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Cowboys draft 2018: Finding quality offensive linemen for the Cowboys

The Cowboys are looking for a starting left guard but could see value in a tackle, too. Here’s the good and bad for all these prospects.

NCAA Football: Louisiana Tech at Texas El Paso Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

Moving along through the Cowboys needs, we come to the offensive line and have to ask: What is the plan for this draft? Will the Cowboys snag a sure-fire starting guard at 19 or 50? Will they see too much value in possibly taking a tackle which would likely force La’el Collins back to guard?

Much like we did with wide receivers and linebackers, we would like to give you another comprehensive look at the pros versus the cons with these offensive lineman prospects. Check out the list of notable prospects, most on this list had some form of visit with the Cowboys. If you see a star by their name, those are prospects that project to be offensive tackles. Also, keep in mind, we chose bench, short shuttle and three cone numbers to give you an idea not only how strong these guys are but their agility as well.

Name School Games Played Bench 20 YD Shuttle 3-Cone Proj. Round Pro Comp.
Quenton Nelson (6'5, 329 lbs) Notre Dame 37 35 4.62 7.65 1 Larry Allen
James Daniels (6'3, 306 lbs) Iowa 34 21 4.4 7.29 1 Chris Chester
Will Hernandez (6'2, 327 lbs) UTEP 49 37 4.7 7.59 1 Richie Incognito
*Isaiah Wynn (6'3, 313 lbs) Georgia 51 DNP DNP DNP 1 Ronald Leary
*Mike McGlinchey (6'8, 309 lbs) Notre Dame 51 24 DNP DNP 1 Jared Veldheer
*Connor Williams (6'5, 320 lbs) Texas 28 26 4.63 7.83 1 Jake Matthews
*Kolton Miller (6'9, 309 lbs) UCLA 30 24 4.49 7.34 1-2 Nate Solder
Austin Corbett (6'4, 306 lbs) Nevada 50 19 4.5 7.87 2 John Greco
Braden Smith (6'6, 315 lbs) Auburn 53 35 4.77 DNP 2-3 Kevin Zeitler
Billy Price (6'4, 305 lbs) Ohio State 55 DNP DNP DNP 2-3 LeCharles Bentley
Cole Madison (6'5, 308 lbs) Washington State 46 26 4.88 7.86 3-4 Joe Haeg
*Desmond Harrison (6'6, 292 lbs) West Georgia 28 DNP 4.79 7.64 6-7 Cam Robinson
Maea Teuhema (6'5, 315 lbs) Southeastern Louisiana 35 20 5.06 7.95 7-FA N/A

For our look at the pros and cons, we’re going to stick with 10 guys that are likely on the Cowboys’ radar. We know that Quenton Nelson is the best guard in the class but he’s also a Top-5 lock by most draft boards, Dallas isn’t sniffing that at 19. After taking to the tape with a little help from Lance Zierlein and Dane Brugler, here’s what the Cowboys are looking at:

First Round

James Daniels, Iowa

Positives Negatives
Elite movement skills Lighter than desired, needs to add funtional mass
Very smooth and fluid Power at point of attack is average
Outpaces defenders with ease Bull rushers cause him to work overtime
Makes second-level blocking look easy Needs consistency in securing blocks
Finisher Improvements needed in hand placement
Extremely reactive athleticism
Great footwork, easily mirroring defenders

Cowboys fit: Daniels is the top center prospect in this draft but there is little doubt he has what it takes to play guard. He’s not the biggest guy but he can really move and is an excellent zone blocker, and can get to the second level. Daniels wins with his initial quickness but he’s also got some good functional power to his game. He will need to add more strength to his attributes but Daniels is a solid run-blocking left guard prospect for the Cowboys.

Will Hernandez, UTEP

Positives Negatives
Very thick tree-like lower half Questionable length
Impressive movement for his size Struggles with longer pass rushers
Natural knee bend and anchor Can ride up high on his blocks at times
Aggressive drive blocker with punishing power Needs to work on calmness after the whistle
Absolutely in love with football Pad level could improve
Finisher
Great pull blocker with nimble feet

Cowboys fit: Hernandez is what you call a “bus guy” as in the first guy you want coming off the bus with his intimidating look. There will be concerns about his quality of competition but Hernandez has that rare combination of power, balance, and athleticism. The Cowboys were at their best with a mauler left guard next to Tyron Smith, Hernandez is a ruthless blocker that fits the bill for what this team needs.

Isaiah Wynn, Georgia

Positives Negatives
Very fluid player with desirable knee bend High cut frame with lean lower half
Above average quickness and agility Needs to improve power
Great finisher Arm extension on initial punch needs work
Awesome hand placement and angles Loses patience and starts to chase
High football awareness
Great anchor and technique
Effective move or base blocker

Cowboys fit: Wynn has some versatility to play tackle but his best fit is at guard where his stout, powerful frame will serve him well. Wynn has the athleticism you want blocking for your runner on the second-level but he’s also a solid pass blocker. His nasty demeanor is similar to Hernandez but Wynn is the better technician overall.

Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame

Positives Negatives
Fluid athlete, former TE turned lineman Below average core strength
Great striking ability with fantastic knee bend Needs to add mass
Advanced technician with great mirror ability Must improve containment in base
Equally successful in gap and zone schemes Tendency to get sloppy with speed rushers
Elite pass sets with excellent punch Leans into too many blocks
Team captain multiple years Gets bounced back by stiff stab pass rush moves
Instincts to play tackle are unmatched

Cowboys fit: He’s not a guy you want playing guard, tackle is his best fit. McGlinchey is one of the top tackle prospects in a class that is void of great tackle prospects. He’s got the pro-ready technique and instincts for the position though he could struggle early with the bull rushers. McGlinchey is only the pick if the Cowboys feel he’s a better right tackle prospect that what may be left at guard.

Connor Williams, Texas

Positives Negatives
Lives in the weight room, unabashed leader Lack of length
Great lean muscle mass Needs improvement with hand placement
Established technician Core strength is average
Quality finisher with mean demeanor Gets straight-legged at times
Efficient blocker when out in space Overall mirroring ability declined in 2017
Footwork and vision are top notch Soft against counters, bad habit of punch and lean
Smooth athlete with elite body balance

Cowboys fit: Williams is an interesting candidate because he’s got that natural athleticism and fluidity to play tackle but some project him as a better fit at guard. He does have some durability concerns and his tape was much better in 2016. However, Williams tested really well and the Cowboys got a good look at him at Dallas Day. For this team, Williams would be a ferocious run blocker that plays with sound technique.

Second Round

Austin Corbett, Nevada

Positives Negatives
Fires out his punch with force and purpose Will move to guard cold turkey in NFL (exp. all at tackle)
Above average football IQ Lacks that quality leverage ability and leg drive
Good instincts, awareness, understands his job Tendency to allow defenders to slip his grasp
Assignment sound with quality Needs to improve hand and upper body strength
Shows zero panic in footwork A tick late sometimes with body control concerns
Very determined worker with accountability Must improve core strength
Walk-on turn four-year starter

Cowboys fit: Corbett in the second round is most likely the cut off point for guys that are clear starting options for the Cowboys. He’s pretty solid in all areas but not elite in any one area as a prospect. He certainly needs to improve his play strength at the next level but he’s a very smart player that is well aware of the leverage game.

Braden Smith, Auburn

Positives Negatives
Built like the Hulk, clear weight room junkie Plays at a slower pace than desired
He's a grinder that absorbs all contact Needs to see things much quicker
Mauler with power at point of attack A bit late getting to the next level blocks
Great drive blocker with extreme upper body strength Allows rusher to get into his body
Pure power to stop bull rush immediately Can look robotic and top heavy at times
Great body control and initial contact Footwork lacks responsiveness
Very strong hands

Cowboys fit: He’s a very plus athlete that has the build of a viking with his length and frame. Smith is not afraid to match power with power but there are concerns about his reactionary speed. He is a great drive blocker though with that mauler mentality. The Cowboys aren’t intimidated by guys that may have to learn on the job, Smith would be a nice consolation prize if guard gets away from them in the first two rounds.

Billy Price, Ohio State

Positives Negatives
Freakishly strong and explosive Can be impatient and it gets him in trouble
Plays with great quickness and urgency Oversets and loses balance
Top notch core strength Lacks desireable length
Good redirection skills with consistent leverage Needs to improve his set-up and hand resets
Really nice knee bend and flexibility Has a combative personality per scouts/ coaches
Gets great push on his blocks
Mean streak is channeled and in check

Cowboys fit: The explosiveness is evident from the moment the ball snaps. He’s very strong and powerful which shows as a huge advantage walking into the NFL. He can be a bit aggressive at times and really needs to work on his patience as a blocker. He has potential to start early but he has to fix that bad tendency to go head first toward the defender, that style of play will get him hurt in the pros.

Third Round

Cole Madison, Washington State

Positives Negatives
Gets out of stance with quickness Almost needs quick passing attack, up-tempo offense
Solid on the move blocker Doesn't fire off the ball consistently
Can lead the charge in screen blocking Carries too much weight on the back of his heels at times
Relentless worker to get blocks and recover Maintaining knee bend is concerning
Very light on his feet, doesn't give up edge easily Lacks the desired length
Great read and react with pass rushers Can panic block showing timing issues
Decent ability to position his feet correctly Needs to improve his anchoring abilities

Cowboys fit: Madison will benefit the most from a transition inside with his quickness and ability to sustain his blocks. He really does show well blocking in space which is a necessary trait for the Cowboys. Madison has some trouble anchoring down as a pass blocker which must be corrected along with his knee bend.

Late Round

Desmond Harrison, West Georgia

Positives Negatives
Rare athletic profile with outstanding traits Checkered past is an understatement
Quick twitch athlete shows outstanding flexibility Extremely raw with lack of experience
Has no issues with reach/ backside blocking A step slow out of his stance
Nasty finisher with flashy tape Doesn't trust technique and has bad defaults
Can match speed for speed with rushers Needs to improve footwork
Lead blocker who's out for total domination Need more muscle and core strength
Great recovery to hide any mistakes Played first football in three years in 2017

Cowboys fit: Dallas is doing their homework on this elite athletic specimen for a potential late-round steal at tackle. Harrison was a JUCO standout that got recruited by the Longhorns, where everything went south. He failed multiple drug tests and was forced out of the program. He’s got all the athletic talent to walk into the league as a starting tackle but his off field rap sheet is longer than his on field resume.