(Editor's Note: While the start of the 2022 NFL Draft isn't until late-April, it's never too early to profile some of the key participants. The staff of DallasCowboys.com intends to preview the landscape of the draft's top prospects, with an emphasis on possible Cowboys draft picks – from the first round to the last. Today's featured player is Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum.)
- Name: Tyler Linderbaum
- Position: C
- College: Iowa
- Height/Weight: 6'2/296
- Did You Know: Linderbaum is going to be the first center selected in this year's draft, which makes his history that much more interesting. He committed to Iowa as a three-star defensive tackle and actually played his freshman season at that position. It wasn't until his sophomore season that he switched to the opposite line and began to blossom into one of this draft's best prospects.
Where He's Projected:
This feels like a classic case of talent against positional value. Ask any draft evaluator and they'll tell you Linderbaum has some of the cleanest tape in this class, as he dominated at an All-American level and eventually won the Rimington Award, given to the nation's top center. All of that said, center is a position that teams often think they can afford to address later. Last year's All-Pro centers, Jason Kelce and Corey Linsley, were Day 3 picks, just as an example. This is all a roundabout way of saying that Linderbaum has the potential to go in the Top 20 picks of this draft – but it's also possible he slides out of the first round entirely. It's anyone's guess right now, but the chatter seems to indicate that Linderbaum will be a Top 40 pick, it's just a matter of determining how close to 40 he'll wind up going.
How He Helps The Cowboys:
There's a lot of hand-wringing about Linderbaum's draft stock, and some are concerned about his small size, weighing in just less than 300 pounds. But make no mistake: Linderbaum has the talent to be a Day 1 starter at center if he's drafted here. Part of what makes him such an interesting name for the Cowboys is that picking him would speak volumes on how they feel about Tyler Biadasz. The third-year center from Wisconsin has been solid, if not spectacular, since he was picked in the fourth round in 2020. But adding Linderbaum would send a clear signal that the Cowboys' front office thinks the position can be upgraded. If Linderbaum is the pick, the Cowboys would all of a sudden have some impressive depth at the position.
Kyle Youmans' Report: "Jason Kelce. A little undersized but it doesn't affect his game. Powerful and clean finisher at the point of attack and should anchor an offensive line for years to come."