The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

Dallas Cowboys Potential Draft Pick in 2011: Tyron Smith, OT, USC

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Jonathan Bales

I recently completed my 2010 Offensive Line Grades for Dallas, and the results weren’t pretty.  Although I do think Doug Free is the most talented lineman on the team, Kyle Kosier ended up with the highest grade.  Still, it was only a “B” (86.2 percent).

Marc Colombo’s 63 percent, however, was the worst grade I ever gave a player.  If the Cowboys don’t upgrade the right tackle spot this offseason, they deserve another playoff absence in 2011.  Colombo yielded a ridiculous nine sacks, 11 quarterback hits, and 40 pressures in 2010.

I already dissected the game of Colorado offensive tackle Nate Solder and Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi.  Both of those players are “prototypical” Dallas Cowboys linemen.  Today’s feature, in my opinion, represents the offensive tackle of the future. . .

Scouting Report

At only 285 pounds, Tyron Smith is incredibly light on his feet.  He slides laterally with ease and has absolutely no problem with speed rushers.  He’s one of the more athletic offensive tackles I’ve seen in awhile.   He reminds me a ton of USC’s top offensive tackle a year ago: Charles Brown (scouting report here).  Smith is actually 10 pounds lighter than Brown.

Like Brown, Smith could get overpowered in the NFL.  With Doug Free on the left side for Dallas, Smith’s lack of strength could become an even bigger issue if he would be moved to the right side.

Unlike Brown, however, Smith nearly always uses great technique in pass protection.  Take a look at his play against Cameron Jordan & Co. below (by the way, he’s at right tackle). . .

Smith utilizes a solid base and quick feet to succeed.  The game above was an up-and-down one for Smith, as he was able to neutralize Jordan at times but got exposed at others.  Take a look at the 1:55 mark when Jordan simply tosses Smith to the ground.  With a frame that can and will add bulk, however, I don’t see Smith’s lack of current size as a huge issue.

Others will since, on paper, Smith is the exact opposite of what the Cowboys traditionally look for in an offensive tackle.  He’s undersized and played in a zone-blocking scheme at USC.  There’s a fine line between drafting players who fit your scheme and selecting the best player available and tailoring the system around his skill set.  I think the best teams implement both tactics.

Smith will excel on screens, counters, and so on at the next level because of his athleticism.  Jason Garrett usually runs lead dives in short-yardage situations and rarely calls power plays behind tackle anyway, so perhaps now is the time to make a switch to the new breed of linemen.   Plus, Smith has right tackle experience.

Projection

Because of his pass protection ability, I think Smith will rise up some boards.  He’s likely to be a top 25 pick because some team will see a dominant left tackle in him.

For Dallas, Smith would have to play right tackle.  Because of that and the fact that he’s not dominant in any aspect of tackle play, I don’t think he’s good value anywhere in the top 15.

Don’t get me wrong–I really like Smith’s potential.  If the ‘Boys could slide down to the late teens or early 20′s,  I think they should at least take a look at a player who doesn’t necessarily fit what they already do in Big D, but rather what they should do.

Other Potential Cowboys Draft Picks in 2011

Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara

Cal DT/DE Cameron Jordan

UNC DE/OLB Robert Quinn

Ohio State DT/DE Cameron Heyward

Colorado OT Nate Solder

Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi

Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn

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17 Responses to Dallas Cowboys Potential Draft Pick in 2011: Tyron Smith, OT, USC

  1. john coleman says:

    I hear he has one of the best overall skill sets of any available tackle. It also stands to reason he will naturally gain weight as he matures. Additionally OLBs and DEs will likely continue to become more athletic. To counter the speed and athleticism you must have speed and athleticism.

    I think in the late twenties or the 2nd rd, why not?

    I still think Dallas is eyeing guys like Ziemba and Chris Hairston for RTs. Either of them could probably play inside as well.

    Pouncey and Orlando Franklin could be OG targets.

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  3. John says:

    It was common news on USC boards that Smith has trouble keeping weight on at 280. Show me a tackle in the NFL starting right now that is good and under 300 lbs. At his light weight he can and will get tossed and will be a liability going at the larger DEs on running plays. A RT must be able to get it done on running plays while a LT its not that critical. Saying he can add and keep weight on is different from guaranteeing that he will. If we draft him it should be with the idea of making him our LT and moving Free to RT where he was EXCELLENT replacing Colombo. At RT I do not see Smith being as good as Free was there.

  4. John–I think Smith would be better on the left side as well, but there’s no reason to move Free for a rookie. Smith’s lack of versatility could hurt him.

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