Former NFL GM Urges Cowboys to Trade Up to Fill Biggest Need


Getty Images The Cowboys could look to significantly bolster the offensive line during the NFL Draft.

The Dallas Cowboys have a massive hole to fill along the offensive line, following All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith‘s departure via free agency to the New York Jets.

Dallas could invest an early-round pick to bolster an inexperienced backfield or fill a void in the linebacking corps. However, one former NFL general manager believes Jerry Jones and the Cowboys need to prioritize offensive tackle in the NFL Draft and even trade up to get one of the premier prospects at the position.

In CBS Sports’ latest mock draft projection, former NFL GM Rick Spielman suggests the Cowboys need to trade up to select Penn State All-American offensive tackle Olu Fashanu.

“You got the second-best left tackle and one of the biggest needs on my offensive line,” Spielman writes of Fashanu, projecting a Cowboys trade with the Las Vegas Raiders all the way up to pick No. 13. “And maybe on my football team.”

Fashanu is a plug-and-play starter with significant upside, who could help soften the blow of losing Smith protecting Dak Prescott‘s blind side.

Olu Fashanu NFL Draft Scouting Report

Fashanu returned to Happy Valley for the 2023 season, in hopes of helping power the Nittany Lions to a College Football Playoff berth and to bolster his draft stock.

While Penn State fell short of a playoff berth, Fashanu was named a First-Team All-American last season, prior to declaring for the 2024 NFL Draft.

Across his three seasons as a starter, Fashanu did not allow a sack, as Pro Football Focus points out, while finishing the 2023 campaign with an elite 88.4 pass-protection grade and a 78.8 overall mark.

“He’s a good football player and he’s going to keep getting better,” an NFC Personnel Executive tells “But, he’s got areas to coach up. But you love that he went up against two really good rushers in practice, so he knows what it looks like.”

Meanwhile, CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso lists the 6-foot-6 and 317-pound Fashanu as the No. 9 overall prospect in this year’s class.

“Fashanu is still a young,” Trapasso writes. “And highly talented left tackle prospect without many flaws to his game. The Penn State star has a prototypical build, added strength to his game while staying at school in 2023, and exudes athletic gifts. And he doesn’t turn 22 until December.”

Cowboys’ Plans at Center Revealed?

Left Tackle isn’t the only position along the Cowboys’ offensive line that will experience turnover in 2024.

The Cowboys also lost stalwart center Tyler Biadasz, who signed a three-year deal with the NFC East rival Washington Commanders worth $29.25 million in free agency.

However, during the NFL Annual Meeting, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy is confident that there won’t be a significant dropoff when Brock Hoffman steps into the starting lineup.

“(Brock Hoffman) has been here, and no one was as close to Tyler Biadasz as he was,” McCarthy told reporters in Orlando. “I think that’s a natural step for him to step in there and we’ll continue to grow. But we definitely do want to continue to add talent and depth to that room.”

Hoffman, according to Pro Football Focus, played 222 snaps for the Cowboys last season and did not allow a sack, but did surrender five quarterback pressures.

The Cowboys have consistently fielded one of the NFL’s consistently elite offensive lines, but the position group as a whole may be primed to go through a transition in 2024.

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