[In this NFL Draft series, we will spotlight several positions of interest for the Dallas Cowboys. Scouring the landscape of draft gurus, we will put together mini scouting reports and weigh the pros and cons of many available prospects to find the right fit for the Dallas Cowboys come April 2020.]
The Cowboys have both of their bookend tackles under contract for the foreseeable future. Tyron Smith is still playing at an extremely high level, continuing to stack Pro Bowls and All-Pro considerations. La’el Collins might be the best right tackle in all of football but will be overshadowed by the Cowboys’ “Big Three”. After the two starters, things get a little shaky. The Cowboys value their swing tackle position, especially with all the wear and tear on Smith. Cameron Fleming has been a solid insurance policy for the Cowboys but perhaps they might look to get a little younger and cheaper at the position.
Let’s look at this year’s tackle class and see how they measure up:
|OFFENSIVE TACKLES||SCHOOL||CBS RANK||PROJ. RD||HT||WT||STARTS|
|JEDRICK WILLS JR.||ALABAMA||9||1||6'5||320||29|
|PRINCE TEGA WANOGHO||AUBURN||50||2||6'5||307||32|
|EZRA CLEVELAND||BOISE STATE||98||3-4||6'6||310||40|
|CHARLIE HECK||N. CAROLINA||142||5||6'8||315||34|
This year’s tackle class is considered to be a deep one with quality prospects to be had through the middle rounds. Now, let’s spotlight a few of these tackles that might find themselves on the Cowboys’ radar. With the Cowboys having arguably the best offensive line in football, it’s not likely to see them go after tackle early with needs elsewhere. However, once the second day arrives, it might be something they consider depending on how the process unfolds.
PRINCE TEGA WANOGHO, AUBURN
Prince Tega Wanogho is among the top five tackles in the class and it’s hard to see the Cowboys snagging him unless he fell for some reason. His last performance at the Senior Bowl wasn’t the best but all the tackles struggled that day. Wanogho is the super athlete tackle that most NFL teams would find a spot in their best five for. He’s very fluid and moves so effortlessly for such a big frame. He has that tenacious, mauler style of play. However, he is still learning the nuances of the position and has some hand placement issues to correct. Overall, he’s got the traits to plug in and play immediately.
|PRINCE TEGA WANOGHO|
|SR-AUBURN||6'5 307 LBS||PROJ. RD: 2|
|Great on the move, basketball background shows in lower-body fluidity, good awareness, uses length well, good power in punch, hands snap to lock on defender, competitive mauler, solid anchor abilities||Limited experience, very raw, needs to improve hand placement at times, refinement needed in footwork, tendency to over-extend, loses balance on occasion|
LUCAS NIANG, TCU
Lucas Niang is a big man but he shows some top-notch athleticism for a guy with his frame. Niang is always going to give you relentless effort and can actually help reach those combo blocks that tackles are asked to do routinely in the NFL. Though he’s not a bad run blocker by any means, he struggles to keep his body inline to pick up second-level blocks consistently. Lucas Niang may be exclusively a right tackle at the next level as he just hasn’t mastered the leverage needed to protect the blindside. Still, he’s a quality prospect that could get in there and play quite a bit in his rookie season.
|SR-TCU||6'7 328 LBS||PROJ. RD: 2-3|
|Proactive athleticism in perimeter blocking, ideal length for NFL, impressive at point of attack, very good short anchor, quick feet, A+ effort, strong run blocker, great combo blocker||Average at engaging on 2nd level, average quickness, struggles to cut off inside defenders, not enough bend, hasn't mastered leverage, susceptible to bull rush, average lateral agility, RT-exclusively|
JACK DRISCOLL, AUBURN
Jack Driscoll is one of the more balanced prospects on this list. He’s sufficient in both pass and run assignments. He does a nice job of anticipating a pass rusher’s plans and has shown that he can finish off his opponents. Driscoll is very sound in his technique but he’s going to have to add some strength and power. He’s a little light and will get put on the ground if he doesn’t add bulk to his frame.
|SR-AUBURN||6'5 294 LBS||PROJ. RD: 3|
|Great hand-placement, stays within frame, nasty run blocker, climbs 2nd level w/ ease, solid combo blocker, shows flashes of a finisher, technically sound, good instincts & anticipation||Must improve play strength, not an elite athlete, needs to bulk up, too light, length isn't ideal, has had issues staying off ground, pad-level causes balance issues, average anchor|
EZRA CLEVELAND, BOISE STATE
Ezra Cleveland is an impressive athlete with size and burst. His first-step quickness is elite and he shows desired lateral agility. It would benefit him to add a little more bulk to a frame that isn’t maxed out. He does a fantastic job of reaching and climbing the ladder on the second-level. He will need ample work on technique as he can get sloppy with his feet and he’ll need to lose some of those bad habits like over-setting that get him in trouble.
|SR-BOISE ST.||6'6 310 LBS||PROJ. RD: 3-4|
|Athletic frame, could easily add to it, first-step quickness & lateral agility are best in class, effective in every blocking assignment, great reach & control, has noticeable speed & gets great push, climber||Inconsistent, some sloppiness in technique, will overset in pass pro, leans into too many blocks, tends to panic in space, chases blocks too often, must improve functional strength, recovery isn't great, too high-hipped|
HAKEEM ADENIJI, KANSAS
Hakeem Adeniji is another very balanced prospect with good length, power, and mobility. He started at left tackle in every game Kansas has played since 2016 so the experience is something that will help his draft stock. Adeniji does a nice job of staying in control of his body and would be a great match for any zone blocking schemes. Like many on this list, he does have to improve his footwork as it can be messy. Adeniji has a lot of tools in place that he just needs help learning how to use.
|SR-KANSAS||6'5 300 LBS||PROJ. RD: 4-5|
|Started at LT in every game since 2016, good mobility & length, effective in space, great body control, timing, & consistency, great leverage player, sound zone blocker, smart, good bend||Footwork is sloppy & needs correction, needs to be stronger, anchoring is challenging, leaves frame exposed on occasion, struggles to get back on course in pass pro, both labrums repaired in 2017|
CHARLIE HECK, NORTH CAROLINA
Charlie Heck might be one of the best run blockers in this class, he seems to really enjoy getting out there and popping defenders. Heck is also very bendy with power to hold up in pass protection. He definitely has work ahead to add more play strength and he needs to be better at anticipation. Heck is a nice prospect to start his career as a swing tackle while he refines the details to improve his game.
|SR-N. CAR||6'8 315 LBS||PROJ. RD: 5|
|Big & bendy, moves very well, great pull technique, shows good leverage, has pop & power as run blocker, good overall athleticism, has temperament for position, decent hands, solid point of attack blocker||Needs to improve strength, must learn to anticipate pass rush moves, balance is shaky, refinement in technique is a must, needs to work on pad-level, must show more power on the move|