Cowboys List Screenings, Offense: Top 3 OTA Position Battles
The Dallas Cowboys’ training camp at Oxnard is still two months away, but with Tuesday’s OTAs approaching here inside The Star, we think there’s a lot of clarity on the roster already. 53 players, especially in attack.
In fact, there may only be three major position battles to be fought here, and only one of them for a starting position.
Our educated guesses on the offensive side of the 53:
Quarterback (and Battle # 1)
Dak Prescott is the starter. So what …?
Garrett Gilbert, Cooper Rush, and Ben DiNucci – probably in that order – could be competing for just one backup job … and none of them can win it.
Veteran free agent quarterback Brett Hundley has been given a peek. Before that, the same was true of Jeff Driskel, who eventually signed with Houston. Robert Griffin III would like a look.
Yes, Dallas at QB is all about Dak, and he’ll do “most of the work” at those OTAs. But once we get to September? The Cowboys will need at least one “bus driver” as a replacement – and there is no evidence that they have this player.
We wonder if they’ll end up keeping just two on the active roster – and if # 2 isn’t here yet.
Running Back (no battle)
Ezekiel Elliott is striving to regain the upper hand over the NFL. Tony Pollard is his sidekick. Rico Dowdle was the third to return last year. We don’t see much change here.
Wide receiver (and battle # 2)
We can see six guys doing it: Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup, of course. Cedrick Wilson is appreciated here. Noah Brown has been here forever without having accomplished much. And then comes Simi Fehoko, 6-4 rookie from Stanford, with whom Dak wants to “light up the league”.
The first three players will shoot again for 1,000 yards x 3. And there will surely be some competition between them. But it is the possible rise of Fehoko that intrigues. He talks about wanting to be the top receiver in this draft class. The process could start with him getting better than Brown, and pushing up from there.
Tight End (no battle)
Blake Jarwin returns from injury to provide Dak with a field weapon. Dalton Schultz, rushed into action last year, has become a competent assistant with 63 catches for 615 yards and four touchdowns. Newcomer Jeremy Sprinkle is from Washington as a backup blocker.
Offensive line (battle n ° 3)
The first four are easy: Tyron Smith and La’el Collins are the tackles. Zack Martin is the good guard. And sophomore Tyler Biadasz is the center.
And then it gets interesting.
Connor Williams was a part of the left guard, but Dallas wants to improve there; Can Connor McGovern finally be better? If McGovern wins the job, Williams becomes not only the two-point guard substitute, but also someone capable of playing center and tackle – the ultimate utility lineman.
If Williams is a replacement, does Dallas need a backup tackle from 35-year-old Ty Nsekhe? Or will Nsekhe get pushed around because rookie Josh Ball wins the swing tackle position?
In addition, Brandon Knight has a positional flex. And Terrence Steele has fans on the coaching staff. And seventh round rookie Matt Farniok is also here to be a utility guy.
The Cowboys could keep 10 or 11 O-linemen here, but who? And or? They’re going to need those OTAs, and those two months, to help them decide.