Cowboys News and Notes: Tyron Smith to LT, Ratliff at DE?
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett had some interesting things to say yesterday at the NFL Combine. I’m going to address my take on a few of these notes and rumors. . .
- Tyron Smith will be moving to left tackle.
I’ve discussed my thoughts on moving Doug Free to guard, but either way Smith should certainly be at left tackle next season. Some might argue that Smith should stay put since he played so well on the right side in 2011 and played there at USC as well, but this kid is athletic enough to thrive on either side. I already have him rated as a top 10 tackle in the NFL.
This is really more about Free, who lost confidence and struggled badly at left tackle this year. Let’s hope he feels more at home at a position which probably fits him better.
- Jay Ratliff will play all along the defensive line.
This is welcome news. Although Ratliff will stay primarily at nose tackle, I really think it will benefit the Cowboys to use him at end in certain situations. Could this mean we’ll see the Cowboys draft a space-eating nose tackle to fill in for Ratliff when he’s at end? I don’t necessarily think that will be the case. More likely, you’ll see Josh Brent and/or Sean Lissemore get some snaps inside.
You can see above that Ratliff’s best season, statistically speaking, was in 2008. He’s seen a decline in sacks each year since then.
Ratliff’s overall rate of production has decreased as well.
- Bradie James and Keith Brooking will likely be released.
This is my final nugget of the day, and another piece of great news for Dallas. The release of James and Brooking is probably a year late, and understandably so as the Cowboys wanted to hang on to two of the only vocal leaders they have. All of the leadership in the world can’t make up for poor play, though.
Rookie Bruce Carter will be the probable starter next to Sean Lee next year. Although it is anyone’s guess as to how Carter will perform in 2012, I’d be willing to bet he will be an upgrade over James and Brooking.