FRISCO – The Dallas Cowboys endured a few laughs following their first-round pick. And that pick, Tyler Smith, himself provided some laughs with his response to the critics.
“I stay away from the media,” Smith said over the weekend. “Everyone has an opinion. It’s like assholes, everyone has one.”
But there’s a bottom (no, not that kind of “bottom”) here to the 6-foot-5, 324-pound Smith’s “raw talent,” and it comes from Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy.
“He’s got a huge cap,” said McCarthy, who intended in this NFL Draft to add Cowboys who won’t be “big boys” on the field.
Dallas had several holes to fill before the 2022 NFL Draft. You can rank needs however you like, but owner Jerry Jones thinks the offensive line was most important.
With the offseason exit of right tackle La’el Collins, who joined the Cincinnati Bengals, and the loss of left guard Connor Williams in free agency to the Miami Dolphins, future protection of quarterback Dak Prescott has become a concern.
Add to that the declining health and increasing age of current left tackle Tyron Smith, the offensive line is a huge concern for Dallas, and until recently the Cowboys haven’t spent many first-round picks there.
From 1982 to 2010, Dallas didn’t spend a first-round pick on an offensive lineman. From 2011, they’ve now taken four, starting with Smith in 2011, Travis Frederick in 2013, Zack Martin in 2014 and Thursday, Taylor Smith of Tulsa.
Tyler Smith returns home near where he played his high school prom at North Crowley High School.
Holy Trinity Cowboys
2022 NFL Draft
“I played tackle in college, but I’m ready to play wherever they put me,” Smith said on his draft night a few miles from the Star in Frisco. “I’m going to take the coaching and I practice everything, so I’m comfortable everywhere.”
Interestingly, Smith said his only pre-draft interaction with the Cowboys was with assistant offensive line coach Jeff Blasko during a private practice.
“Man, I was shocked,” he said. “A lot of my coaches said there was a big chance (but) I can’t say I even engaged with the team much throughout the process, but like it came as a shock to me. “I can’t even lie. I’m beyond lucky to be here. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
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It’s indescribable to finally be able to come home after all this time to be able to play for Team USA,” he said. “It’s a dream come true. I grew up watching this team.”
“Indescribable”…is a word that fits the fact that he overcame Blount’s disease, which as a youngster left him bow-legged – and put him in splints for much of his life. this time.
But Smith overcame Blount’s illness to start 23 of 25 games at Tulsa and become a second-team All-AAC pick this year. One of the concerns of fans and the team around Smith is penalties. He was the most penalized player in Division I football last season, with 16 penalties in total – 12 for holding – comparable to the player he could potentially replace, Williams, who had 15 in total.
“Ultimately, the work will speak for itself,” Tyler Smith said. “Having these guys around me, being able to learn from these guys and playing with them, it’s going to be huge for my development as a player. I feel like it’s nothing but a blessing in terms of what I can be.”
Smith will have big cleats to fill, and time will tell if he was the best offensive lineman available at No. 24 as the Cowboys thought.
Welcome to Dallas, Tyler.
Welcome to Tyler’s “huge advantage” Dallas.
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