Things were getting ugly really fast Thursday night at the 2022 NFL Draft. The Dallas Cowboys went in with hopes high and needs just about everywhere. Looking at it before it started, it was almost impossible to not get a great pick at 24, given all the options.
But things unfolded. They unfolded fast. And ugly. Players the Dallas Cowboys hoped would fall within their reach (Penning, Burks, Olave) went fast. Players they expected to pick from at 24 (Green and Zion) went early. Suddenly the obvious options were gone and Dallas had to go a little outside of the box…
Given the circumstances, the Dallas Cowboys made the perfect pick by selecting Tyler Smith at 24 in the 2022 NFL Draft
After starting the season on a red-hot historic pace, the Dallas Cowboys offense cratered last season. Not only did their rushing game fall apart but Dak Prescott was left scrambling for his life and struggling to get the ball to his All-Star cast of receivers.
It doesn’t take a football genius to see what both issues have in common. The offensive line.
The Dallas Cowboys offensive line was a mess last season. Former second round pick Connor Williams regressed so much he was replaced with former 90th pick, Connor McGovern, midseason. After discovering the grass, indeed, was not greener with McGovern, Dallas begrudgingly flipped back to the original Connor and rode him until their untimely exit in the playoffs.
The Dallas Cowboys offense could draft all the talent in the world and it would matter a-hill-a-beans if the offensive line wasn’t fixed.
To make matters worse, their struggles usually came against a four-man rush. Teams learned they didn’t need to blitz to get pressure. They sat back in coverage and forced Dak to dump off short while they crashing down to swallow the play. When Dak did try to look deep, the pressure got to him, killing the play before a receiver even made their break.
The McCarthy/Moore offense requires strong offensive line play and last season’s squad was not cutting it. The Air Coryell portion of the attack needs time for receivers to get open downfield. Dak did not have that. It requires a strong running game as well. Zeke was 39th in the NFL in true yards per carry so it’s safe to say they didn’t have that either.
The Dallas Cowboys offense could draft all the talent in the world and it would matter a-hill-a-beans if the offensive line wasn’t fixed. Drafting Tyler Smith fixes that.
Tyler Smith, OG (Tulsa)
Standing 6-foot-4 and 324lbs, Tyler Smith is a force to be reckoned with. Rated by Dane Brugler as the 6th offensive tackle in the class, Smith was regarded as a reach at this point in the draft. But the Cowboys need a guard and the 21-year-old OT is thought to be a plug and play guard.
He won’t instantly upgrade the left guard position like Kenyon Green would have. But he has the size and ability to be a dominant guard with the ability to bounce out to OT down the road one day.
With Tyron Smith entering his 12th season in the NFL and Zack Martin clocking in at age 31, the Dallas Cowboys offensive line needs an injection of young talent. The ultra young Smith offers that to this group.
It’s a borderline vital addition considering the Cowboys don’t know what they have at center with Tyler Biadasz or at right tackle with Terence Steele. The more pedigreed players the Cowboys surround their questionable players with, the better chance of success for the unit as a whole.
That’s what makes this draft pick so pivotal.
Are their more important positions that need to be addressed? Sure. We discussed those here and explained how positional value plays a role in maximizing draft returns. But this is a move that makes sense and this is a player the Dallas Cowboys can build around. He’s raw and is going to take time but his power and size are something you can’t teach.
The Draft Network’s Joe Marino called Smith “among the most tenacious and aggressive football players I have ever seen.”
Fans are upset because the players they expected weren’t on the board. But the Dallas Cowboys stuck to their plan and brought in an offensive lineman that could be a star. As long as we’re all a little patient.