The Dallas Cowboys have several intriguing battles for position superiority in training camp. Second-year cornerback Kelvin Joseph will make another attempt to unseat veteran Anthony Brown, free agent addition Dante Fowler and Dorance Armstrong will go at it for who starts opposite DeMarcus Lawrence, while Quinton Bohanna and John Ridgeway will get it on for who will backup Neville Gallimore at defensive tackle.
ESPN recently discussed the top position battles in training camp for all 32 teams across the NFL. For the Cowboys, it was a no-brainer, left guard.
Todd Archer on who may take the crown:
Rookie Tyler Smith and Connor McGovern have split reps with the first team since the opening practice, but the feeling is Smith, the first-round pick, will eventually take over full time. The Cowboys called him a “left-sided player” when they took him at No. 24 overall with an eye on him being the left tackle of the future. In camp, he has only played left guard. His strength is noticeable and he has so far been penalty-free, which was an issue at Tulsa. McGovern has also done well and is also strong, but he is fighting a first-rounder and the first-rounder generally wins when all things are equal.
That’s a very interesting nugget by Archer. Smith and McGovern splitting time aren’t too much of a surprise because of the experience factor for the latter and the former possibly being the future at left tackle. However, there seems to be more to it.
On Tuesday, it was reported that Cowboys’ offensive line coach Joe Philbin and an assistant offensive line coach weren’t completely on board with the Smith pick back in April. However, that doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things because Smith isn’t going anywhere, but, interesting nonetheless.
We have a @BryanBroaddus bomb, as he says that he's learned that OL coach Joe Philbin and the assistant OL coach "were really not totally on board with Tyler Smith selection." #Cowboys https://t.co/br9SNhZLYE— John Owning (@JohnOwning) August 9, 2022
Smith’s draft position, which Archer spoke on, certainly looms large here. First-round picks aren’t brought in to be bench warmers, especially with the Cowboys due to their lack of consistent free agent additions to help their roster. They expect them to play right away, so Smith has the edge on McGovern in that regard.
McGovern wasn’t as highly sought-after coming out of Penn State as Smith was. However, he’s played in 30 games with 14 starts. Last season, when Zack Martin missed the season opener, McGovern held his own against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Earlier this week at training camp, the Cowboys worked on their “Mac” package where McGovern comes into play full-back, which had a lot of success last season. So, McGovern has value, even if it’s just to be a swing guard, but if all things are equal, Smith should get to nod as the starting left guard this season.
Power and athleticism are why the Cowboys drafted Smith despite his penalty issues and rawness as a player. Although many dismissed the Cowboys’ selection of him, like Philbin and his assistant, his teammates and other people within the organization have been impressed with what they have seen, which proves that the Cowboys were right in trusting their scouting department.
Feature image via Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports