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 center position and completes the offensive side of the ball. I'll work through the defensive roster next week.
It's lonely at center. The Cowboys have exactly one listed on their roster.
Starters - Andre Gurode
After years of mediocre play from Andre Gurode, the Cowboys finally got their payoff from a draft-day investment. Gurode got his payoff too, and has established himself as the starting center. He even managed to squeak on to the Pro Bowl team. Dallas had shifted Gurode back and forth between guard and center for years, but finally decided to give him the center job after a strong training camp. Gurode responded by turning in a very strong year, he's always had the size and mobility you want in a center. The knock on him was that he didn't handle the calls at the line well because he had trouble recognizing the defenses. But the light bulb must've gone on because there were no signs of that all year. And he's tough, coming back the next week after the ridiculously ugly incident with Albert Haynesworth. The Cowboys signed him to a six-year, $30 million contract before free agency.
Reserves - Cory Procter? Joe Berger?
If you had to play a game today with the Cowboys roster, my guess is one of those two would be the backup, since I've read that both had practiced snapping the ball at some point. And they're guards, the closest thing to a center. But the Cowboys don't have to field a team today, they have until September.
Big time implications. Somewhere along the way, maybe in the middle rounds, the Cowboys will probably take a center; maybe they add a couple of prospects that are guard/center combos. However they work it, they need options at the position. Bringing in a couple of guys to try out as the backup is the smart play.