clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dallas Cowboys Offseason 2015: Did The Cowboys Improve? (Offensive Tackle Edition)

Did the Cowboys improve the offensive tackle depth chart?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing our series in looking into possible places of improvement for the Dallas Cowboys, we now take a look at the offensive tackles.

2014: Tyron Smith, Doug Free, Jermey Parnell, Darrion Weems
2015: Tyron Smith, Doug Free, Darrion Weems, Chaz Green, Laurence Gibson

Jermey Parnell departed via free agency to sign a $30+ million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars. In his career in Dallas, he had some highs and lows, but probably fit his position of swing tackle better than anyone anticipated. When the Cowboys called his number after Doug Free's foot injury, he answered the bell down the stretch.

LT1-Tyron Smith

One of the premier left tackles in the league and perhaps the best at his position. It's no wonder that the Cowboys locked him into a monumental eight-year deal worth up to $110 million. The best part in all of this is that Smith is still only 24 years young. The Cowboys have built their offensive line into the envy of the league and it all started in 2011 with the selection of Smith. I've heard many-a-time Bryan Broaddus say when Smith gets his hands on a defender, they are done. He's a fantastic point-of-attack blocker and has the footwork and technique to match. It's also a marvel to watch him in run-blocking where he seems to effortlessly glide to the second-level. A superb athlete and cornerstone for this offensive line, Smith will be leading it into a very bright future.

LT2- Darrion Weems

Listening to our boys Rabble and McCool's podcast, they put forth some interesting knowledge. Weems has been mostly an afterthoguht. However, he's been really catching on this offseason and he actually has a good pedigree for the position. He was undrafted in 2012 and has spent most of his time on various practice squads. It seems finally like Weems is starting to show some understanding of his teachings over his time in Dallas. At one point, some coaches felt that Weems was ready to battle it out with Parnell for the swing job. Unfortunately for Weems, he ended up on the injured reserve list. If he can stay healthy this season and continue to progress, don't be surprised if he tries to compete with Free.

LT3- Laurence Gibson

Still somewhat of a project due to his stiff lower half, but he translates well as a zone blocking tackle. What the Cowboys like about Gibson is that he's constantly putting what he learned to work. In college, he seemed to always improve and he's a very intelligent player. He is a bit more polished in the running game according to scouts. He was also a top performer in almost every combine measurement per NFL.com. Gibson is rated 10th in SPARQ score and was in the 90.2 percentile. The Cowboys have another solid athlete to add to the rotation, we'll see if he can convert that to a roster spot. If so, Dallas would have a potential seventh-round steal.

RT1- Doug Free

The Cowboys had a choice to make this offseason with their right tackle position and they went for leadership. Free has been a stalwart in the Cowboys offensive line. Though Parnell played well in Free's absence, the drop off in the running game was noticeable. With Free, the Cowboys cruised to 1,634 yards on the ground. Without him, the offense gained only 720 yards in rushing. Since restructuring his deal a few years ago and taking a reduced salary, Free has played very well. The Cowboys certainly made the right decision to re-up with Free this offseason, and probably have one of the best bargains around. Free was also rated 7th in Bleacher Report's right tackle ratings. Once recovered from his foot injury, expect Free to pick up right where he left off.

RT2- Chaz Green

His selection was met with some groans because of the talent that was still out there. However, the Cowboys were high on him all along as Broaddus pointed out a few times. Green hasn't got off to a great start in Dallas as he's been injured the whole time. The Cowboys are trying to find the right fit for their swing tackle role and though Green has some talent, he's behind the eight-ball already. He's another blocker that is best in a zone scheme like Dallas', but he will certainly have his work cut out for him come training camp.

My take: The offensive tackle depth improved in numbers, but can anybody be the swing tackle that Parnell was for Dallas? With Free's injury history it becomes imperative to find somebody. Though many of us were disappointed by the Green selection, the Cowboys make it a habit to select young linemen to continue their building of the league's best unit. It's also encouraging to hear of Weems' visible improvements, too. The depth at the position is looking a lot better but they need a reliable swing tackle.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Blogging The Boys Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Dallas Cowboys news from Blogging The Boys