williams, and drafting Tyler Smith in the first round.
The offensive line departures continued this off-season as Dallas lost Collins to the Super Bowl runner-up Cincinnati Bengals as well as Williams to the Miami Dolphins. The veteran Smith has also missed multiple games each of the last few seasons. After recent departures and Frederick’s early retirement, Dallas will have to look for offensive-line stability in other places.
Key to the Cowboys Success
The Cowboys go as their offensive line does via the run-game. Ezekiel Elliott has helped Dallas control pace, momentum, and the clock over the past few years. Elliott’s rushing yards and yards per attempt have gone down the last few seasons at 4.2 yards per attempt. If Dallas wants to control the clock and momentum this season, Elliott and the run game will have to improve this year.
Ezekiel Elliott has 7,386 rushing yards since entering the NFL in 2016.
No one has more.
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) July 22, 2022
Dak Prescott and the passing attack are much better when the offensive line plays well. Prescott and the Cowboys play-action game depend heavily on Elliott and the offensive line. When the running game averages over 4.5 yards per attempt, the secondary peeks in the backfield allowing Prescott to hit wide receivers deep over the top.
New Faces on the Offensive Line
The Dallas Cowboys pick Tulsa Tackle Tyler Smith at No. 24 overall.
93.9 run-blocking grade in 2021 (highest by an AAC Tackle EVER) ☑️ pic.twitter.com/X1f5mqLz8h
— PFF College (@PFF_College) April 29, 2022
With Williams and Collins both leaving, Dallas will look for new faces for the 2022 season. Dallas used their first-round draft pick to select an offensive lineman, Tyler Smith from Tulsa University. Smith will compete against Connor McGovern and Matt Farniok in training camp for the starting position. The rookie hopes to join a still-loaded offensive line consisting of Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Tyler Biadasz, and Terence Steele.
Whoever wins the job will have some large shoes to fill joining Martin and Smith. If Dallas is to compete in the revamped NFC East, they will have to control the offensive trenches to establish the run game early and often. Prescott will have a chance to prove himself and compete for an MVP award if the offensive line can keep defenders out of the backfield. Prescott’s success could carry the offense into the NFL elite and keep the defense fresh and off the field. After losing key players in each unit, the Cowboys will lean on what they know with punishing and physical offensive line play to control each exhibition.
The highest-graded run-blocking offensive line
🥇 Dallas Cowboys pic.twitter.com/I8GHotoN1M
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) October 31, 2021