IRVING, Texas – Preseason comments seem to bother the Cowboys offensive line about as much as an oncoming defensive end – which is to say, not at all.
All three of the Cowboys' Pro Bowl offensive linemen took part in the Reliant Home Run Derby on Tuesday at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Naturally, all three players – Travis Frederick, Tyron Smith and Zack Martin – were asked about La'el Collins' post-draft prognostication that the Dallas offensive line would be the best ever.
Naturally, it wasn't a prediction any of the three was interested in furthering.
"That's not something that I personally am going to say," Frederick said. "I know that we have a long way to go to reach anything like that, you know?"
The Cowboys enjoyed fantastic offensive line play last season, largely thanks to the efforts of their young trio of first-round picks. All three players received postseason honors last year, and all three of them will be just 24 when the season starts.
Factor in the addition of Collins, who is just 21 and boasts first-round talent of his own, not to mention the drafting of Chaz Green at No. 91 overall, and it seems like a fair statement that Dallas has one of the most talented offensive lines in the NFL.
Asked about Collins' comments, though, Smith tossed aside the speculation like he would a pass rusher.
"For us, it's just to do our part on the team and kind of work hard every day and just kind of be the hardest working group on the team," he said.
Given the talent on the unit, that's a method Collins would do well to adopt. It's widely expected that the LSU standout is capable of earning a starting role as a rookie, but he'll have to beat out either a two-year starter in Ronald Leary or an eight-year veteran in Doug Free to do so.
"We certainly have a lot of talent in that room. A lot can be said about the guys that are there, but there's also a lot of times where talent goes wasted if it's not put to good use," Frederick said. "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. We have a long way to go and we're going to continue to work and continue to try to get better."
Collins joined the team last week after missing rookie minicamp and has been going through Phase 2 of the Cowboy's offseason conditioning program. He and the rest of the rookie class attended Tuesday's home run derby but did not participate.
"I think him and all the new guys, they're coming to work," Martin said. "Like we've always said, our group sets a very high standard for how we work, and they've come in and done that."
The real work will begin next week, as the Cowboys are set to start Organized Team Activities next Tuesday, with three weeks of practices before mandatory minicamp starts in June.