The NFL Draft season is upon us and that means looking into the potential Dallas Cowboys selection. It has been very notable, especially in the media, about the Cowboys three offensive lineman being selected in the first round in the last four years. That is a remarkable feat considering the history under Jerry Jones. Until Tyron Smith was selected in 2011 the Cowboys had never used a first-round selection on an offensive lineman since Jones bought the team in 1989.
Fast forward to 2015 and now the Cowboys have done that three times. Those three lineman should be in Dallas for the next ten years. With the impending restricted free agency of Ronald Leary and unrestricted free agency Doug Free and Jermy Parnell, does Jason Garrett dare try and secure another young stud to protect his franchise quarterback? The limited draft history under Garrett says this team will draft more lineman. Since 2011 the Cowboys have selected a total of five of them. Three came in the 2011 NFL Draft.
The Cowboys will only have two tackles under contract this offseason with Free, Jeremy Parnell, Darrion Weems and Tony Hills set to become free agents. The Cowboys have Leary, who is a restricted free agent and can easily be re-signed, but if Dallas is looking down the road, or concerned about Leary's chronic knee, they could look at another guard. At this point, offensive tackle is a team need this offseason unless/until they sign one back. Plenty can happen between March 10th when NFL free agency begins and April 30th when the NFL Draft gets underway.
The three offensive tackles to keep an eye on early in the draft are Ty Sambrailo of Colorado State, Ereck Flowers of Miami (FL) and Cameron Erving of Florida State. Erving could be the dark horse of the group and I really like his flexibility. He played both center and tackle for the Seminoles. In that regard he is much like Martin who played all five linemen positions during his time at Notre Dame.
Should the Cowboys be concerned about their long-term guard position, keep an eye on A.J. Cann of South Carolina, Tre' Jackson of Florida State and Laken Tomlinson of Duke. Tomlinson turned some heads at the Senior Bowl last week in Mobile, Alabama. Those three are more likely second round selections so the Cowboys can have some patience in looking to find a guy that fits the zone blocking scheme.
Despite their needs on defense the Cowboys staff should take the best player available early on and worry about filling their holes later in the draft.