This article is the first in a series that will look at draft prospects for the Cowboys at a specific position. The purpose of these articles is to look at prospects at the position that could be available on each of the three days of the draft.
We’ll be starting with the left guard position. After last year’s starter Jonathan Cooper left in free agency, guard became a real need for the Cowboys. Dallas did keep someone in-house by re-signing Joe Looney, but they also signed offensive tackle Cameron Fleming and offensive guard Marcus Martin in free agency. Those guys will duke it out for spots across the line, but the Cowboys could still very go well the route of using a premium draft pick on an offensive guard.
Depending on how things shake out once the draft begins, the Cowboys could go early at guard, or later if they think they have some in-house solutions, including the possibility of shifting La’el Collins back inside.
Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
Wynn is a really nice player and is going to be a quality addition to an NFL offensive line. There are concerns about his natural power, but Wynn shows on tape that he is an athletic mover in the running game.
He also has extremely strong hands to go along with good footwork. Pairing those traits with his technique, Wynn should be a quality pass-blocker as well. In Dallas, he would be inserted in an unbelievable situation next to Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick. The Dallas running game would improve with Wynn’s athletic ability to get to the second level and clear paths.
Will Hernandez, UTEP
A guy that has hung out with some Cowboys in the past, Hernandez is a name that you should not put off just because of the school he went to and the competition he faced. This guy plays mean. He is a huge body at 6-foot-2, 325 pounds. He weighed even more at the beginning of the season, but his loss in weight has led to more athletic measurables, thus making him even more of an attractive prospect.
At the combine, he put up 37 reps of 225 pounds on the bench. He plays with great leverage, showing the ability to use his wide frame. There is the potential in Hernandez to become a Pro Bowler at left guard for a long time in the NFL.
James Daniels, Iowa
If the Cowboys do not like a guard with the No. 19 pick, here is a guy that could interest them with the No. 50 pick - if he’s still available. They may have to trade back up in the second to get him. If you look across the league, Iowa has produced some good offensive linemen in recent years.
Daniels is the next player that falls in that lineage he is another Iowa player that is quick and athletic. Dallas will love his versatility, as he can play any of the three interior positions. He may be viewed long-term as a center, but there are certain attributes of his game that scream guard. He would be a really nice piece for pulling plays and misdirections.
Braden Smith, Auburn
Smith is a freakish athlete. Looking at his combine numbers and his SPARq scores makes scout’s drool. He has size and power and was a durable player at Auburn. He is a mauler in the run game and has the ability to improve his game at the next level.
The reason he’s not a day one prospect is he sometimes doesn’t play up to the level of his athletic gifts. He can be rigid at times and his footwork isn’t always at the level you would like. He doesn’t always react as fast as you would expect.
Wyatt Teller, Virginia Tech
Despite absolutely blowing up at the combine, Teller is a player that is not seeing a ton of buzz surrounding his name. He is truly an athletic specimen at 6-foot-3, 315 pounds with broad shoulders and long arms.
Unfortunately, there were issues of inconsistency, especially in ACC games when he faced better competition. He is awesome at mirroring and keeping his position, but he did not show at Virginia Tech the ability to consistently win in space. That will alarm some teams, but he is definitely a player that could benefit from a sustainable environment around him and more of a coaching regiment that believes in him.
Sean Welsh, Iowa
Sticking with Iowa football products, Welsh is another guy who could have a long career. He has exceptional technique and he was a huge part of the Hawkeyes’ rushing attack.
Welsh is the type of guy that can play both guard positions and center. He is not that athletic and while the combine did not help him, he makes up for it with his intelligence and utilizing his strengths. He is not a flashy offensive lineman by any means, but he can be a nice depth piece in Dallas and even have the ability to start if asked.
Salesi Uhatafe, Utah
He has a thick body and nice arms for the position, with a powerful upper body. Does a fair job of anchoring down and can absorb hits. Does well when asked to remain stationary and protect an area. He’s not the most athletic player and that could hurt him at the next level. It will be a challenge for him to overcome his lack of fluid motion and he’s not the best finisher. He has a lot of work to do to succeed at the next level.