(Editor's Note: Over the next month, the staff of DallasCowboys.com is looking to answer the 20 biggest questions facing the team heading into the 2022 season. Today, the staff writers debate the backup swing tackle spot.)
FRISCO, Texas – Training camp is around the corner.
The offseason program is complete, and in less than one month, the Cowboys will arrive in Oxnard, California for their annual stay on the West Coast. That's when we'll start to get a clearer picture of the 2022 Dallas Cowboys heading into the season.
To help pass the time until then, we've come up with our annual list of the 20 most pressing questions about the Cowboys this year. Today, we'll start things off with an always-pertinent topic: offensive line depth.
20) Is The Swing Tackle Currently On The Roster?
Rob Phillips: Yes, because Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones told us so on draft weekend. His exact words after drafting Matt Waletzko in the fourth round were, "He sure took the spot of a veteran swing guy out here in free agency. We won't be seeing one of those." Could things change based on performance? Absolutely. The Cowboys signed veterans for the role in past years (Cameron Erving, Cameron Fleming, Ty Nsekhe) but they've drafted three tackles in the past two offseasons (Josh Ball, Tyler Smith, Waletzko). The obvious preference is one of the three young guys stepping up. If Tyler Smith wins the left guard job, maybe he's not a candidate. But after backup quarterback, this is the most important backup spot on the roster. If you're asking me right now to pick one player to start for Tyron Smith or Terence Steele in a pinch, it's Tyler Smith, and Connor McGovern could slide to left guard for a "best five" lineup.
Nick Eatman: I think he's on the roster, for sure. I just don't know who it is, but let's not rule out a darkhorse – and that's Terence Steele. Tyler Smith has looked pretty good this summer, and he's done so at both guard and tackle. Connor McGovern has also looked pretty good at left guard. So if we get through camp and Steele isn't one of the best five linemen, it could be him as the swing tackle, backing up Tyron and Tyler Smith. Now, realistically, it's probably going to be between Josh Ball and Matt Waletzko and I'd pick Ball in that scenario. But I do think he's on the roster. Just no clue out of the three candidates.
Kyle Youmans: In most seasons, I'd look at this roster and say there's no way that anyone is ready for a swing tackle role. However, there's a deeper thinking to the position than just traditional depth chart moves like in years past. For instance, Tyler Smith could be the swing tackle while starting at left guard. Matt Waletzko could be the true second string left tackle and Josh Ball could be the true backup right tackle. Either way, I believe the coaching staff look at the offensive line as a flexible unit that could see some seismic shifts throughout the season. So yes, I believe the swing tackle is on the roster. But things do change.