With the Cowboys headed for the top of the draft board come April, we thought we'd get a jump start on introducing you to the players who could wind up being a big part of the next Cowboys team. Next up is Tyron Smith.
Name: Tyron Smith
Position: Offensive Tackle
Why He Should Be the Pick: The easiest answer to this question is that there's a huge need for offensive line help with the Cowboys. Marc Colombo's best days are far enough behind him that the radio stations no longer come in without static and it's too early to know if Doug Free is anything more than just another guy. The Cowboys need to be better up front and Smith would make them better.
And chances are that he'd make them better for a long time. He won't turn 21 until December and is already making scouts drool because of his athleticism and footwork. He played both left and right tackle at USC, but seems like a perfect fit for the left side of the line even if he were to start out on the right side while he gets used to the NFL game.
Why He Won't Be the Pick: The downside of Smith is pretty clear. He's a fast riser whose name is in the discussion because of what he might become, not because of what he has done on the field already. That can work out very well for the team willing to roll the dice, but you'd like a little bit more certainty when you're picking ninth overall.
The other possibility is that Smith's workouts and combine performance push him into an even higher draft slot. Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for a movie about how special left tackles are in the NFL and they haven't gotten any less important in the couple of years since "The Blind Side" hit theatres.
Likelihood: Remember how Jason Garrett's supposed to have a lot more say in things than his predecessor? Players like Smith are a test case for that scenario. Smith's athletic ability and upside conjure up memories of players like Quincy Carter that caught the eye of Jerry Jones before drafts that wound up being highly disappointing. Garrett doesn't seem like the type to go in for all that -- At Princeton, they pride themselves on working with facts not theories -- so if Smith is the pick, it strikes a blow against the notion that he's calling a lot of shots.
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