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Cowboys roster rundown: Offensive line remains the backbone for Dallas

With Tyron Smith and Zack Martin leading the way, the offensive line for the Dallas Cowboys should continue to be one of the top units in the NFL.

DALLAS — As the Dallas Cowboys get ready for training camp on July 27, we begin a look at the roster broken down by position.

Next up is the offensive line, where the Cowboys have been able to rely on a duo of All-Pro talent since 2014.

Left tackle Tyron Smith enters his 12th season with the team. The former 2011 first-round pick from USC started all 11 of his games played last year, a welcomed rebound from 2020 when he played in just two contests due to a neck injury.

Nevertheless the 31-year-old is on the verge of getting bull-rushed by Father Time as he has not played a complete season since 2015. Perhaps Smith never will as the season expanded to 17 games beginning last season, and perhaps we shouldn’t expect to see veteran players at a collision position play a perfect set of games in a year.

The Cowboys also benefited in 2021 from the return of Zack Martin. The right guard was limited to 10 games in 2020, and even split time at right tackle as the Cowboys worked through a bevy of injuries across the offensive line. Going back to his famed position at right guard, Martin played in 16 games and earned his fifth first-team All-Pro and seventh Pro Bowl selection. Dallas can count on a running lane behind Martin.

Terence Steele developed nicely in his second season to give the Cowboys confidence to cut bait with La'el Collins in the offseason. Steele, a former 2020 undrafted free agent from Texas Tech, was baptized by fire his rookie year, starting in 14 of 16 games for which he was activated. 

In 2021, Steele went through a full offseason in an NFL strength and conditioning program, and turned the initial season of many negatives into positives throughout his 13 starts as he looks to take another step in becoming a stalwart on the line next to Martin at right tackle.

The Cowboys allowed penalty-ridden Connor Williams to walk in free agency, and used their first-round pick to take Tulsa's Tyler Smith. The former North Crowley Panther is expected to beat out fourth-year veteran Connor McGovern for the starting left guard job, but the Cowboys have been keeping Smith involved in future plans. 

While the greater Smith missed organized team activities with back tightness, the lesser Smith got first-team reps at left tackle. Dallas is hopeful the 6-foot-5-inch, 324-pounder will be able to give them versatility in a pinch on game days.

Tyler Biadasz looks to continue his stranglehold at center after making all 17 starts last season. He could face some competition from second-year Matt Farniok from Nebraska, who is also getting work at guard. Second-year Ben Jones and undrafted rookie Alec Lindstrom will use reps behind Biadasz to make their case to the coaching and personnel staff that they deserve a spot on the roster.

Swing tackle will be a battle between second-year Josh Ball and fifth-rounder Matt Waletzko. Isaac Alarcon, a fan favorite from "Hard Knocks" last year and another 2020 undraftee, is a wild-card for the position. The Cowboys will also have Aviante Collins and Amon Simon to evaluate for the tackle jobs.

Do you think the offensive line will be the strength of the Cowboys in 2022? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane

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