The Cowboys were already hurt by an offensive tackle error as Matt Waltzko in the fifth round in 2022 injured his shoulder so much that he will have to have surgery to fix it. Coach Mike McCarthy said this earlier in the week about Waltzko’s situation:
“I think it will be when [he’s going to have surgery]or can pass [without it]. He’s a beginner, we don’t really know until we see him move around in the weight room and power levels and all of that. It’s clearly a medical evaluation.”
Depending on the type of injury, as well as coach McCarthy’s comments, it doesn’t look like we’ll see Waletzko any time soon. This is a huge blow to the swing interference competition. This position could essentially be another year for the red jersey in the position whose fourth-round pick last year was Josh Pole, who missed out on last season’s entirety. You probably have two prospects for a developmental attack sitting all year round in successive seasons which is not ideal because as developmental prospects, delegates are very important.
For now, Josh Paul appears to be firmly in the driver’s seat of the swing intervention position entering the 2022 season, and based on reports from training camp, Ball looks much better and more comfortable in his second season with the Cowboys.
That’s a promising sign, but it’s still too early to rule out the Cowboys getting another tackle to provide not just some much-needed depth, but some good competition for Josh Paul.
One name in particular that could give Dallas some depth in an offensive tackle position is Chicago’s 2021 second-round pick, Stephen Jenkins. Jenkins’ days with Chicago Bears can be numbered as mall shopping has been reported. Jenkins’ professional career in Chicago didn’t really get any stronger as he had just a few rehearsals in camp last year when he injured his back which cost him the majority of his rookie season. Entering the second year, it looked like he would get his first crack in the starting lineup upon correct intervention and was immediately demoted to Larry Borum who was drafted into round five in last year’s class along with Jenkins. In addition to the demotion, NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan mentioned that the coaches and Stephen Jenkins don’t quite get along. It was also noted that it is the most talented team in attack but is very immature.
Based on the information available, Jenkins and the new system, which consists of new general manager Ryan Poles and new head coach Matt Eberflus, are simply not clicking, and the divorce could come any day.
Drama aside out of OklahomaJenkins was one of the top potential offensive linemen in the recruiting class for 2021.
Some critics even had a first-round score on it. According to the scouts in the NFL Draft Buzz, he has a score of 97 overall in blocking runs and 88 overall in blocking passes. These are high scores that cannot be overlooked. His best position is right tackle, but he has experience playing every position on the line except for the middle. He also has a middle streak and likes to finish playing with tenacity. Jenkins also has good instincts and is very athletic when he gets to the next level. There’s no doubt that the ability is there, and if anyone can get the most out of their offensive line, it’s offensive line coach Joe Philbin. Philbin has been training at a high level for over 20 years and is a highly respected offensive line coach.
You don’t usually see second-round picks from the previous year to shop. With how prevalent this situation is, Jenkins’ purchase price may be lower than it should be. Regardless of the rumored maturity issues, Jenkins clearly has the skills to be a very good player in the NFL for a long time. If it only costs a late pick, it’s a small price to pay to see if a new landscape change can help make the most of it. If the price is right, Dallas should kick the tires on the trade’s swing to support the swing handling position.