The days of the Cowboys having the best offensive line in the NFL are no more. However, despite the decline of the unit overall, the Cowboys still have a few of the best offensive linemen in the game.
Guard Zack Martin is an obvious choice as he’s coming off of his seventh All-Pro selection in eight seasons. The elder statesman of the Cowboys’ offensive line, left tackle Tyron Smith, may have his injury issues but he’s still one of the best offensive linemen when he’s healthy.
Pro Football Focus certainly thinks so, as the four-time All-Pro was ranked the 41st best player in the NFL for 2022.
Sam Monson of PFF on Smith’s ranking:
“Smith was back to his best this past season despite missing some time due to injury. He posted a 90.0-plus overall PFF grade for the first time since 2015, allowing just 17 pressures across more than 500 pass-blocking snaps. Smith finished with PFF grades of at least 87.0 as both a run blocker and a pass protector.”
2015 was quite some time ago, and it was also the last time Smith played a full season for the Cowboys. Since then, Smith has missed at least three games every season, with 2020 being the most as he was out for 14 games after season-ending neck surgery.
That’s the only issue with Smith, health. When he’s on the field his power and technique are still top-tier when it comes to offensive linemen across the league, and he displays both traits against the run or pass.
The Cowboys drafted Tyler Smith out of Tulsa in the first round back in April as the potential replacement once his veteran teammate rides off into the sunset. Until then, he’ll be handling duties at left guard and he’s already getting schooled on the nuances when it comes to being an NFL offensive lineman by respected trainer Duke Manyweather.
What the Cowboys are hoping for is that the injury gods bless them enough to where Tyron Smith doesn’t miss a lot of time. If that happens, and his rookie teammate keeps developing quickly, the left side of the Cowboys’ offensive line will become a forcefield like it was when Ronald Leary played left guard for the Cowboys from 2012 to 2016.
Tyron Smith can roll out of bed and be a dominant left tackle, he’s just that good. The only thing left to find out is how many games he’ll be able to show it this season.
Feature image via Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports