The Dallas Cowboys head into training camp with their offensive line being one of their best units, and they have three starters returning.
The Dallas Cowboys used to have woes on their offensive line for a while, but the unit quietly turned into one of the best in the NFL last season.
If the line can perform up to its potential, it may finish as the best in the league. Tyron Smith emerged as an elite left tackle last season. The former USC Trojan allowed just one sack and committed only one holding penalty. This earned him his first Pro Bowl berth.
Right tackle is also a position of strength, and Doug Free is all but certain to continue starting there. Free had an incredible season after moving from left tackle the year before.
Travis Frederick will enter his second year as the starting center for the Cowboys, and he proved the “draft experts” wrong after they called him a reach when he was drafted late in the first round. His run-blocking skills are exceptional, and he will be even more dangerous if his pass blocking can improve.
Zack Martin, who was drafted in the first round, is expected to start at right guard. He has reportedly done well in OTAs and will be an upgrade over Mackenzy Bernadeau.
Bernadeau will attempt to stick around as a starting lineman at left guard, and he will compete with Ronald Leary for the job. Leary suffered a strained hamstring recently and has been placed on PUP, but he may be activated at any time since his injury is not considered serious.
Left guard is the only weak spot on the Cowboys’ offensive line, and the rest of the line is expected to be beastly.
The depth will be the key to the unit being a team strength once again. Whoever loses the battle for the starting left guard job will be a key backup at guard.
Providing depth at tackle will be Darrion Weems and Jermey Parnell, and Uche Nwaneri will be another key backup at guard.
The Cowboys’ offensive line may ultimately be their strongest position heading into the 2014 season, and if depth can be maintained it is all but a certainty.