When you examine an NFL roster, the center position is one of the least talked about spots. The tackles get most of the attention on the offensive line, and unless you have a future Hall of Fame player like Zack Martin on the inside, the interior is much less talked about.
For the Dallas Cowboys, center is one position on the entire team where they have no real competition. After starting in just four games last season, former fourth-round pick Tyler Biadasz is the Cowboys' stand-alone starter at center.
Biadasz had some success in limited playing time, but he also had his fair share of low points. The rookie had nearly identical pass and run block grades from PFF, receiving a grade of 56.0 and 57.0 for the season respectively.
Dalvin Tomlinson welcomes Tyler Biadasz to the NFL. And Dalvin ends it with a fun celebration with a nod to Zeke Elliot. pic.twitter.com/rQrvLGl37x— Justin Penik (@JustinPenik) October 13, 2020
In six outings of real game action, Biadasz allowed 11 quarterback pressures and had an efficiency rating of 97.8, 31st among centers that played 100 or more snaps, according to PFF.
To be fair to Biadasz, he entered the NFL during arguably the toughest offseason in NFL history. Due to COVID-19, there were no spring practices and preseason games. Biadasz did not get the regular experience that a rookie would before they took the field for their first real game action.
Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore spoke admirably of Biadasz’s “command and conviction” during the spring.
“Being that center, there’s a lot of stuff that he communicates to the quarterback, to the offensive line, to everyone,” Moore said. “And I think just how fast and crisp and confident he is with that, that’s huge this year. Obviously, like CeeDee [Lamb], it’s his second year. It’s the first full offseason. There’s just a confidence level that’s coming out of him.”
It’s fair to assume that Biadasz will make progress in his second season in the league. He’ll likely be stronger and more familiar with the offensive scheme, but what if this does not translate to improved play on the field? If so, the Cowboys could be in a bad spot.
Currently, Biadasz is the only player on the Cowboys’ roster with experience playing center in the NFL. Third-year lineman Connor McGovern played center for one season at Penn State, and seventh-round pick Matt Famiok was moved to center by the Cowboys shortly after being drafted, but he only played the position one time in his college career.
If Biadasz was to go down, Dallas would be forced to play either McGovern or Famiok in his absence. Starting a guy at center who hasn't played the position in real game action since college sure doesn’t sound like a winning formula.
If the Cowboys are to look outside the organization to cover themselves, a familiar face could be an option. Veteran center Joe Looney, who started 28 games for the Cowboys over the course of the past three seasons, remains unsigned and could likely be brought in on a fairly cheap deal.
Looney may not be a better player than Biadasz, but he would give them a solid backup plan and make things much easier if the second-year linemen goes down with an injury or severely underperforms.
Competition is always a good thing. The Cowboys would be smart to create some at the center position before the start of the regular season.