New Dallas Cowboys rookie offensive lineman Tyler Smith already has some big shoes to fill. Being taken in the first round, expected as a plug-and-play starter and wearing No. 73. The same number as legendary Cowboys guard Larry Allen.
He’s got Allen’s seal of approval despite not playing a single snap, yet. That’s a pretty good start to what was a very mixed reaction to him being drafted.
Despite outside media outlets predicting him to slide to right tackle, that’s not the plan. The Cowboys have made it clear that Terence Steele is the new RT starter in replacement of La’el Collins. Tyler Smith is expected to fill in at left guard next to Tyron Smith.
As a pass protector, Smith is still very raw. The Athletic‘s Dane Brugler wrote the following about Tyler Smith and where he currently is as a player:
With his size, movement skills and physical brand of football, Smith is the type of young talent ideal for drafting and developing at the right price. However, he relies too much on his aggression, and his chaotic timing and technique lead to balance issues. Overall, Smith is incredibly raw, but he has the play strength and physical traits to get significantly better with technical and mental development.
What Smith does possess, now, is the skills, aggression and strength that made him one of the best run blockers in the draft. An area the Dallas Cowboys needed to upgrade after the loss of Connor Williams in free agency.
Tyler Smith vs Cincinnati…mean dude in the run game, explosive pic.twitter.com/cllPyHpgsS— Connor Rogers (@ConnorJRogers) February 23, 2022
His use of power and the way he finishes blocks is key. Establishing the run and overpowering defenses worked for the offense in 2021 and was exactly how the season ended at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers.
This is important because of how the Cowboys running the ball correlates with their success.
The Dallas Cowboys rushed for 100+ yards in 11 games last season. Each of these games ended with a Cowboys win, with an average margin of victory of 19 points. Conversely, they lost all but one game rushing under 100 yards.
Tyler Smith wasn’t the sexiest pick but the area he helps the most right now is where the Cowboys are in most need of his services. If he can develop better as a pass blocker, that will only validate his selection even more.
It’s a bit of an older concept that running the ball equates to success. However, with how this Cowboys team is built, running the ball is a huge factor. A factor that this young rookie can come in right away, and take charge of.
Featured image credit via Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports