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Cowboys Draft Position Preview: Could Dallas Add More Depth To Offensive Line?

The NFL Draft is a well-known crapshoot, but a predictable trend has developed here in Dallas: When the Cowboys pick a player, they’re likely to play a lot.

According to NFL analyst Warren Sharp, Dallas leads the league in a unique statistic. Players selected by the Cowboys have played over 91,000 snaps for Dallas over the past five years. There were exceptions along the way, including former second-round pick Taco Charlton, but for the most part, the Cowboys made the most of their draft picks.

This year, the Cowboys are entering the draft with seven picks, including a 26th overall pick. Who could Dallas target in the draft? In advance of this The Dallas morning news will provide a breakdown of some players that could fill specific need positions.

Today, let’s explore potential prospects for the Cowboys’ inside offensive line.

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Current state of the Cowboys offensive line

The Cowboys have options on their offensive line. Longtime tackle Tyron Smith is back on a restructured deal. Last year’s first-round pick, Tyler Smith, played well in his absence last year, although he was originally scheduled to see time as guard. The team also discussed using Terence Steele as a guard inside, rather than just a swing tackle. Connor McGovern left for Buffalo on a free hand, but Dallas still returns for longtime guard Zach Martin and center Tyler Biadasz.

The Cowboys signed New York Jets guard Chuma Edoga for the offseason. He could end up being the starter for left guard. Another internal offensive lineman may not be the top draft need for the Cowboys, but it should be a position they aspire to at some point.

RELATED: Cowboys Free Agency Tracker: DT Carlos Watkins agrees to one-year deal with Cardinals

Day 1 prospects to watch

Florida G O’Cyrus Torrence (6-5, 330)

As mentioned above, the inside offensive line probably shouldn’t be the top priority on the Cowboys’ draft list. However, if Dallas really wanted to strengthen their offensive line, 26th-ranked Torrence could be a consideration. Do you want to protect Dak Prescott? How about a guard who didn’t allow sacks during his career in Louisiana and Florida?

Torrence has not only been sack-free in his career, but he has also been clean-shooting in 2022, according to Pro Football Focus. The analytics site had Torrence as the top-rated guard in the country last season.

Torrence played right guard in Florida, so that’s a factor Dallas needs to consider. Torrence could also be available on Day 2 of the draft. Currently, ESPN analyst Todd McShay has made his pick at number 39 for the Carolina Panthers.

TCU G Steve Avila (6-3.5, 332)

Could the Cowboys go into the draft with a hometown kid? Avila deserves attention. Avila played at South Grand Prairie before doing the same at TCU. He was an all-conference center on several occasions but stepped on guard this season. He didn’t allow a sack there and helped the Horned Frogs go all the way to the national championship. Avila was also captain of the Horned Frogs.

Not only could Avila enter the camp and compete for the left guard launch spot; He could also offer depth in the middle should Biadasz fail.

Just like Torrence, there’s a chance Avila will also be available on day 2 of the draft.

RELATED: 2023 NFL Mock Draft Roundup: See who the Cowboys will pick No. 26 according to experts

Day 2 prospects to watch

Alabama G Emil Ekiyor Jr (6-2.5, 314)

Anyone starting three years on the Crimson Tide offensive line is worth a look. That’s what Ekiyor, the son of a former NFL defenseman, did. Ekiyor was a first-team All-Conference selection as a right guard last season. He’s on the smaller side, although that wasn’t a big issue in the Southeastern Conference. He could be worth switching to the left and fighting for the starting guard spot.

UCLA G Atonio Mafi (6-4, 339)

Mafi started out as a starting nose tackle at UCLA but switched to the offensive line for his last three seasons. He plays with the tenacity of a defender. He seeks contact and often delivers penalty strokes. According to the PFF, he was the second-highest guard in the draft behind Torrence.

RELATED: Here’s what we learned about the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL Scouting Combine

Day 3 prospects to watch

USC G Andrew Vorhees (6-6, 310)

Vorhees likely would have been – and still could be – a Day 2 pick if he hadn’t torn his cruciate ligament during the NFL Combine. To his credit, however, he still benched in a healthy league, lifting 225 pounds 38 times, the highest of any competitor. The injury could bring Vorhees down, which could give the Cowboys a chance to draft an All-American left guard in the third round.

NC State G Chandler Zavala (6-5, 325)

Zavala was not invited to the NFL Combine. Normally, that would make him a marginal candidate to even be drafted. However, this is not the case. A former zero-star recruit, Zavala became a Division II player, became the starting left guard at NC State, and excelled on his Pro Day. He hit a 5.01 40-yard dash and bench-pressed 225 pounds 30 times. He’s also the son of two-time Chopped Champion Demetrio Zavala, so Zavala could at least make for a good dinner in the Cowboys’ offensive line room.

Cowboys design selection

First round: 26th overall

Second round: 58th overall

Third round: 90th overall

Fourth round: 129th overall

Fifth run: overall place 169

Sixth run: 212th overall

Seventh round: 244th overall

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