So far this offseason, there has been a lot of concern with the prospect of the ever-important swing tackle position. The importance of cementing this position has been amplified in recent years by the injury history of future Hall of Fame left tackle Tyron Smith, who hasn’t played a full season since 2015.
The last two seasons through the nfl draft the Cowboys invested a fourth-round pick in 2021 in Josh Ball and a fifth-round pick in Matt Waletzko in 2022, in an attempt to solidify the swing tackle position. Both Ball and Waletzko have the athletic traits you’re looking for, but they’re both very raw and developmental prospects. At least early this offseason, Dallas was having a contest between Ball and Waletzko. This ended abruptly when Waletzko’s training camp ended and quite possibly his rookie year as well. Some reports are emerging that Waletzko could postpone shoulder surgery in hopes of playing in 2022.. Regardless of what happens with Waletzko, he has already lost valuable practice time and reps, which for a developing player is not a good thing. To top it off, Josh Ball has struggled a lot.
After a bad night in the office for Ball in the first week of preseason, the narrative is circulating that Dallas needs to come out and make a move to solidify the swing tackle position. That certainly is a possibility, and there are plenty of names on the market that could certainly be an improvement over Ball. But there are two important things to consider; Will Dallas be willing to pay for one of the veteran free agents currently available? Or will those available free agents be willing to step into a backup role rather than wait for an injury to strike and have a better chance to start? We’ll have to take a wait-and-see approach to those questions for the time being, and while we wait to see what happens, why not go with a name that’s already on the list, who happens to be this year’s first-round pick? Tyler Smith?
Tyler Smith right now is almost a sure thing to start at left guard for the Cowboys in 2022, even though Mike McCarthy wants him to “earn” his starting job. Connor McGovern has shown enough on film to be the number one backup at both guard positions and his practice reps should reflect that. McCarthy, by not handing Tyler Smith the keys at starting left guard, could return to hamper Smith’s future progress.and they also negatively impact the unit cohesion of the starting offensive line where continuity is very important.
This left guard situation is also having an impact on the tackling position. It’s very apparent right now that the Cowboys will be in serious trouble if Tyron Smith is out of any game in 2022, given how poorly Josh Ball has performed thus far. If Dallas isn’t willing to bring in outside help to solidify a need, then the Cowboys will have to pivot to an internal solution by moving Tyler Smith to left tackle in case Tyron Smith can’t play.
Jerry Jones and company made a huge investment in Tyler Smith by making him this year’s first-round pick. They’ve also made a big investment that will eventually replace Tyron Smith at left tackle because his days in Dallas are numbered. Making such an investment in a player to eventually take over at left tackle, why not move him to take over at tackle assuming Tyron Smith gets hurt again?
Sure, it needs some technical refinement and training. However, he has a combination of size, strength and athleticism that, given the current free-agent market landscape, he doesn’t possess, as you’ll see with these highlights:
At this stage of the preseason, the underrated move to consider is if Tyron Smith goes down, move Tyler Smith to left tackle and insert a proven backup in Connor McGovern at left guard. This is the best that can be done considering the team’s roster construction currently, and it will also ensure that Tyler Smith does plenty of work at left tackle before finally being handed the keys to the position once Tyron Smith is gone. in the image. Time will certainly tell how this plays out, but this scenario should be at the top of the list, assuming no outside moves are made.