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Cowboys countdown to kickoff: #79 Matt Waletzko

The Dallas Cowboys face the New York Giants in Week 1. and we’re counting down to it by jersey numbers.

Cincinnati Bengals v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

We’re continuing our countdown to the opening game of the Dallas Cowboys 2023 regular season. Each day we’ll present a new player whose jersey number represents the countdown to opening day. Today is number 79.

OT Matt Waletzko
Born: 15th December 1999 (23) - Cold Spring, Minnesota
College: North Dakota Fighting Hawks
Draft: 2022, Round 5, Pick 155, Dallas Cowboys

2021 Stats: (College)
Total Snaps: 620
Pass Block Snaps: 351
Run Block Snaps: 268
Sacks: 0
Pressures: 8
Penalties: 3

Matt Waletzko was just a huge human being playing in the FCS, and thanks to his length and power he was able to dominate. During his second year playing at North Dakota he suffered a season-ending knee injury and only got to play the first six games. Then the next season his playing time was cut short again due to Covid restrictions. In his senior year he would excel and was nominated First-Team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference. During his four years playing at North Dakota he played both right and left tackle but played mostly on the left. On his 658 pass block snaps during his time at North Dakota he never allowed a single sack and only allowed 18 pressures. Each year in college his run blocking got progressively better.

Cowboys Review:
The Cowboys sent Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns in a trade before the draft in order to free cap space, in return the Cowboys received a fifth-round pick which they used to select Matt Waletzko. It was looking good for Waletzko last season during preseason, but he ended up on injured reserve in October after being unable to play due to a shoulder injury he picked up during preseason. Since then Waletzko has been working to recover and also trying to be a more complete blocker. He will compete this season for an important rotational role on the offensive line.

2023 Roster Projection:
Matt Waletzko is a huge lineman the Cowboys clearly want to develop and improve. He has the ideal length and upper body strength to be successful, but what he’s lacking at this stage is foot speed. Really what Waletzko needs more than anything is experience playing and to get as many on-field snaps as he can muster. With that will come sharper technique and a better fluidity with his kick-slide. If he can do enough in camp and preseason, he could work in as this year’s swing tackle.

Projected 2023 Stats:
Total Snaps: 145
Pass Block Snaps: 90
Run Block Snaps: 55
Pressures: 8
Sacks: 0

The Big Question:
Does Waletzko win the battle for the backup tackle position on the offensive line? Comment below what you think.

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