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Name To Know: Cam Erving Has Dak's Back


(Editor's Note: With training camp finally beginning, there are countless names that will shape the way this Cowboys season plays out. On a team with this much star power, some of those names are better known than others. This series seeks to identify some of the unheralded members of the Cowboys' roster, highlighting how they might make the team and have an impact on the 2020 season.)

  • Who Is He? OT Cameron Erving
  • How Did He Get Here? The Cowboys signed Erving to a one-year deal in May after Cameron Fleming, the team's backup swing tackle for the past two seasons, agreed to a deal with the New York Giants in March.
  • Career Highlight: A first-round pick by the Browns in 2015 (19th overall), Erving spent the last three seasons in Kansas City and was a member of the Chiefs' Super Bowl roster a year ago. Though not a full-time starter for the champs, Erving did make eight starts at left tackle for an injured Eric Fisher. In Week 3, the Chiefs beat the eventual No. 1 seed Ravens 33-28 behind quarterback Patrick Mahomes' 374 passing yards and three touchdowns. Erving played all 68 snaps at left tackle and allowed one pressure and no sacks in Mahomes' 37 pass attempts, according to Pro Football Focus. The Chiefs also piled up 140 rushing yards that day.
  • How Does He Make It: As mentioned above, the Cowboys have an opening at swing tackle, the primary backup spot to right tackle La'el Collins and Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith. Erving's experience (42 career starts in five seasons) would seem to give him an edge for the job, particularly in a training camp with limited padded practices and no preseason games expected. Brandon Knight is another candidate. As an undrafted rookie last year, Knight made one start at right tackle for Collins in an October road loss to the Jets.
  • How He Can Help: If Erving wins the job, the goal for any backup lineman is to keep the offensive line in sync when called upon. With two All-Decade players, Smith and right guard Zack Martin, the standard is high. Smith missed six games from 2018-19, and the Cowboys went 4-2 with Fleming at left tackle. Running back Ezekiel Elliott finished among the league's rushing leaders for the fourth straight season, and quarterback Dak Prescott had his most productive year yet while taking a career-low 23 sacks. Having Dak's back -- protecting his blind side -- is paramount.

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