What must have happened: LG Tyler Smith will not be playing the rest of the season due to…..

Tyler Smith is one of the Cowboys’ most promising young prospects. The 2022 first-round pick was selected to the Pro Bowl in only his second season of professional football and appears to be on his way to All-Pro honors in the near future.

 

The 22-year-old Tulsa lineman has become a cornerstone for Dallas, likely serving as a generational bridge when the greats retire and new blood takes on critical positions in the trenches. Blessed with unteachable size, strength, and athletic talent, Smith is on a trajectory to perhaps be the finest LG in the game, if he is allowed to stay the course.

Stephen Jones, Cowboys executive vice president and head of player personnel, has recently stated that LG may not be Smith’s final position. Smith was a left tackle in college, and after injuries sidelined Tyron Smith for the majority of 2022, Tyler Smith played primarily LT as a rookie. His versatility to play either position was one of the reasons the Cowboys selected him. The front office has mentioned this situation on multiple occasions. Jones appears to be enjoying that positional flex again in Year 3.

Tyron Smith is reportedly done in Dallas, leaving a Cadillac-sized hole at LT. Because guarding the quarterback’s blindside is typically the first priority of any offensive line, Tyler Smith is likely to be considered for the position, even if it means giving up his All-Pro status at LG.

 

The Cowboys saw what occurred when a replacement level guy came over for Tyron Smith at left tackle last season. They can’t afford to repeat the same in 2024, especially given Terence Steele at right tackle has his own pass protection difficulties.

 

There is no viable shortcut for filling the LT position in the NFL. Most of the NFL’s top LTs have first-round credentials or years of experience (often both). It forces the Cowboys to make a difficult decision. Do they shift Tyler Smith to LT, or do they employ a first-round pick to fill the LT position and hope his pedigree makes him a plug-and-play solution on a championship-caliber team?

 

The Cowboys’ plans for Smith will most likely influence their draft decision. Just as what they can do in the draft will influence what they do with Smith. Both entities are linked because there’s a significant likelihood that just one of them will solve the problem.

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