One of the bigger questions for the upcoming season for the Dallas Cowboys is who will be the swing tackle? In recent years they’ve had veteran players such as Ty Nsekhe, Cam Erving, and Cam Fleming to fill the void, with young players like Terence Steele and Brandon Knight behind them. But in 2022, there’s no veteran with much playing experience on the roster.
That leaves second-year tackle Josh Ball (zero starts), rookie tackle Matt Waletzko (zero starts), and fourth-year tackle Aviante Collins (one start) as the only candidates on the roster. An early look into OTA’s gives us an idea of what direction they may be leaning as we approach the start of training camp.
Cowboys LT Josh Ball saw first-team work with Tyron Smith absent. Before a half-speed Hail Mary pass that WR CeeDee Lamb caught uncontested, Ball committed false start. So, Aviante Collins subbed in and took rep. Part of Cowboys’ emphasis to clean-up presnap penalties from 2021.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) May 25, 2022
According to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys gave second-year tackle Josh Ball the first-team reps on the first day of media availability of OTA’s. That’s a good sign that Ball may be ready to handle the duty of such an important position for the Cowboys, who have seen Tyron Smith miss more and more time the older he gets. It’s not a great sign, however, to see the penalty bug is still wiping out big plays from the offense, something that killed many of drives in 2021.
This is likely a battle that will continue into Oxnard, between Ball and Collins, and Waletzko. If Waletzko can make some technical strides to his game over these next few months, he has the size and athleticism to enter himself into the conversation. It’s early, so it’s nothing to look to deep into, but it seems like the Cowboys are hoping that their 2021 fourth-round pick rises to the challenge and takes over Terence Steele’s role as the team’s reliable swing tackle, now that Steele is the everyday starter at right tackle.