Top 50 Players of 2016: Not Flashy, But This Veteran Might Be NFL's Best Guard Cowboys Open Preseason Schedule With

(Editor's Note: With the offseason in full swing, the focus is now shifting to the 2016 season, where the Cowboys have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. Not only do the Cowboys face five playoff teams but many of the top players in football. So the writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys. Today, we continue the list with Ravens guard Marshal Yanda.)

Name:Marshal Yanda
Team:Baltimore Ravens
Position: Guard
Height/Weight:6-4 / 307
Experience:9 seasons
College: Iowa 

*2016 vs. Cowboys: *The Ravens travel to Arlington for their first-ever game at AT&T Stadium in the regular season. Baltimore has made the trek to the Cowboys' home stadium for preseason games, but never one that officially counts in the standings. This year's game will be Sunday, Nov. 20, four days before the annual Thanksgiving Day contest.

What's the Deal: Yanda is arguably the best guard in the NFL, and will likely have a rare showcase of the league's top guards when he squares off opposite the Cowboys and Zack Martin. By then, maybe even La'el Collins has established himself as one of the best at his position as well.

But Yanda is big, strong, smart, aware, tough … and any other adjective that describes an All-Pro guard. The Ravens have had a successful running game in recent years with different backs carrying the ball. One of the consistencies in Baltimore's running success has been Yanda and his teammates up front.

Expect This: The Cowboys can expect a physical game anytime they face the Ravens, or any AFC North team for that matter. Yanda and the Ravens will be the Cowboys' second-straight opponent from that division, with the Steelers on the schedule the week before.

Previous Meetings:Yanda has only played one game against the Cowboys, occurring in 2012 in Baltimore. The Ravens held on that day for a 31-29 victory. Yanda was injured late in the 2008 season with a knee injury and didn't play in the final regular-season game played at Texas Stadium. 

Bryan Broaddus Scouting Report:

  • Normally lines up at right guard. Rolls his hips and flashes explosiveness in the run game. Good with hands to control defender when he gets locked up. Will flash nice punch and jolt.
  • I would not say he is a big technique guy. It's more about the fight than the finesse. There is some power in his hands. Big-time competitor and physical. Solid effort player, has some maul to him.
  • Works his base to mirror and slide in pass pro. Tends to play over the tops of his feet but is able to adjust. There are snaps where you see him struggle to adjust back to the twist. Movement gives him some problems.
  • Yanda is not as clean as he needs to be.  He is used in their scheme as the puller. Can get on the edge and get movement. Doesn't get knocked back. Can hold his ground.
  • Can easily get to the second level and will work to finish blocks. Will finish more than he misses.
  • There are snaps where he ends up on the ground, as his body control is not always where it needs to be -- which is surprising.  
  • He will compete and has been durable over his career. Has not missed a game in the past three seasons. Like Zack Martin was an offensive tackle in college, then made the shift to guard.

The writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys.

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