Dallas Cowboys rookie offensive tackle Josh Ball is on the shelf for the foreseeable future.
Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy revealed Friday the fourth-round draft choice will miss “multiple weeks” due to an ankle injury — likely a high-ankle sprain. This injury happened during a recent practice at training camp.
“It’s an unlucky time for an absence for Ball,” noted David Helman of the official team website. “The Cowboys have been trying to find the right combination of offensive line personnel for the past week, but Ball will have to wait at least a little while before he can get back on the field.”
McCarthy suggested that Ball might be back in Dallas for the Aug. 21 game against the Houston Texans. However, it is equally possible that he has been injured reserve and will not return to Dallas in the regular season.
After using the No. The 138th overall selection was made on Ball, who has a troubling history of off-field problems. In 2018, Florida State dismissed him over 11 incidents of “dating violence” in which Ball displayed “aggressive behavior including physical harm,” according to Calvin Watkins, Dallas Morning News. Watkins also reported that there was one incident involving a Florida St. football staff member.
Ball spent 2018 at Butler Community College after being expelled from the Seminoles’ program. He was then offered a Marshall scholarship. Ball made one start in the Thundering Herd’s 2019 season and played eight in 2020. He was awarded first-team All CUSA honors.
“He displays good overall athleticism and body control in his pass sets,” The Draft Network’s Drae Harris wrote prior to the draft. “Ball also displays good initial quickness out of his stance and plays with good knee bend, helping him with leverage as such a big-bodied blocker up front. His excellent length and range on the edge make it challenging for rushers to bend and turn the corner on him when he gets good depth in his set. He has good flexibility in his ankles, which helps him anchor and handle the bull rush effectively if defenders try to roll through his frame. Ball demonstrates the lateral agility to redirect on counters and hard inside moves. Although Ball has moments of getting his feet in the neutral zone through leg drive, he’s not a consistent vertical mover in the run game. He may be a little under-bulked but appears to have the frame to add mass as NFL teams feel would be necessary to unlock further potential. Ball could certainly afford to get stronger so that he can anchor better and get stronger with his initial punch. Most notably, he was dismissed from Florida State and the reasons for his departure must be researched throughout the process.”
Dallas conducted extensive background research on Ball and came away feeling confident that his past would not affect him. In football terms, he was to compete for the primary role of swing tackle behind veteran starters TyronSmith and La’el Collins.
The Cowboys will have to rotate Brandon Knight, Ty Nsekhe and Isaac Alarcon as second- or third-team OT options during training camp, with Ball out.