Position Series: Guard/center

February, 19, 2011
2/19/11
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Players: Andre Gurode (signed through 2012), Leonard Davis (signed through 2013), Kyle Kosier (free agent), Montrae Holland (signed through 2011), Phil Costa (signed through 2012), Travis Bright (signed reserve/future contract)

Top free agents: Justin Blalock, Atlanta Falcons; Nick Cole, Philadelphia Eagles; Darryn Colledge, Green Bay Packers; Harvey Dahl, Atlanta Falcons; Ryan Kalil, Carolina Panthers; Carl Nicks, New Orleans Saints

Top draft prospects: Mike Pouncey, Florida; Danny Watkins, Baylor; Clint Boling, Georgia; Marcus Cannon, TCU; Rodney Hudson, Florida State

[+] EnlargePhil Costa
AP Photo/Nick WassPhil Costa is about a season away from being considered a candidate to start at center.
2010 review: It was a rough season for this group despite Gurode getting a Pro Bowl berth based on reputation. Davis had an especially poor season, with a benching during the loss to the Titans serving as a low point for the three-time Pro Bowler. He had problems in pass protection but really struggled as a run blocker. The Cowboys averaged only 2.0 yards per carry behind the right guard. Gurode remains one of the NFL’s strongest centers, but scouts say his decreased mobility causes him to have difficulty making blocks at the second level and dealing with quick interior rushers. Kosier is solid when healthy, but he missed three games because of knee issues. Holland was adequate when pushed into a starting role.

Offseason preview: Even if the Cowboys keep Kosier as a stopgap, guard ranks as one of the team’s biggest needs. Davis is due $6 million for each of the next three seasons. It’s an extreme long shot that he’ll play to the end of that contract. It’s a possibility that the Cowboys could decide to cut ties with him this offseason. The Cowboys like Costa, an undrafted rookie last season, but he’s a center who needs at least another year of seasoning before he can be considered an option as a starter. Owner/general manager Jerry Jones has said he doesn’t want to keep spending big money in free agency to fill holes on the offensive line, but this is a big enough need to justify it. At the minimum, the Cowboys need to get a guard in the first few rounds of the draft.

Need meter (1-5): 5

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