The offensive firepower on the Dallas Cowboys has been well-documented. Mike McCarthy is inheriting a unit that features a legitimate franchise quarterback that is trending upwards, one of the game’s best running backs, and a wide receiver unit that likely has the best trio in all of the NFL.
As a result, there is a ton of excitement about what the Cowboys passing attack will achieve this upcoming season. Throw in the potential upside of tight end Blake Jarwin and more utilization of second-year back Tony Pollard and you have a recipe that will be very difficult for defenses to defend.
One position group that still has a lot of talent, even if they may be overshadowed by all of the other positions on the offense this offseason, is the offensive line. Zack Martin is a future Hall of Famer and has been among the best players in the league since entering the league. Tyron Smith, another future Hall of Famer, is not at the prime of his career anymore but is certainly one of the elite tackles across the league. In fact, Smith was one of two Cowboys offensive tackles recently ranked inside the top-10 of the position in the NFL.
La’el Collins graded out as one of the four best offensive tackles in the NFL last season.
The other elite tackle on the Cowboys is none other than La’el Collins. The former LSU Tigers star offensive lineman has seen snaps at both guard and tackle since entering the league, but he truly flourished in 2019 while playing right tackle for the Dallas Cowboys.
Collins ascended into one of the elite at the position as he proved to be a force on the right side of the offensive line for quarterback Dak Prescott in pass protection and running back Ezekiel Elliott in run blocking. As a result, Collins finished the season as the fourth-highest graded offensive tackle in football by Pro Football Focus.
Collins was a sure-lock to be a first-round pick in the 2015 draft, but an off-the-field story caused Collins to go undrafted and Dallas took full advantage. The Cowboys rewarded Collins with a five-year contract extension last offseason — which now looks to be a huge bargain for the team after the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native developed to elite status.
Interestingly enough, despite possessing three elite offensive linemen on the roster, the Cowboys’ offensive line did not finish inside the top-10 in league in long-developing plays last season according to PFF’s data.
The Cowboys offensive line wasn't ranked in the Top 10 in long-developing plays. Dak deserves a lot of credit (as does Kellen) for turning around the team's sack total from 2018 to 2019. https://t.co/0sodSi1lfV— Cowboys Stats & Graphics (@CowboysStats) July 1, 2020
Credit is due for Dak Prescott for getting the ball out quickly and reducing the number of sacks from the season prior. After all, sack numbers are largely attributed to the quarterback.
La’el Collins is the latest Cowboys player to rank high on one of PFF’s lists. Recently, Dak Prescott landed in the top-5 for quarterbacks against playoff teams, while Amari Cooper finished with the second best grade for receivers across the league against top secondary units.
Dallas looks smarter by the day for getting a deal done with Collins last September before his impressive 2019 season.