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Wrapping Up The Offseason: Did The Cowboys Improve At Offensive Tackle?

Before the dead zone is over and the Cowboys head out to Oxnard, we ask if they have improved from 2015 to 2016?

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

[After that disastrous 2015 season, that saw the Cowboys go 4-12 thanks to the injury bug, we are going to examine the entire roster from top to bottom and ask:

Have the Dallas Cowboys improved?

That may seem like a loaded question but in terms of looking inside and out and taking every variable into the equation that question can be answered. Do you believe that the Cowboys improved from one year to the next?]

We turn our attention to the offensive tackle position. The Cowboys have perhaps the best left tackle in the league, but what's it look like beyond that?

Last Season:

LT- Tyron Smith (Perennial All-Pro/ Pro Bowl tackle, showed little struggle last season)

RT- Doug Free (Started all 16 games in 2015, has an injury history)

SWT- Charles Brown (entering seventh season, played swing for Cowboys in '15)

OT- Chaz Green (selected in third round of 2015, red-shirted rookie season)

This Season:

LT- Tyron Smith

RT- Doug Free

SWT- Charles Brown

SWT- Chaz Green (will compete with Brown for swing tackle)

OT- Dave Hedelin (UDFA from Purdue)

OT- Ryan Mack (UDFA from Memphis)

OT- Bryan Witzmann (one-year veteran from NO and HOU Practice Squads)

The improvement for this position will be in the battle at swing tackle between Chaz Green and Charles Brown. Green has to win this job to make the Cowboys' right for taking him in the third round last year. With as much as they could have done there, they chose the tackle they really liked out of Florida. For Green, he has to show that he's ready for the swing job and if he can do that then he just may be able to challenge Doug Free next offseason. It's a bit of wishful thinking for Green to take Free's job this season. He must first tackle one obstacle at a time, right now, that obstacle is Charles Brown.

Hedelin, Mack, and Witzmann are all fighting for possibly one spot on the roster. Most likely they may only have a shot at the practice squad.

Of course, in regards to Free, he's been the elder statesman on this roster for quite some time and is perhaps the fifth best lineman they have. All of the current crop of starters have nothing but respect for Free and it was great to see him get through the season last year relatively unscathed. I'm not certain there is any true competition for his job but at 32, he doesn't exactly have a lengthy career ahead of him. There is a saying that has been thrown around a lot: If Free is your best offensive lineman on the roster, you're probably in trouble, if he's your fifth best lineman than you are in great shape.

When it comes to Tyron Smith, he had some struggles last season but that could be more of a product of the entire offense having trouble. The Giants signed Olivier Vernon in the offseason based off one game, they'll likely regret that if Smith bounces back. It's truly hard to even say that with a straight face as Smith is probably the best tackle in the league at this point. He's been a perennial All-Pro and Pro Bowler and the Cowboys are thrilled to have him blocking Tony Romo's blindside.

The Cowboys' running game has been in the top of the league for years now and with Ezekiel Elliott added as the RB1, these tackles should be pretty excited to get started. People often forget that with Smith and La'el Collins on the left side, the Cowboys get some giant road graders ready to pancake folks at any given minute.

So, did the Cowboys improve at Tackle?

Like I said, this really comes down to what you feel about the prospects of Chaz Green. For them, it's like having another third round pick to play with because he did nothing last year. If he makes a jump, the answer will be undoubtedly yes to that question.

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