(Editor's Note: With the offseason program in the rearview mirror, it's time to look ahead. As part of the preparation for training camp, this series will introduce 25 key players who are new to the Cowboys' roster, rookies and veterans alike. Today, we'll focus on veteran lineman Ty Nsekhe.)
How He Got Here: There may not be a more interesting and experienced depth offensive lineman in the NFL than Ty Nsekhe. The soon to be 36-year-old offensive tackle enters the 2021 season with 81 career games played, 79 of which have come after his 30th birthday. Before he was a mainstay in the NFL, Nsekhe spent several years in the Arena Football League before he finally stuck on an NFL team. Most Cowboys fans will probably remember him from his four seasons with Washington from 2015 to 2018 where he served as the team's primary swing tackle and saw 54 games including 16 starts. Following his stint in the NFC East, he made the move to Buffalo, taking the same role, where he posted some of the best tape of his career despite limited action (just 55 snaps in 2020).
What's Next: It's no secret that the depth of the roster was tested last season, and no position failed the test more than the offensive tackle spot. With no Tyron Smith or La'el Collins for most of the year, there was a mad scramble and a revolving door as the offense failed to adjust. Nsekhe could be an easy fix to the problem on paper, but that was also thought to be the case for Cam Erving last season before he also sustained multiple injuries. Nsekhe's experience along with his long reach and sure footwork should make him the best candidate to be the swing tackle when training camp breaks. He does have some holes to his game like his inability to stay low and gain leverage on more athletic edge rushers or his slower first step following the snap. Each of which will be interesting to see how they progress when there are tackles like Brandon Knight and Terence Steele who saw more time last season than Nsekhe did.
Bet You Didn't Know: This season will not be the first time he has played professional football in Dallas. The Arlington, Texas native finished up his collegiate career with Texas State and took his talents to the Arena Football League, where he played for the Dallas Vigilantes in 2010. After bouncing around the AFL with Corpus Christi, Dallas, Philadelphia, and San Antonio, he finally got his shot at the NFL and signed with the Colts just before the 2012 season to become a member of their practice squad. He made his NFL debut for the Rams in 2012 with eight total snaps, making his unorthodox journey to the league a success.
Quotable: Nsekhe will have the opportunity to play with notable veterans like Tyron Smith and Zack Martin, something he's used to because of his time with Washington where he played behind Trent Williams. He said this about the experience in an interview with the Bills:
"Just being around Trent (Williams) day to day, he's a future Hall of Famer," said Nsekhe. "Just seeing how he prepared and I took some of what makes him successful and added it to my game. I felt like every week I line up it's my job to lock the man up across from me. So I just go out there and do my job. That's what you see on tape."