Cooper Beebe doesn’t have to play center to be a starter

Cooper Beebe’s versatility gives him a few different paths to a starting role in 2024.

When the Cowboys made Cooper Beebe one of their third-round picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, he was immediately tagged as their next starting center. While transitioning to that role is Beebe’s primary goal as a rookie, it’s not the only way he could be one of the starting offensive linemen when Dallas kicks off their upcoming season.

One of Beebe’s strengths as a prospect is versatility with experience playing all over the other offensive line positions. Center is the spot where he doesn’t have much experience, but Dallas is confident in his ability to make the switch and hopefully replace Tyler Biadasz on the roster.

However, and this really elevates the value of drafting Beebe where they did, the Cowboys could find other ways to deploy Beebe depending on how other players are doing. They don’t have sure things at either tackle position, making Beebe’s array of skills and experience especially useful.

For one, what if rookie Tyler Guyton isn’t quite ready to be your starting left tackle? While we certainly don’t want this for the first-round pick, Guyton is having to learn to play the left side after playing most on the right in college. What if he doesn’t pick it up as quickly as you’d like, or what if an injury during camp or preseason gets in the way? Beebe gives you an option to not only start at left tackle, but also left guard if you prefer to have Tyler Smith protecting Dak’s blindside.

Maybe Guyton does just fine but the problem’s on the other end of the line. We’re all hoping Terence Steele gets back to his pre-ACL injury form this season, but what if he doesn’t? Beebe might help you at right tackle if you think he’s one of your five best linemen. He’d probably be even better there than on the left side, both with his own skill set and getting to play next to Zack Martin.

Dare we say it, there’s no guarantee that Martin or Smith will be available in Week 1 themselves. Even if you bubble-wrap these guys in the preseason games, we know all too well the bad things that can happen on the practice field. And there are a lot of practices between now and September.

Keeping it real is why Cooper Beebe made sense for Dallas. Brock Hoffman has flashed potential but in very small doses, so adding Beebe wisely elevated the competition at center. And as we outlined, he also serves as insurance against Guyton’s development, Steele’s recovery, and other scenarios that could play out across the offensive line. However he winds up contributing in 2024, Beebe gives the Cowboys a chess piece for their upcoming season.

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