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Why I’m “Selling” DeMarcus Ware and “Buying” Tyron Smith

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At NBC, I posted three Cowboys I’m “selling” in 2013.

DE DeMarcus Ware
Let me be clear that I’m not arguing that Ware is an ineffective player or that I’d trade him for a mid-round pick or anything like that. He’s awesome. But I don’t think he’s quite as awesome as most. It seems like everyone is expecting Ware to return to his 20-plus sack form, but I think we’ll see a lot of disappointment if that’s the case. His efficiency has declined for a few years in a row, and at age 31, he’ll be playing at an age that has historically been the start of a precipitous drop in production for pass-rushers. So I’m not selling Ware as a meaningful contributor to the defense (and really still one of the better defensive players in the NFL), but rather as the dominant 20-sack player we saw a few seasons ago.

And at Dallas News, I broke down why I love Tyron Smith in 2013:

One of the reasons that I ranked Smith as high as I did is Romo’s proclivity for hanging onto the football too long. If Smith played with Peyton Manning in Denver, for example, I think his pressure rate would basically be cut in half. Romo makes tons of plays by buying time, but he also artificially inflates the pressure rates of his linemen.

Second, and even more important, Smith is just 22 years old. He’s entering his third season in the NFL at an age when many players are just coming into it as rookies. Cowboys rookie wide receiver Terrance Williams will be 24 before Smith is 23, for example. That’s amazing, and it really goes a long way in trying to project Smith’s potential breakout. Offensive tackles typically have very long careers, but it takes them a few years to come into their own. Smith’s age is such a positive because, given his experience at 22, he’ll have more years playing at peak efficiency.

Plus, Smith was good as a run blocker last year. Dallas running backs averaged 4.47 YPC with Smith at the point-of-attack—well above the overall average of 3.56 YPC. Overall, I gave Smith a B- grade in my final 2012 report card. He’s primed for a huge 2013 season.


 

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