Dallas Cowboys: Could Bill Nagy Make It at Center?

Tom FirmeAnalyst IIMay 29, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 27: Bill Nagy #61 of the Dallas Cowboys looks on during the game against the Minnesota Vikings on August 27, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Cowboys defeated the Vikings 23-17. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys struggled at center last season, with a new starter at the position for the first time since 2006.

Phil Costa had his share of bumps along the road, and now the position is up for grabs. One candidate to snap the ball to Tony Romo is Bill Nagy, who the Cowboys drafted as a guard last year.

Nagy had a rough rookie season. Starting at left guard, he struggled in the first two games of the season. In Week 3, Derrick Dockery took the starting job from him, only to get injured. Nagy took hold of his position until Week 4, when he went down for the year with an ankle injury.

Now, the former seventh-round pick has to fight to get a starting role once again. He's competing with Costa and Kevin Kowalski for the starting center role. Both are young like Nagy, and Kowalski was a rookie last year, playing only seven games. Costa was in his second year and has 20 games under his belt.

Even though he started all 16 games last season, Costa doesn't have much of an advantage on Nagy. Costa struggled with the snap much of the year. His most infamous episode was Week 3 when he nearly cost the Cowboys the game against the Washington Redskins with six botched snaps.

Nagy, who saw some action at center during preseason last year, has impressed new Cowboys offensive coordinator Bill Callahan. Callahan told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "The good thing about Bill is that he's very versatile, having played both guard spots a year ago."

Center had been a position of strength during Romo's tenure before 2011. Andre Gurode was a stalwart snapper, making Pro Bowl appearances in each of his five years as starting center from 2006 to 2010 and playing in 78 of 80 games during that time.

Gurode's record didn't save him from losing his job in 2011, as he was cut after losing the training camp battle to Costa.

Now, Nagy has a good shot at unseating Costa.

Costa did nothing to impress the Cowboys brass last season. It's too early to tell whether Nagy can wrestle the starting center job away from him. When the real battle goes down in training camp, Cowboys fans will see which lineman can better handle the job.