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A look at the Cowboys post-draft offense position battles for 2022 training camp

With the draft over, what positions on offense are ones to keep a close eye on for the Cowboys?

NFL: Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

It will be interesting to see how the roster of the Dallas Cowboys shakes out this season as the team looks to replace several key starters. There are definitely going to be some storylines out in Oxnard, so let’s discuss them

On this week’s episode of The Star Seminar, Rabblerousr and I were joined by a couple of our buddies we met up with during training camp in Oxnard last year, Tony Thompson and BTB veteran YumaCactus, to discuss the Cowboys offense and key position battles. Here is a breakdown of each offensive position.

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QUARTERBACK

Dak Prescott is the clear starter, and it appears Cooper Rush has a firm hold on the backup spot. This time a year ago, many didn’t expect Rush to even make the roster as he was behind Garrett Gilbert on the depth chart. But Rush must’ve changed some minds as he ended up winning the job. Things went from good to better for Rush as his number was called for one start against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 8, and he didn’t disappoint. Rush went 24/40 for 325 yards with two touchdowns and one pick, including the game-winning touchdown drive. Maybe he’s a more viable backup than we realized?

Questions that still need to be answered

Is the Ben DiNucci era over? What are their plans for Will Grier?

RUNNING BACK

With both Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard possibly entering their last year with the team, the future at running back is murky. The team is hoping some improvement in the trenches will help the running game, but what will that consist of in terms of workload? Zeke is coming off a season where he played most of the year with a PCL injury, so hopefully, better health is coming. Everyone wants more Cowbell Pollard, but the team seems content with keeping his reps to a minimum. The team didn’t draft a new running back, so it remains unclear what the future holds, and all signs are pointing to more of the same from this dynamic duo.

Questions that still need to be answered

Will Elliott show that he’s worth keeping by showing better health and improving his efficiency? Can Pollard overtake Zeke as the team’s lead back?

FULLBACK

We didn’t discuss the fullback position as we have no idea what the Cowboys could do here. Sewo Olonilua suffered a neck injury in the team’s first preseason game last year that derailed his season. Undrafted rookie Nick Ralston was signed to the team’s practice squad and got called up for special teams duty; however, he did get all of one rep at fullback. And how can we forget the team utilizing all that surplus of offensive line depth to fill in at fullback?

Questions that need to be answered

Will the team carry a fullback? Will Connor McGovern continue to be used in heavy packages?

TIGHT END

Dalton Schultz is back, but for how long? The team selected Jake Ferguson in the fourth round so fingers are crossed that he could be a valuable contributor down the road, but what should we expect this season? The biggest point of debate stemmed around the roles of third-year player Sean McKeon and veteran Jeremy Sprinkle. Both are primarily used for their contributions as a blocker, but will either of them play well enough to be a trusted member for 12 personnel?

Questions that need to be answered

Who will be the team’s new TE2? How many reps will Ferguson command in year one? And will anyone show enough to make the team feel okay eventually moving on from Schultz?

WIDE RECEIVER

With Jalen Tolbert joining the squad, we all feel better about the wideout group. How long Michael Gallup will be out for still remains to be seen, and that opens the door for others to get chances, but there are still a lot of unknowns here. Was the lack of Simi Fehoko in year one solely related to a crowded house last year or could there be something else? While adding James Washington in free agency was fine and dandy, he could just be a veteran bridge that gives way before the end of the season.

Questions that need to be answered

Will Washington hold down the fort until Gallup returns? Could one of last year’s UDFA like Brandon Smith or T.J. Vasher sneak their way on the roster?

TACKLE

The Cowboys made it clear that Terence Steele will be their long-term answer at right tackle after veteran La’el Collins was released. Tyron Smith should start the season at full strength, but history has proven that he’s likely to miss time, so that puts a lot of pressure on finding a reliable swing tackle. Last year’s fourth-round investment Josh Ball and this year’s fifth-round Matt Waletzko are the two youngsters who should be battling for the job barring the team breaking down and signing a veteran in free agency.

Questions that need to be answered

How well has Josh Ball progressed and will the team feel comfortable enough to roll with him?

GUARD

The team spent its most valuable draft resource to select Tulsa tackle Tyler Smith who should slide to left guard. My podcast teammates had a lot more confidence in Smith being ready to go by Week 1 than I did, and considering his cost, it’s hard to blame them. Smith is a mauler and has the raw ability to push people around in the trenches, but can he clean up his fundamentals to not be a liability from drawing flags? Connor McGovern remains the team’s top reserve.

Questions that need to be answered

Will Smith be ready by opening day?

CENTER

Tyler Biadasz is still the team’s starter, but he’s got a couple of youngsters to at least keep an eye on. Fans are excited about the priority free agent signing of Alec Lindstrom as that’s a great get for the Cowboys. There is also last year’s late-round pick in Matt Farniok who had a decent rookie season logging 23 offensive snaps last year. It’s hard seeing either of these two younger players jumping Biadasz, but it’s not out of the question.

Questions that need to be answered

Could this year’s offensive line surprise come from Farniok or Lindstrom?

Next week, we’ll break down the defensive side of the ball.