Left tackle, Tyron Smith, has missed significant time for the Dallas Cowboys in recent years leading many to think his career may be winding down.
There’s no question, Tyron Smith’s injury history should be something to be concerned about for Dallas Cowboys fans. The former All-Pro left tackle has missed time in each of the last two seasons and despite being only 27-years old, his history of back problems is reason to doubt his future.
That’s why so many are speculating Dallas will address the tackle position early in this month’s upcoming draft. But after dedicating himself early in the offseason to rehab, Tyron says he’s feeling the best he has in years.
So is the talk of his decline and uncertain future premature?
"“I’ve taken this offseason to get back into it a little early and try to take care of my body a little more,” Smith said. “I’m just doing the little small things and I just feel awesome right now.”"
If Smith really is feeling better, and has his body and more specifically, his back, on the right track, there’s no reason to believe he can’t bounce back and deliver another All-Pro season in 2018. As such, drafting an offensive tackle early would be a waste of resources this year.
But if Smith isn’t over his back issues and is once again limited in what he can do, passing over a premium offensive tackle could be disastrous.
No single situation hurt the Dallas Cowboys more in 2017 than the health of Tyron Smith. As the mothership pointed out, of the 32 sacks Dallas gave up last season, 19 were in the five games Tyron Smith missed time.
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In fact, the eight sacks the Dallas Cowboys gave up against the Atlanta Falcons had long-term repercussions to the development of second year quarterback, Dak Prescott. Dak never seemed to recover from that day and his performance suffered the rest of the season. The sophomore signal-caller spent equal time looking over his shoulder as he did reading receivers down field and the results showed.
Cameron Fleming was signed last month with this in mind. Fleming may not be a starting caliber tackle in the NFL, but he’s considered one of the best reserves. With La’el Collins preferring to stay at right tackle, Fleming will probably be in that very role: insurance.
This is a completely different team with Tyron Smith playing healthy.
If he can stay healthy in 2018, we should all expect a repeat of that magical 2016 season. If he can’t, another 2017 season is likely to be in our future.
So is the talk of his decline premature?
Only the medical staff and his doctors can say for sure. But the Dallas Cowboys’ actions early in the draft should let us know what they think because Smith’s role on this team is far too important to leave up to chance.
If what Smith is saying is true, this news is pretty significant for the team’s future. It’s up to the Dallas Cowboys and their training staff to find out if Smith can be a reliable cornerstone heading forward because the success of the team could be at stake.