“A place that was probably my most concern that I’m the most encouraged is in our offensive line,” Jones said. “We’ve got some players from last year, young players last year, that are going to be real contributors, and then we’ve got some new players this year, our draft picks basically, that will help us.”
After losing Connor Williams (Miami) and La’el Collins (Cincinnati) in free agency, the Cowboys put a focus on the O-line entering the draft. Perhaps no player on the offensive line has the potential to have the biggest impact than Tyler Smith, who the Cowboys selected at No. 24 overall during the draft in April. Jones says that Smith has impressed in a variety of ways, which was evident during his introductory press conference.
“His strength and his intellect,” Jones said. “He enjoys hitting. He actually enjoys it. He looks like he’s hunting something up out there. That was the book on him, and so all of those things are true. I must say that his press conference that may be the most impressed I “ve ever been at a press conference, just his ability to communicate.”
Smith’s maturity and communications skills that Jones alluded to have rung true since he entered the building two months ago. And while the football abilities have been impressive, the opportunity to be in Dallas has not been lost on Smith.
“It’s been crazy,” Smith said. “It has definitely been a blessing to be brought home. When it happened to me, it was just the wildest thing ever. It changed my life and changed my family’s life. I can definitely say I would not want to be anywhere else. “
Outside of Smith, Conner McGovern has proven to be a true bright spot during offseason workouts during OTAs and minicamp. Terence Steele, who stepped in and played a strong right tackle last season following Collins’ suspension for PEDs, is expected to be back in the fold this season.
Tyler Biadasz is slated to be the starter at the center position, but he could have some competition from players such as Matt Farniok and Alec Lindstrom.
One of the big issues will be at swing tackle, where the Cowboys have used last year’s fourth-round pick Josh Ball, and rookie Matt Waletzko, with hopes one of them can secure the backup spot to both right and left tackle.
The Cowboys will have to rely on youth at some spots, but they still have All-Pro veteran Zack Martin at right guard and of course, Smith on the left side at tackle.
Dallas will be relying on their youth at the line position, with the only true anchor being All-Pro guard Zack Martin and the older Smith battling injuries the past few seasons.
Jones says he feels confident that the Cowboys have potentially set themselves up nicely with their long-term options across the board at offensive line.
“As far as building and putting things in place for years to come, what you’d like to think you might do that offensive line, I think we’ve really done well,” Jones said. I just liked the way they square up, and I like the way they do the fundamental things. “