The Dallas Cowboys have recently established a track record of success with their first round picks. Since the failed “taco experiment” in 2017, the Cowboys have had good fortune – even stumbled upon some relative steals. From CeeDee Lamb to Micah Parsons, Dallas has walked out of the first round with some pretty nifty players.
CeeDee Lamb, arguably the top rated receiver in his respective draft class, fell all the way to pick 17 in 2020. He effectively saved Dallas from a K’Lavon Chaisson-sized mistake two years ago. Last year Micah Parsons was the deal that fell into their laps. Dallas was targeting Patrick Surtain and Jaycee Horn, after all. Only after their short-list got wiped did they recalibrate and pull the trigger on Parsons.
The Cowboys boldly drafted Tyler Smith, an offensive lineman from Tulsa, in the first round in 2022. Will he continue the successful trend?
As we touched on earlier, the Dallas Cowboys essentially lucked into some of their recent successes. They never expected Lamb to be staring them in the face in 2020 and in 2021 they picked a generational talent in Parsons but were clearly targeting others (granted, the CBs they were targeting look like All-Pros so they were in a no-lose situation).
2022 is a different beast because they had their guy targeted and they actually got him. It wasn’t a case of someone falling into their laps like previous successes. Smith wasn’t a hot name on many national draft boards but was allegedly highly regarded by more than just the Dallas Cowboys on draft day. Whether that’s true or not, doesn’t really matter. The Cowboys got their man and will be judged accordingly.
Will Tyler Smith live up to the standards set by recent first round picks?
In the long-run, it’s very possible, but we probably shouldn’t expect him to explode as a rookie like Parsons and Lamb just did. Smith’s ceiling as a player is every bit as high given his size, athleticism and strength, but his polish leaves something to be desired.
Tyler Smith is extremely raw for a first round offensive lineman. He has the tools and work ethic to be dominant, but he needs major refinement to get there. He’s also expected to move from LT to LG this season, which presents its own challenges. If the play next to him struggles (at center and left tackle) it’s going to make things more difficult.
This year, the Dallas Cowboys first round pick should be graded on a different scale than the respective rookies were the previous two years. Tyler Smith needs a longer timeline than the others because he’s rawer than them, he was drafted lower than each of them, and the supporting cast immediately around him is more suspect.
This is the first draft that’s fallen the way the Cowboys planned it since Leighton Vander Esch, so they are definitely under the microscope, but let’s be patient with his development because he’s on a different timeline than Parsons and Lamb.