It’s hard to define just which ‘wave’ of free agency we are currently in. We are definitely past the first wave, and probably deep into the second wave where there are still a group of quality players left who will get the last of the bigger contracts. Then the third wave will start where the bargains really happen. Anyway, those definitions of ‘waves’ are nebulous, but the fact is that the moves made by teams over the past week are defining their rosters - and the holes in it.
The Cowboys have been filling in their holes, mainly with their own free agents, but with a couple of outside guys, too. After their efforts, most would zero in on the offensive line as being the most problematic area left unaddressed, specifically left guard.
It seems the mock drafters will go that way too. Mel Kiper of ESPN released his first post-free agency mock draft, and he went straight for the guard position for the Cowboys.
24. Dallas Cowboys
Tyler Smith, OT/G, Tulsa
The Cowboys will look different in 2022, with Amari Cooper, Randy Gregory, Connor Williams, Cedrick Wilson and La’el Collins among the notable departures. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be worse, but they do have to plug a couple of holes. I’m not sure an edge rusher makes sense if this is the way the board shakes out — could Dallas take a flier on David Ojabo, who tore an Achilles at his pro day last week? — but there are a couple of offensive linemen who could play immediately. And with Tyron Smith and Zack Martin both over 30, the Cowboys should reprioritize the line.
Smith could play guard or tackle, and in this scenario he’d slot in to Williams’ left guard spot. Zion Johnson is the other possibility, and he could even play some center.
At this point, about the only thing to really argue about is whether you like Zion Johnson better over Tyler Smith. They both provide some position flex for the Cowboys, but in slightly different ways. Guys like Tyler Linderbaum and Kenyon Green had already been taken off the board by the time of the Cowboys pick.
There were some other players at positions of possible need available, like linebacker Nakobe Dean, wide receiver Treylon Burks, or edge players David Ojabo and George Karlaftis. But as for how things look today for the Cowboys, either Smith or Johnson at left guard seems to really make sense.