(Editor's Note: Throughout the offseason, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing each player’s impact last season and how he fits into the team's 2013 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features offensive tackle
Name: Jermey Parnell
Position: Offensive Tackle
Experience: 3 seasons
College: Ole Miss
Key stat: Parnell started his first and only career game on Thanksgiving Day when he replaced an injured
Contract Status: Signed through 2014.
2012 Impact: The position where this team has really struggled to develop young players has been the offensive line, but that looks like that might have changed with Parnell, from what I observed. Parnell started the season as the swing tackle for Bill Callahan, mainly seeing action on the left side. By the beginning of December, though, he was getting work on the right side with
concentration, giving up a pressure or missing a cut-off block in the running game. When he was splitting time last season, he did a much better job of competing play to play and it showed in his consistency. Parnell has the ability to be more than just a backup swing tackle in this league. He can develop into a player that you can count on down after down.
Where He Fits: I really thought it was a smart thing by these offensive coaches to give Parnell the opportunity to play during the season as more than just the extra blocking tight end. Not only did it help his development, but it allowed Free to take some time to regroup where he was at during the season. This move allowed the front office and coaches to not have to speculate on where they stood with Parnell, and if they do in fact have to make a move with Free because of cap concerns, they can do it with a clear piece of mind. There is also a possibility that in the draft, if they do make a move on Free, then they could draft a tackle to fill that spot and allow Parnell to continue his role as the swing guy. Keep an eye on Lane Johnson of Oklahoma if he were to get in range. Whether or not his grade would be better than that of one of the current Cowboys guards or offensive linemen, Parnell has a least put himself in the discussion.
Rowan Kavner – Parnell filled in for Tyron Smith to make the start against the Redskins in the teams' first matchup after Smith injured his ankle. It marked Parnell’s first and only start of the season, but it almost served as a dress rehearsal for the rest of the year. Two weeks later, he began rotating in and out with Free at right tackle, and that rotation seemed to work for both. As a former basketball player, Parnell was always viewed as a project. It’s becoming more and more possible that the work he’s put in could earn him more playing time and even a starting position in the pros.