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Year 2 outlook for Dallas Cowboys 2021 draft class: OT Josh Ball

Will Josh Ball earn the swing tackle job in year two?

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

Since being selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth-round of the 2021 NFL Draft, Josh Ball has been the subject of scrutiny. It started with the murky off-the-field issues dating back to college, and now it’s sounding more and more like the development many hoped he’d have from year one to year two is taking a little longer than expected. Coming out of Marshall from a football perspective, there were people who saw a starting-caliber player on the field, that went as late as he did, due to the off-the-field concerns.

Ball’s year one was the definition of a redshirt year, after suffering an ankle sprain early in the 2021 offseason that forced him onto the injured reserve list. While he wasn’t able to see the field, the idea of him spending an entire year in an NFL weight room, while also developing his skills as an offensive tackle without having to take up a roster spot, or risk being poached on the practice squad, was the ideal scenario for his 2022 outlook.

Year One Stats

Spent rookie season on the Injured Reserve list.

Year Two Outlook

It’s early, but the returns from OTA’s and minicamp don’t sound super promising surrounding Ball’s year two development. The rumors out of camp painted a picture of a guy still struggling with strength and technical issues when dealing with speed and power as a pass protector and run blocker. While that’s not great news for the Cowboys swing tackle outlook, it’s still early and a lot of times training camp will tell the real story, especially for guys going into their second year. The Cowboys need Ball to step up and earn the swing tackle job, because rookie Matt Waletzko and veteran Aviante Collins are guys who fans shouldn’t feel good about if they are asked to play much in 2022. But with Tyron Smith missing more time the older he gets, it’s almost certain the swing tackle will be needed at some point in 2022.