Draft Notes: Tyron Smith Gives Dallas a Much Bigger ”Problem” at Pick 9

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Cowboys Nation’s weekly chat with the National Football Post’s Wes Bunting brings news that may temper the thought of trading down from the 9 spot.  Top OT prospect Tyron Smith, a 20-year old, early-entry junior, has bulked up considerably since USC’s season ended in November, and could wow scouts with his Combine workout at the end of this month.

Cowboys Nation:  You tweeted this a couple of days ago and some of my readers were posting this in comment threads over the weekend, that Tyron Smith is up over 300 lbs. now.  Is that confirmed?

Wes Bunting:  We’ve talked about Tyron Smith.  When you look at his lower half, it’s begging for weight.  It’s a big, broad frame.  He’s 20 years old and when he focuses on adding weight, it didn’t surprise me that he was up that quickly.  He’s at 307 right now.  He’s just under 6’5”, which I kind of like, that’s what Roger Safford is.  He’s got 35 inch arms.  I’ve heard he’s gonna bench well.  He could get up to 320 without losing any athleticism if he’s up to 307 already.

CN:  You’re heard this from legimate sources that he’s up to 307?

WB: Yeah

CN:  Let’s leave him at 307.  Let’s say he goes to the Combine at that weight and he’s 6’4” and a half.  What does that do for him?  Where does that move him on draft boards?

WB:  On mine he’s not moving.  I was expecting this.  I guess some NFL teams would move him up, cause he’s a little heavier.  Remember, this is going to be the first time a lot of these juniors work out for NFL teams.  They’re getting a better feel for these guys. It’s not necessarily that they’re moving up or down, but that scouts are getting good looks at these guys and tweaking their boards as a consequence.

From what I’ve heard from the sources I talked to, he’s 307.  He’s still gonna run in the 4.9 to sub-4.9 range, and with 35 inch arms he could bench press 225 pounds more than 25 times.  That’s a heck of a workout right there.  And he’s got good tape.  And he’s 20 years old [Smith turned 20 on December 12th].  You add all that up and I wouldn’t have any qualms about taking him in the top ten picks.

CN:  You had him in your last mock going to the Redskins at 10.  In the past, a lot of the nay-sayers on my site would look at the Cowboys offensive linemen profiles and history and say, there’s no way Dallas takes a lineman that light, no matter how well he moves.  At this weight, I can’t think of any NFL team that would have misgivings selecting him.

WB:  No, and this is how funny the NFL is.  You look back at Jason Smith from Baylor, who went 2nd overall.  I thought he was the 4th best OT in that class.  It’s kind of, who has the first say, and which player has a consensus around his spot that determines where he goes.

I think Tyron Smith is twice the pro prospect that Jason Smith was.  Last year I had Roger Saffold as my 3rd best.  I know I had him over Anthony Davis and Bruce Campbell and Trent Williams, who went 4th overall.  Who had the better year?  Well, Saffold had a much better year than Trent Williams, but the press gets caught up in a handful of names, and those sexy names just kind of stick up there.

I don’t know if Tyron Smith will rise up to a top-5 pick, but he’s better than Jason Smith, in my opinion.

CN:  I’m hoping he doesn’t.  I had some questions given his size, but where he is now, I’m not concerned.  Doug Free was around 304-305 lbs. when the Cowboys drafted him and it took a couple of years to add about 10-12 pounds of bulk to him, but once he took the field it was clear that he could run.  From what you tell me, Tyron Smith sounds like one of the more athletic tackles to play the position.

WB:  He’s an exceptional offensive tackle.  He’s a really good athlete. If you just look at his body type, it’s lean right down the middle.  He’s got thick, strong legs.  He’s got a broad lower half.  What has it been, about 10 weeks since the season ends and he’s already put on 20 lbs.  If he focuses on it, he could be like Haloti Ngata, an athletic looking 350 lb. linemen. You don’t find physical skill sets or athletic builds like Tyron Smith’s all that often. Plus, I’ll be shocked if he has less than 35 inch arms, which are phenomenal for an offensive lineman.

CN:  And you’re still confident that he can play either side?

WB:  Absolutely.  I put him with the Redskins because I think it would be a perfect fit.  They want to be a zone-running team.  You can put him on the right side, start there, get his feet wet.  If he develops there you can move him to the left side and put Trent Williams on the right.  Just like the Ravens did with Michael Oher. Start him on the right and if you feel he can be a better prospect on the other side, move him.  Or he can start on the left.  It’s these minor concerns that we’re dilly dallying over but I feel he can be an upper echelon left tackle in the NFL.

CN:  At 307 lbs, could he step right in and play on the right side this year?

WB:  Yeah.  He’s not going to be a guy like Phil Loadholt who blows people off the football but what he does, he’s long-armed and he’s technically sound and he plays with good leverage.  Sometimes that more important in the run game than being a huge run guy.  You look at Loadholt, he plays upright and turns people away from the play.

I was really impressed by Tyron Smith, I told you this before, playing against Cameron Jordan in the run game, cause he was able to gain leverage and drive Jordan off the ball at 285 lbs.  That’s saying something.  And how he’s a bit heavier.  Leverage wins in the run game and that’s something he’s already developed.

Tomorrow:  The rest of the chat, looking at the strengths and weaknesses of this draft class, cornerbacks, defensive linemen, interior offensive linemen and mid-round options at wide receiver.

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Rafael Vela

Rafael Vela

Started covering Dallas Cowboys @ TheBoys.com in '95 and '96. Two more stops along the way and here I am. Senior Analyst for SportsTalkLine.com
  • greatwhitenorth

    Man, we really need to find a way to get Wes into the Cowboys War Room, or at least have a face-to-face with Jerry. Forget those shiny objects at CB, Tyron Smith is going to be all the “wow” we need!

    • http://www.cowboysnation.com Rafael Vela

      Erik Williams didn’t play as a rookie. When he started in ’92, he was a 330 lb. dominator.

      This kid can start as a rookie, and could be a 325 – 330 lb. sophomore in 2012.

      Who excites you more, Sam Young or this guy?

      • Bluefin

        I remember reading about Erik Williams in one of the old Dallas Cowboys books I have. Jimmy Johnson was ready to start him in ’92 after watching him eat starting defensive linemen as the scout team tackle in ’91. Tony Wise didn’t want to move RT Nate Newton to LG because he didn’t want to bench Kevin Gogan, who was a good starter.

        Jimmy said do it, Newton went from a JAG tackle to a stud guard and Big E was the one of the best (and meanest) tackles in football until his drunk driving accident ruined our chance at a 3-peat.

        I like Sam Young as developmental depth, I don’t want to count on him as a starter so quickly in his career.

        Tyron Smith makes perfect sense at #9, IMO, and he would give the team a second tackle capable of playing either side at a high level.

        Some may argue you don’t take a RT in the top ten, but it makes no difference to me when we’re talking about the best tackle on the entire board. Doug Free is solid on either side and I expect Smith will be as well, it’d be nice figuring out which way to play them.

        That’s a “problem” I’ll be happy to deal with.

        • http://www.cowboysnation.com Rafael Vela

          Agree with you on the last point. If Erik Williams had been the 10th pick would anybody have argued he was a ”reach” when he was dominating Reggie White in ’92 and ’93?

          This is what I’ve never understood about Dallas’ drafting the last decade — they dominated the ’90s in great part because they had the biggest, baddest o-line around. Now, they keep signing overpriced free agents and pulling guys out of the middle rounds and expecting this to replicate what they had?

          Okay, none of those ’90s guys were 1st rounders, but Larry Allen was a high 2nd, Stepnoski was a high 3rd and Erik Williams was a high 3rd. They got Flozell in the early 2nd and Gurode in the early 2nd as well.

          Yet, they seem allergic to drafting O-linemen high, ever since they bombed out with Al Johnson and Jacob Rogers.

          • Bluefin

            I do wonder if all the misses on the offensive line has effected how we draft.

            I take solace in the fact the team refused to pay linebackers second contracts once upon a time before finally changing the philosophy with Dexter Coakley prior to Bill Parcells and the 3-4.

            And the team was reportedly willing to draft either Maurkice Pouncey or Mike Iupati, both interior linemen, last year if one or both lasted to our spot in the first round (they didn’t and helped Dez fall within reach).

            The team’s ’09 draft was evidently geared towards grabbing G/C Max Unger only to have Seattle trade up and snatch him. We would’ve selected RT Phil Loadholt, I wasn’t crazy about his pass protection skills BTW, in the second if unable to trade down.

            So I believe the team is willing to go OL early, even in the first round, which has never happened under Jerry Jones’ ownership of the team.

            I will never say we “have to” or anything like that, but having the best OT in the class on the board would be hard to pass up, IMO.

            I feel fixing RT would make an already scary offense challenge to be the best in the league. Interior moves are needed as well, but Andre Gurode and Leonard Davis will likely be given one more year.

            I’m also hoping LG Danny Watkins’ age keeps him from going in the first round, he seems almost too good to ask for as a replacement for Kyle Kosier (I get the feeling the team doesn’t want to re-sign him).

      • Milkshaker

        Is that really a fair question? Most people would be excited about a great many things when compared to Sam Young. :D

        I’m hard pressed to come up with something that excites me less than Sam Young. Wade Phillips… the Pro Bowl… … that’s ’bout it.

      • iowacowboy

        Sam Young. It is a metaphor for Dallas’ failings over the last decade plus that they think they can rely upon such jouneyman talent to build a championship team. I could see Young as a fourth tackle – maybe trying to grow into a veteran backup . . . Dallas takes these players at the bottom of the draft then convinces themselves they are set at offensive line depth and future starters.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XJCGUDK2QZHSTUQ5KZ4R5Y5HCM mike

    im starting to think hes the way to go, you have me convinced Raf. id love to see 2 young T on our O-line for many years to come….would be a huge change

    • http://www.cowboysnation.com Rafael Vela

      @mike,

      They can’t get cute with OL again. If Danny Watkins and Ijalana are gone by pick 40 and they go, say CB in the first, they’re gonna be picking projects, guys who could be good players, but who might not be ready to play early.

      At pick 9, they could well have the pick of the entire OL class.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XJCGUDK2QZHSTUQ5KZ4R5Y5HCM mike

        i do agree and i think its easier to find good D-linemen and cheaper then quality o-linemen.
        also i think next year we do bounce back, with a 3rd place schedule and a new rejuvinated team Dallas should compete in 2011. more then likely this will mean a 20-32pick. Dallas is in prime spot to have there pick of the T’s in the draft get the best 1 and move on for 10-12 years

      • iowacowboy

        Amen. Stay put at nine and take the best offensive tackle on the board. No messing around this year, Jerry PT Barnum Jones

  • Guest123

    I’m sold, put me on his bandwagon. This kid is gonna have us set at tackle for the next 13 years or so.

    • AUDC

      Count me in too. The Cowboys (hopefully) will not have the opportunity to take a tackle with Smith’s potential for a long time. If he’s still available at #9, I hope the Cowboys run the card to the podium faster than I can say “new starting right tackle.”

      Let’s say Watkins and Ijalana (along with all of the other first-round tackles) are off the board after the first round. Who should the Cowboys target with the #40 pick?

  • desus32

    I wonder if he’ll last. Tackles always gain value when the draft starts (even more than QB’s lately). I’d love to get him at #9. I mean, how many hits did the QB take last year? How many times did we have to leave Witten into block? How many of our two TE sets ended with one or both running release routes after the rush was contained? Dallas’ pass and run game would look wonderful with Free and Smith bookending and Witten, Aquaman, Miles and Dez on the field. I shouldn’t get so excited…

  • AustonianAggie

    If we take Tyron Smith (and I think he’s equal among many great choices at #9), should we dismiss the idea of a Pass Rushing 3-4 DE later? Seems like they’re only available near the top of the draft. I suppose then, the main target in the second would be DBs.

    • http://www.cowboysnation.com Rafael Vela

      No. Again, tomorrow on DL.

  • Tex

    Count Tex in as well…

    • greatwhitenorth

      Wow, we agree on something. That can’t be right–you sure you don’t want Newton/Gabbert/Locker instead?

      • Oklahoma

        Historically, Tex favored straightforward provocation and contentiousness. This combined with a neurotic level of compulsive repetitiousness led some, mid-decade, to regard him as a blog saboteur. However, since his unofficial rehabilitation (being brought in from the cold after organizing a grass roots breakout from a more corporate blog), Tex has more than occasionally dabbled in pithy, constructive criticism.

        • MontecitoTex

          Leading a grass-roots breakout from a “corporate” blog; which couldn’t even get the weather right in the ‘Nard, is nearly on par with getting the beleaguered Brian Stewart – the most unqualified coordinator ever to coach in the NFL – dismissed in Dallas. Un otro Calvados por favor and cue Joni Mitchell…
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcrEqIpi6sg

          • http://www.cowboysnation.com Rafael Vela

            I thought you were going to quote her lesser-known hit, “Free Man in Oxnard…”

  • Os_b

    How much does the fact that Tyron Smith is just a junior with just one season of quality play under his belt work against him?

    Tyron is in the same boat as Nick Fairley: a one year wonder with little history of success. I expect that teams in the top ten will be retiscent to draft him because of this.

    I am also interested in Cameron Heyward. I think he is a better prospect than Jordan, but I am an Ohio State alum. Heyward is a quality guy, and played inside as well as outside in Columbus.

    Scouts Inc., and CBS have him sliding down into the top of the second round. If he lasts until 40, should the Cowboys take him? I would in a second, but then again, I bleed Scarlet and Gray (and Blue and Silver). Remember that he will not work out at the combine and will have to rehab before his Pro day.

    If Heyward is gone, could Dallas draft Mikel Leshoure from Illinois? I think that he looks like a great running back that would be a perennial 1,200 yard rusher in the right system. He could be what Dallas envisioned in Marion Barber III, when the latter was younger and healthy.

    I would also like to see Dallas draft William Rackley. Could he start immediately at guard?

    Another question, if Dallas drafts Tyron Smith at 9 and Ijalana was available at 40, would you take him? More importantly, would the Cowboys take him and start him at guard?

    • http://www.cowboysnation.com Rafael Vela

      Tomorrow, man. Heyward gets his web ink tomorrow.

      Smith started some games in ’09. I think the difference is Fairley is a senior who didn’t blow up until he was a senior. Smith has been getting better every year of his football career.

      On question two, I’d love the chance to get Ijalana. You would have three guys — Free, Smith, Ijalana — who were OTs in college. That’s the formula the ’90s Cowboys used. Come to think of it, I wonder if Sam Young could kick inside and be a Kevin Gogan type guard?

      • EGTuna

        Is Nick Fairley in any way related to the Rev. Kevin Fairley that ostensibly ruined Marcus Dupree’s OKLA career?

      • TONYINCC

        I was just wondering if Youngs problem is speed, if you put him inside, wouldnt that help quite a bit? What an awesome situation it would be if we had Free Ijalana Gurode young Smith. Then we would either need to develope Costa, or draft a Center next year.

      • LT

        I remember Wes wrote some really harsh reviews of Sam Young last year. It would be great if he turned out to be any good at either position, but I’m not getting my hopes up. As scary as it sounds, Doug Free may be the only OT on the team worthy of being a starter OR a back up.

        The Cowboys need to draft Smith, Carimi or Sherrod (preferably Smith), and then pray that neither him or Doug Free get hurt next year.

  • Salman327

    The more I think about it, the more I want them to go OL in the 1st round, especially if they have a 1st round, potential top 15 grade on someone like Smith. We definitely have to upgrade the defense end position, but the age and tread on the OL is a huge concern.

  • SportsDrunk

    Now i’m starting to worry that he’ll be gone by pick 9. Which of the top 8 realistically need a tackle?

  • cowboyny

    WOW, Wes thinks highly of this kid. It is a no brainer selection at pick #9 if available, which he shoud be with all those good looking underclassmen prospects. Could be the highest rated player on our board at the biggest need position within the roster. According to Wes, he is expected to test out extremely well at the combine, but has the tape to back it up. Tape to back it up, means he isn’t just a workout warrior, but is a productive future starter. Bring on the combine!

  • cowboyny

    Scott Wright from Draftcountdown interviewed Cameron Jordan a few weeks ago, he asked Jordan who was the toughness lineman he faced in college? Tyron Smith!

    • http://www.cowboysnation.com Rafael Vela

      Those guys are part of the same agency and work out together. Danny Watkins is part of that group too. Those sessions must be intense.

      • cowboyny

        Tell Smith he is allowed to bring his two workout partners with him to Dallas, LOL! Man, they should charge admission for those workouts! Would love to see Smith paired up with Watkins, but that maybe wishful thinking on my part, I would be satisfied with any of the three!

    • greatwhitenorth

      I’d be thrilled to have either of them at #9. It sucks to have to choose between them, actually. I’d rather have Tyron longterm, but Jordan seems like the quickest route to an improved pass rush and defense while there are other ways to fill the RT hole… Would you rather have Tyron Smith and a free agent DE (Cullen Jenkins?) or Cam Jordan and a free agent RT (Jared Gaither>)?

      • cowboyny

        I may be in the minority, but I feel the defense is just 2-3 players away from being a top defense. The same group of starters two years ago, less Ken Hamlin were a very productive unit that led the conference in points against. With a new innovative defensive playcaller and a few tweaks, the unit should be fine.

        Now if you have an explosive offense, it will keep you’re defense fresh and on the sidelines. It will also allow you’re QB to start each game. Who knows when FA will take place, but the only quality FA Tackles will cost alot of money to sign and have injury concerns:Gaither/Colon. Do not forget about Free needing to be resigned as well.

        It would be difficult to pass on a prospect like Jordan, but the Tackle need surpasses the DE need at this time. With a deep DL class, don’t rule out a quality defensive end slipping to the team’s #40 pick as well. Cullen Jenkins also is an option in free agency, along with a few other quality players.

      • kameleon_o

        Yeah, that’s my belief too but it’s wavering now that it’s starting to look like no quality OT’s will be there at 40. I’d rather have Jordan and Ijalana but I don’t see it now. I get the feeling that the D-line is going to be awful makeshift this year. I’ve heard no word on the Cowboys resigning any of their FA’s so we have no idea what we’re going to be rolling out there.

  • Moghbelli

    I wouldn’t hesitate on picking Smith. Bring some youth and athleticism back to that OLine for goodness sake and see what Romo can do when Dez and Miles’ routes actually have time to develop downfield. In the second we could pick up a good CB (as it is the deepest position of this draft) and draft a DLineman later in the draft along with a slot WR (Jeff Maehl?)

  • http://blog.dozapictures.com/ Roman

    What’s going to keep Smith from going higher than #9 now? Inexperience maybe?

  • Milkshaker

    There’s a YouTuber named CaliforniaGold who has posted many of USC’s games from this year and a few from last year. You could watch just about every offensive series Tyron Smith has played. He’s #70.

    I like what I see, but still prefer drafting Quinn or Aldon Smith, or trading back for Carimi, Ijalana, etc plus a 2nd or 3rd.

  • RickToo

    So, Raf….

    After eight picks, both Jordan and Smith are still on the board. Which way do you go?

    • Travlr

      Not Raf, but it has to be Smith

      No hesitation. Top OT vs #3 DE.

      We need Oline in the worst way, we can also retain Spears, Hatcher, et al for the D side, but who ya got on the OLine?

    • http://www.cowboysnation.com Rafael Vela

      Today, I take Smith. There will be good DEs in the 2nd and maybe even the 3rd. OTs might be picked clean by pick 40.

  • TL fan

    Looking at the teams in front of us, I think it breaks pretty good for the Cowboys in regards to Tyron Smith.

    Arizona has a definite need for OT and picks 5th. I am hoping they have others graded higher, especially on the defensive side.

    Cleveland already has spent OT $ on Joe Thomas, maybe they don’t want to spend more on this position with the 6th pick.

    San Fran is set at OL and will pass on Smith with the 7th pick.

    Tennessee has good OTs and will also likely pass as well with their 8th pick.

    Not impossible, but doubtful I think that teams would trade up for Smith as there is an abundance of good OTs to be had later in the 1st round.

    That leaves him sitting there with the 9th pick. I hope they select him as well.

    It will return Dallas to the ‘Cowboy way’ that Jason alluded to in his presser when he was announced as HC. Plus I suspect being an ex-QB, he will lean towards Offense over Defense since OL is such a glaring need.

    • greatwhitenorth

      So you’re assuming that Garrett will get to make the pick instead of Jerry? I’m skeptical that the Cowboy Way isn’t just a front for the Jerry Way, which means more ignoring the O-Line because first-round OTs sell few jerseys and season tickets.

      • kameleon_o

        Me too. I see Jerry going superficial at #9 not substantive. A nice shiny new toy for Jerry to put a jersey on. Anyway, has anyone heard ANY rumblings out of Dallas that they’re unhappy with Davis and Columbo?? I haven’t. Knowing these guys like we do they probably don’t think there’s anything wrong.

  • Ridgelake

    Question: Does Tyron love football or the things that football brings to Tyron?

    To me, this is the only outstanding question on this guy. He’s got all the physical skills in the world. Does he love the game?

    This would be my one reservation about taking him at 9. It seems that Cam Jordan loves the game.

    • kameleon_o

      Cam Jordan seems like an NFL ready prospect. Someone who could come in and start right away. I like Smith but for some reason I just don’t trust the Cowboys to go that way. I just don’t think it’s got through to them that their right side of the O-line is as bad as it is.

      • Ridgelake

        I don’t disagree with your assessment of the Boys’ intent regarding the line. They occasionally seem to stick their head into the ground.

        I would be happy with either guy. I see strong arguments for both.

  • Cowick22

    I am really starting to like the way this mock is starting to look
    1 T. Smith
    2 C. Ballard
    3 Moffit
    4 Deunta Williams
    5 Justin Rogers
    6 Will Rackley
    7 Alex Wojack (sp?)
    What do you all think of these targets?

    • kameleon_o

      I don’t think there’s any way that Rackley falls to us in the 6th round. I like the draft I just think he’s going several rounds earlier.