In this series, we’re going to go through all the needs the Cowboys currently have and find the candidates in the 2018 NFL Draft that fit the bill. Starting on the offensive side of the ball, there’s no better place than the spot of left guard.
Some folks out there don’t believe that left guard is such a big deal but they would be wrong. The offensive line’s struggles of 2017 were perhaps the biggest reason why the Cowboys were sitting on the couch for the playoffs. They need to find a starting left guard and this draft is a perfect spot to get one.
Isaiah Wynn, 6’2, 302 lbs, Georgia (Brugler: 25th, 2nd OG)
He’s a very balanced athlete that has experience at both tackle and guard but will be a guard in the NFL. Wynn has good quickness off the ball in the running game with good movement to the second level. He’s powerful and very forceful at the point of attack. He could do better with his pad level and needs to consistently drive his feet forward to finish blocks in the NFL. Wynn has great awareness of blitzes and can anchor down, blocking out defenders for the quarterback to finish his progressions.
Where you get him: First round
Will Hernandez, 6’3, 340 lbs, UTEP (Brugler: 32nd, 3rd OG)
He’s a big man but he carries the weight well and is an absolute monster in the running game. Hernandez’s style is a mauler-type that is a throwback to NFL guards of the past. He’s got thick tree trunks for legs and will almost always win the battle of leverage. Hernandez is quick for a guy that is his size and he’s a legitimate nasty guy to have to be up against. He can be a bit sloppy with hand placement at times and needs to work on controlling his body. Though he has plenty of room to grow, Hernandez has the temperament of a guy who plays an aggressive position. He loves nothing more than pancaking his opponent and he’s beastly.
Where you get him: A trade back in the first would be the perfect scenario
Wyatt Teller, 6’5, 311 lbs, Virginia Tech (Brugler: 106th, 6th OG)
He’s not one of the big uglies where he’s got a belly hanging over his frame, this guy has incredible musculature. He’s well-built and looks like a gladiator-type warrior in the trenches. Teller has very good length and can reach out and snatch pass rushers with ease. Much like Hernandez, he’s very quick at the point of attack and his hands are like vise grips, once they’re on you, you’re not getting free. He started as a pass rusher but his feet were a little too slow and he could still use work on technique.
Where you get him: Third round
Taylor Hearn, 6’5, 319 lbs, Clemson (Brugler: 161st, 9th OG)
Hearn is the raw athlete with incredible size that you want in an offensive lineman. He has all kinds of hand placement issues that he has to learn before he can reach his potential. He’s got great upside and is aggressive as can be in run blocking but he’s far less polished in pass protection. His calling card is his ability to use the pass rusher’s momentum against him and he probably does that better than any guard in the draft.
He’s got quite a few things he needs to work on but he’s a smart player that is always looking for work when he’s on the field. If he’s got his man, he’ll make sure someone else has theirs too, he keeps his pad level correct and head on a swivel. Hearn doesn’t get caught off guard by pass rushers, pun intended.
Where you get him: Fourth round
Cole Madison, 6’5, 307 lbs, Washington State (Brugler: 170th, 10th OG)
He’s been on the Cowboys’ radar, having met with him during the Senior Bowl. He also was a compensatory selection in this week’s BTB Mock. Madison has the size and lateral agility you look for in a guard but he came from a pass-happy PAC 12 where he’ll need to prove himself as a run blocker. He’s got the temperament to play guard and is quick to finish his man. Madison is a solid technician that played tackle in college but translates better to a guard by NFL standards.
He does struggle with pad level at times and will need to work on his upper body strength but he’s a tough competitor. Madison certainly has the traits and wherewithal to become an above average starter in this league.
Where you get him: Fifth round