The Dallas Cowboys are sitting in good shape heading into the 2023 NFL Draft. They have put in a lot of work this offseason to fill in some key voids. However, one spot that still leaves something to be desired is the left guard position. Connor McGovern left in free agency and the only thing the team has done to replace him is signing low-cost free agent Chuma Edoga. If the Cowboys enter the season with Edoga as their starting left guard that could be some cause for concern.
Because of the need, guard has been a position talked about quite a bit over the last several weeks. There are a few players on the Cowboys radar who could come in and be immediate starters, and those guys include (their average draft position is listed in parenthesis):
- Darnell Wright, Tennessee (ADP = 21)
- O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida (ADP = 29)
- Steve Avila, TCU (ADP = 50)
It might be a little tricky to land one of these top guys because they might not be the highest-rated player on their boards at pick 26, and the chances of them making it to 58 seem rather slim. For this reason, the Cowboys should have a contingency play, and that is what we will focus on today. Here are two prospects that could be good fits for Dallas if they miss out on an offensive lineman early in the draft.
OT Tyler Steen, Alabama
This Crimson Tide beast spent his first four years with Vanderbilt, including a red-shirted freshman year where he played as a defensive lineman. He transferred to Alabama last year where he was their starting left tackle. The appeal comes from his raw strength (31 reps on the bench press), but he also has good athleticism. He pops out quickly to get into good position and uses his powerful hands to fend off pass rushers. There are some bugs in his footwork that need to be cleaned up, which is why he slides a bit in the draft, but these are much easier to hide if he transitions inside.
Steen brings great versatility playing both the tackle positions in college but has all the traits to be an ideal candidate to slide inside to guard, which we know the Cowboys love to do when they draft college tackles. Jerry Jones also loves availability and Steen is the epitome of that, starting every single game over the last four seasons. This is an athletic mover who possesses the raw power to push people around in the trenches. Check out his measurables courtesy of mockdraftable.com.
My podcast partner, Rabblerousr, brought Steen to my attention on the latest episode of The Star Seminar and after reviewing his tape, it’s rather impressive. This could be a good value pick for the Cowboys after the first couple of rounds.
Seeing nothing on here about @AlabamaFTBL OL Tyler Steen but there’s plenty love in NFL circles.— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) March 23, 2023
Steen proved at @seniorbowl he could play OG, which makes him 4-position starter at next level.
Consensus among NFL scouts is Round 2. Very little buzz for likely Top-50 player. pic.twitter.com/KOHEG1Wvyg
Projected round: 3rd-4th (according to Dane Brugler)
OT Anthony Bradford, LSU
This giant Tiger rode the bench his first two years at LSU, but has started the last two, rotating mostly between left tackle and right guard. He’s a big guy at 332 pounds, but moves extremely well for his size, posting some impressive measurables at the combine. Like Steen, his bread and butter is his power (34 bench press reps), but he gets off the snap really well. His ability to get into good initial position stymies pass rushers as his wide frame doesn’t offer a lot of space to get around him. Check out his measurables.
He can get into a little trouble when he lunges as his inconsistent balance will put him on the ground at times, so he will need some development before he’s NFL-ready. However, sliding him inside will help him better utilize his tools. He also has that nasty demeanor the Cowboys love to have in the trenches. In all, he’s one of those athletic big guys who has tackle experience, but the power to flourish along the interior offensive line.
The #Chiefs had a pre-draft meeting with LSU OL Anthony Bradford this past week, per @TomPelissero— Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp) April 15, 2023
Bradford is evaluated by many as a G, but he has 291 career LT snaps. Most came in 2021, showing off the strong hands that make him an intriguing OL prospect in general pic.twitter.com/fBDpb9vHVp
Projected round: 3rd-4th (Brugler)
Building a better board...
Having a good feel for who the Cowboys are interested in is helpful in gaining an edge on whose name is more likely to be called on draft day. Here is a list of the offensive linemen who have either had an official 30 visit with the Cowboys, had a formal meeting at the combine, met with the coaches during their Pro Day, or had a private workout with the team.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN BOARD
|21||OT||Darnell Wright||Tennessee||1st-2nd||Raw power, ace run blocker, 4-year starter|
|29||G||O'Cyrus Torrence||Florida||1st-2nd||Wide frame, long arms, 4-year starter|
|50||G||Steve Avila||TCU||2nd||Wide frame, raw power, 3-year starter|
|98||OT||Tyler Steen||Alabama||3rd-4th||Raw power, vice-grip hands, 4-year starter|
|254||OL||Anthony Bradford||LSU||3rd-4th||Wide frame, raw power, 2-year starter|
|278||OL||Atonio Mafi||UCLA||6th-7th||Raw power, strong hands, 1-year starter|
|NA||OL||Ilm Manning||Hawaii||PFA||Quick feet, good hands, 60 starts at LT|