FRISCO, Texas – The major moves are done, for the most part.
Sure, talent acquisition is 365 days a year, as the Cowboys' front office likes to say. But with the 2022 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, the roster that's about to work through OTAs is the one that will open the season in September, with perhaps one or two exceptions.
That's an interesting thought, because there are several roles within this team that don't look settled – at least not yet.
Today, we'll take a look at the center position.
What's The Issue: Plain and simple, the center position has been one of the weak spots on the team the past two years. In 2020, the combination of center and left guard was an issue and allowed some teams to exploit the middle of the line, especially when facing oversized defensive tackles. Penalties were a problem throughout the team, but especially at center with Tyler Biadasz getting flagged for 10, the second-most on the offense behind Connor Williams (15). However, there are other problem areas bigger than center, but the hope is the Cowboys can get better at this spot one way or another.
Who Can Fix It: It sounds like it's going to be someone already on this roster. Of course, Biadasz will be looked at first, considering he's the incumbent starter, having started all 17 games last year and four more as a rookie in 2020. The hope is that the Cowboys will continue to develop him as they did with Terence Steele, who is now a starter at right tackle. If it's not Biadasz, the Cowboys might look to Matt Farniok and/or Connor McGovern. Now that Tyler Smith has been drafted and he will likely take over at left guard, McGovern and Farniok can spend more time taking snaps with the chance of giving Biadasz some competition.
Outside Considerations: That's probably all they are at this point – considerations. One of the best centers on the market is J.C. Tretter, a veteran who has played in both Cleveland and Green Bay with Mike McCarthy. But he's yet to sign with any team at the moment. The Cowboys had a chance to draft the best center in the draft, whoever that was on their board, and chose not to at the No. 24 pick. There were some speculation early that Iowa's Tyler Linderbaum would be a good fit, but he was on the board when the Cowboys picked and that never seemed to be a serious option. In the post-draft press conference, Cowboys VP of player personnel Will McClay hinted that Linderbaum wasn't even the Cowboys' top-rated center. And then they completed an entire draft without taking one, suggesting that they didn't think any of the rookies were better options than what they've already got.
Best Guess: Based on what they've done and more importantly, what they haven't done, is the Cowboys will continue to work Biadasz at center, hoping that his third-year development, coupled with some help inside from Tyler Smith, will be good enough. While it sounds good in theory that Farniok, McGovern and maybe even these two rookie free agent centers – Alec Lindstrom (Boston College) and James Empey (BYU) will get some work, the Cowboys will probably value the continuity even more, meaning Biadasz will get as much work with the No. 1 unit as possible and that's the best guess for a Week 1 starters against the Bucs.