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Cowboys’ Tyler Smith ‘comfortable at guard,’ willing to play left tackle after Tyron Smith departure

If there was ever a draft to be starting over at crucial offensive line positions like left tackle and center, which the Dallas Cowboys are after eight-time Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith signed with the New York Jets and Pro Bowl center Tyler Biadasz signed with the Washington Commanders, the 2024 NFL Draft is the one to do it.

There could be as many as six offensive tackles — Notre Dame’s Joe Alt, Penn State’s Olu Fashanu, Alabama’s JC Latham, Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga, Georgia’s Amarius Mims and Oklahoma’s Tyler Guyton — and two interior offensive linemen who have the ability to play center — Duke’s Graham Barton and Oregon’s Jackson Powers-Johnson — that could be first-round picks. It feels certain the Cowboys front office will go offensive line in Round 1, and one of the key factors in who it select will come to down to how the team feels about Pro Bowl left guard Tyler Smith’s positional future. 

The 2022 first-round draft choice out of Tulsa played left tackle in college, but with Dallas having the elder Smith entrenched at left tackle upon the younger Smith’s NFL arrival, he moved to left guard. Last season was the Tyler Smith’s first Pro Bowl selection, thanks to his 74.5 Pro Football Focus offensive grade, the ninth highest among guards in the NFL who played a minimum of 600 snaps. He was at his best in the run game, earning a 79.7 PFF run-blocking grade, the sixth best by an NFL guard who registered at least 600 offensive snaps. 

If it were up to Smith, he would remain at guard, paving the way for the Cowboys to select an offensive tackle. However, he is open to becoming quarterback Dak Prescott’s blindside protector as well. 

“I’m coming off a really good year at guard,” Smith said Thursday on “The 8th Round Podcast,” hosted by fellow Cowboys offensive lineman Brock Hoffman. “I’m feeling really comfortable at guard. I kind of like how the continuity is right now. … I’m willing to do whatever it takes, y’all, and I’m able to do whatever it takes. So we’ll see what the future holds. Obviously, stay ready for anything but for right now, I’m the starting left guard of the Dallas Cowboys.”

At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis back in February, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones opened the door to the possibility of Smith playing left tackle while comparing him to Pro Football Hall of Famer Larry Allen. Dallas clearly holds Smith in high regard. 

“That remains to be seen. It’s starting to feel like [Hall of Famer] Larry Allen all over again,” Jones said when asked about Smith’s positional future at the combine. “The great thing about Tyler is his versatility; he could be a great left tackle, too. At the end of the day when we’re through massaging it, we’ll have a good spot for him. His versatility certainly brings options as we look at this team moving forward.”

Allen, an 11-time Pro Bowler and a six-time First-Team All-Pro, started out as a right tackle, switched to right guard, moved all the way over to left tackle and then finished the final nine seasons of his 14-year career at left guard where Smith is now. How the Cowboys handle the upcoming draft in a couple weeks will reveal what Smith’s long-term positional future will be. 

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Author: Garrett Podell
April 12, 2024 | 10:45 am

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