This is the seventh installment of a series of articles evaluating the Dallas Cowboys current roster in anticipation of the April draft. This evaluation deals with the OG position.
The Cowboys have five offensive guards on the current roster.
Leonard Davis (projected guard though currently listed as a tackle)
Starters - Kyle Kosier, Leonard Davis (projected)
Kyle Kosier was brought in as a free agent last year to replace the departed Larry Allen. Kosier isn't the mauler that Allen was but is much more mobile and that fit the running scheme former coach Bill Parcells wanted. Kosier turned in a solid year at guard and was particularly effective when asked to pull. He has good feet and mobility that allow him to get out in front of running plays and get to the second-level when running combination blocks with the center. His pass blocking was serviceable because he doesn't make a lot of mistakes and usually recognizes the correct defender to block. He'll never be the road grader that Larry Allen was but he didn't hurt the Cowboys along the line. Overall, the Cowboys should be pleased with the performance they got out of Kosier last year and can depend on him to hold down the LG position in 2007.
Leonard Davis is the Cowboys marquee free agent singing so far in the offseason. When discussing Davis, the one thing that immediately stands out is his size. At 6-6 and 365 lbs. he dwarfs most other linemen in the league. His body holds the weight well and he doesn't appear to be fat, he's just a big man. The knock against Davis is that he's not consistently motivated to utilize his size and talent on every play. He floated among a couple of positions along the line while playing for the Cardinals but appears to be the likely starter at RG for the Cowboys in 2007. The hope is that playing inside will help mask some of his flaws that were exposed at tackle, mainly his inability to handle smaller, quicker defensive ends who beat him with speed rushes and misdirection stunts. With his size and strength, he should be able to defeat defensive tackles when he gets his hands on them, which is much easier to do playing inside where there's not a lot of room for speed rushes. The Cowboys will have to test his mobility in training camp to see if he can effectively pull on running plays.
Reserves - Marco Rivera, Cory Procter, Joe Berger
Marco Rivera has started at right guard for the past two years but has been a disappointment in that time. He injured his back immediately after Dallas signed him as a free agent two years ago and has never lived up to the form he showed while playing in Green Bay. All too often defensive tackles were able to bull-rush Rivera deep into the backfield to either disrupt a running play or get to the QB on passing plays. He hurt his back again in the Seattle playoff game and may be in danger of being released in June.
Cory Procter is a player that was praised by Bill Parcells and was in line to challenge Rivera this year had the Cowboys not signed Davis. While he has been with Dallas he hasn't seen action in any regular season games, but does provide youthful depth along the line with his ability to play multiple positions He's was asked to practice snapping the ball last year in an effort to use him as a backup center.
Joe Berger has yet to make a significant impact while in Dallas and may be the first guard to go if Dallas brings in help through the draft. Although if Dallas releases Rivera, Berger may get a stay of execution.
Dallas appears to have it's starters in place for years to come at guard, unless Davis is moved back to tackle at some point in the future. With the injury to Marco Rivera that may cause his release, and the questionable quality of the backups, the Cowboys could be interested in drafting a lineman that can swing between tackle and guard early on the first day of the draft.