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Cowboys draft 2023: Why drafting an offensive lineman in the first round again would be just fine

It’s no secret that the Dallas Cowboys are fantastic at drafting offensive lineman, but would it be smart to draft one in the first round for the second year in a row? 

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

With the 24th pick in the 2022 draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected Tyler Smith, offensive tackle from Tulsa. A selection Dallas Cowboys fans were very negative about until they warmed up to it less than six months later. Could Dallas have drafted a pass catcher due to the fact that the wide receiver corps was a glaring weakness? Yes. Could Dallas have also made up for the loss of Amari Cooper by actually using their resources? Yes and it applies to the 2023 draft as well.

Dak Prescott has been one of the best quarterbacks when kept in a clean pocket his entire career (regardless of who’s catching passes). When he returned from injury in Week 7, Dak Prescott threw for 1,695 passing yards (9th), 12 touchdowns (7th), 11 big time throws (6th), and had just eight turnover worthy plays when kept in a clean pocket. While those statistics are good and the Cowboys offensive line did start to improve in pass protection late in the year (still ranked 24th in pass block win rate per ESPN), there are currently two starters on the offensive line that are 32 years old; Zack Martin and Tyron Smith. Two fantastic longtime Cowboys, one that the front office could be looking to replace now, the other later.

What happens if all of the Cowboys favorite first-round WR and CB prospects are gone by the time it’s pick 26? The smart selection would be an offensive lineman like O’Cyrus Torrence out of Florida to continue rebuilding the offensive line while preparing for life without Tyron Smith, and eventually Zack Martin. There are always ways to add weapons through free agency, trading, or the rest of the draft. Even if Dallas decides not to make any moves through trades or free agency for a wide receiver — not every Day 2 wide receiver will end up like Jalen Tolbert did his rookie year.

Speaking of Torrence, he was a right guard at Florida but was seen playing left guard and even left tackle during the Senior Bowl practices and dominated no matter where he was. Throughout his college career, Torrence allowed just one quarterback hit (1,501 career pass block snaps) and allowed just eight pressures in 2022 playing in the SEC against future NFL players. Torrence is also the fifth-highest graded offensive lineman in the draft (88.0) and the second-highest graded run blocker (89.9) among all guards, centers, and tackles. Overall, Torrence is a day one starter and would help improve the run game. He would also help fix the weaknesses on the offensive line like Connor McGovern’s mediocrity as a run blocker and the pass protection in general.

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