Last season, the offensive line was one of the rare bright spots for the Dallas Cowboys. Tyron Smith has emerged as one of the best left tackles in the NFL and Travis Frederick exceeded all expectation at center. The Cowboys have enough confidence in Fredrick that they released Phil Costa in order to free up cap space. The Cowboys did decide to keep Mackenzy Bernadeau, saving even more money as he agreed to take a pay cut. The return of Bernadeau is also an indication that Brian Waters, who before injury was fantastic on the line, will not be returning to the Dallas Cowboys.
The loss of Costa and potential loss of Waters leaves the Cowboys thin at the interior offensive line. Even though the Cowboys’ offensive line proved that it could dominate without Costa and Waters, as neither of them played for a large portion of last season, keeping the line as is could be a recipe for disaster. As it stands right now, the Cowboys cannot afford to suffer a single injury to the offensive line. Last year the Cowboys lost a starter in Waters, and the depth that Bernadeau gave them is what allowed them to sustain their success.
If any of the starters on the offensive line fall to injury now, the results could be disastrous. The Cowboys’ offensive line is what allowed DeMarco Murray to have 5.2 yards per carry which provides the balance that is central to the success of the offense. When the Cowboys abandoned the run game and became one-dimensional, the result was consistently embarrassing. After suffering the back injury, there have been a lot of questions raised regarding the durability of Tony Romo as a back injury may have a lingering effect. With his history and age, the Cowboys can’t afford to have a liability on their offensive line, if nothing else, for the sake of Romo’s health.
The defensive side of the ball is in most need of help from the draft as the defensive line and safety positions were borderline unwatchable last season. However, focusing entirely on the defensive side of the ball cannot be an option. It is essential that the Cowboys add some depth to the offensive line. While cap issues are preventing them from fixing problems in free agency the draft is the only way for the Cowboys to get themselves some insurance on the offensive line.
With a dangerous receiving group and a dynamic threat in the backfield, the Cowboys can’t risk having one injury on the offensive line collapse the entire offense. The Cowboys have enough talent on the offensive line that they can sustain some success even if a starter falls, as long as there is not a liability replacing him.