Dallas Cowboys

Draft countdown: Aggies’ offensive line tradition continues with two NFL prospects

Texas A&M offensive lineman Avery Gennesy runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis on March 3, 2017.
Texas A&M offensive lineman Avery Gennesy runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis on March 3, 2017. AP

Texas A&M has seen an offensive lineman selected in the first round in four consecutive drafts. Luke Joeckel went second overall to the Jaguars in 2013, Jake Matthews sixth overall to the Falcons in 2014, Cedric Ogbuehi 21st overall to the Bengals in 2015 and Germain Ifedi 31st overall to the Seahawks last year.

The Aggies’ string of first-round offensive linemen will end this year. But they will extend their streak of having an offensive lineman drafted. In fact, they should have two.

Guard Jermaine Eluemunor projects as a third- or fourth-round choice, and tackle Avery Gennesy should hear his name in the fifth or sixth round.

“Yeah, I’ve heard that before,” Gennesy said of the Aggies’ offensive line tradition. “For me, it’s not about keeping up [with those guys]. It’s about whatever a team needs, it needs. If I get picked in the first or the last round, it doesn’t matter as long as I get an opportunity to show my skill and do what I need to do, I’ll be fine.”

Gennesy followed Joeckel, Matthews and Ogbuehi at left tackle. (Ogbuehi also started games at right tackle and right guard in his career.) Ifedi played right tackle his final two seasons after starting at right guard.

Gennesy made 26 career starts at left tackle, while Eluemunor made nine starts at right tackle and three at right guard in his only season as a starter.

“It’s a high standard,” Gennesy said. “Germain probably said it last year, but I’m going to say it again: There’s a high standard coming from A&M with the linemen. You want to be perfect. You want to have perfection each and every day. You want to get better each and every day. If you’re not doing that, there’s a problem.”

Overview

Offensive line easily is the weakest position in this year’s draft. It is not the year to be in the market for a lineman, as only four or five tackles project as NFL starters. More offensive linemen will go in the first round than they should, because so many teams are in the market for help up front. Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk is the top-rated tackle, and Western Kentucky’s Forrest Lamp, who has earned comparisons to Zack Martin, is the top guard.

Cowboys’ needs

The Cowboys have earned the title of league’s best offensive line, with Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Travis Frederick earning three of the five All-Pro spots last season. But for the first time in three years, the Cowboys face uncertainty up front.

Right tackle Doug Free unexpectedly retired after last season, leaving a hole in the line. Although left guard Ron Leary left in free agency, the Cowboys return a starting left guard in La’el Collins. Collins started the first three games last season before a right big toe injury required surgery, sidelining him the final 13 games.

Former third-round pick Chaz Green, who has spent most of his first two seasons in the training room with only two career starts, gets the first shot at the open spot. But the team signed tackle Byron Bell and guard Jonathan Cooper as insurance.

The Cowboys will play their best five linemen, with Collins potentially moving to right tackle if necessary. The Cowboys will likely use a pick on a lineman.

Top three OTs

Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin, 6-6, 310, N/A. A one-year starter at Wisconsin, he had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn hip labrum in January.

Cam Robinson, Alabama, 6-6, 322, 5.15. He made 44 career starts at left tackle for the Crimson Tide.

Garett Bolles, Utah, 6-5, 297, 4.95. A one-year starter at Utah, he earned All-Pac 12 honors.

Top OG

Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky, 6-4, 309, 5.00. He made 48 starts at LT and three at RG in his career but projects as a guard in the pros.

Top C

Pat Elflein, Ohio State, 6-3, 303, 5.32. He made 26 career starts at RG, 13 at center and three at LG.

Sleeper

Erik Austell, C, Charleston Southern, 6-3, 301, 5.23. He made 38 career starts at LT but projects as a center in the pros.

Top Texas ties

Jermaine Eluemunor, OG, Texas A&M, 6-4, 332, 5.22. Eluemunor, projected as a third- or fourth-rounder, is a one-year starter with nine starts at RT and three at RG.

Avery Gennesy, OT, Texas A&M, 6-3, 318, 5.35. Gennesy, projected as a fifth- or sixth-round choice, made 26 starts at LT for the Aggies.

Kyle Fuller, C, Baylor, 6-5, 307, 5.24. The Wylie product, projected as a late-round pick, made 39 career starts at center.

Aviante Collins, OT, TCU, 6-4, 295, 4.81. The Houston Willowridge product, with hopes of being a late-round pick, made 29 starts at RT and seven at LT in his career.

Sam Tevi, OT, Utah, 6-5, 311, 5.27. The Euless Trinity product, who could hear his name late, started 13 games at left tackle and 11 at right tackle.

82nd NFL Draft

April 27-29, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Selections: Round 1, April 27, 7 p.m.; Rounds 2-3, April 28, 6 p.m.; and Rounds 4-7, April 29, 11 a.m.

TV: ESPN/ESPN2 and NFL Network.

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