The Dallas Cowboys don’t really have the hardest job heading into the upcoming NFL Draft. With their most pressing needs coming along both fronts, it should be really simple. When you dig even deeper beyond that layer of simplicity, a few things stick out more than any others. One of the better offensive linemen is projected to fall right to the Cowboys in their current selection spot at 24th overall.
With the top-end defensive lineman in this draft projected to all be gone within the first fifteen picks, selecting this guard is a simple choice. Also, this draft is actually very deep throughout, meaning the Cowboys to be able to find some real players to help them along both fronts if they’ve really done the work.
Plus, because of Dallas’s draft history, if they take an offensive lineman in the first round of the NFL Draft, things will likely work out. We’ll get back to that in a second.
The Dallas Cowboys should select Boston College guard Zion Johnson with their 24th overall pick to easily fill a pressing need
Johnson is listed as a big, strong offensive lineman that has shown leadership and intelligence throughout his football career. Although he will need to continue to work on his technique against higher caliber competition at the next level, he projects to be just the type of mauler the Cowboys need in the middle of their offense to help them move the pile in the running game and keep Dak Prescott upright in the passing game. Here is what ESPN’s Todd Archer had to say on the prospect.
While you could make a case for a receiver, pass-rusher or maybe even linebacker, the Cowboys have yet to fill their needs on the offensive line in free agency and have the opportunity to go with Johnson as a walk-in starter at left guard.
He would be the fourth first-rounder the Cowboys have selected on the offensive line since 2011 with Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin. If he could replicate what those guys have done, the Cowboys might have a vaunted offensive line again.
That was the history component mentioned earlier. Dallas loves to pick offensive linemen and they certainly need one. Johnson is a versatile player who comes with a high football IQ and a ton of strength. He took himself from a one-star recruit to a first-round NFL Draft prospect in just a few years.
Here are a few factoids from Yahoo Sports’ Matt Owen on the BC product.
From a measureables standpoint he looks the part and allowed just three sacks in over 2,000 snaps at Boston College and graded in the 81st percentile of all guards in run blocking in 2021 per PFF.
When it comes down to it, this is simply the best option in Round 1. Why? Because it’s the smart pick. It’s the needed pick. It’s the safe pick, too. It’s just the pick that makes the most sense given the needs and talent available. All Dallas has to do now is not mess it up.