#3. Tyler Smith, Guard/Tackle
Is it weird to think that the play of a rookie in his very first NFL game could shape the season for an entire franchise? Those are the kind of vibes that seem to be resonating around 2022 first-round selection Tyler Smith and his unexpected ascension to the starting left tackle position in place of an injured Tyron Smith.
Although the Cowboys recently signed an All-Pro mentor and potential replacement for Tyler Smith in a 40-year old Jason Peters this week, it’s the 21-year old out of Tulsa who will get the starting nod protecting Dak Prescott’s blindside against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday.
And Smith’s performance will determine how Dallas proceeds to address their offensive line issues. If he excels, the Cowboys have more options when it comes to adding Peters to the lineup, even if that mans keeping him on the bench as the team’s swing tackle. If Smith struggles, a decision must be made whether Peters should assume the starting role and where the young rookie is better suited to play.
In the end, a stellar performance from Tyler Smith gives the Cowboys (and it’s worried fanbase) more confidence in their offensive line and that the team made the right choice in the draft. If he falters, the team will likely adjust and tinker with the O-line until they find the right combination (if they ever do).