So, who do you have playing in the 2015 Super Bowl? Not sure? What's wrong with you? Where are you future-reading goggles at when you need them?
I'm joking, of course. In the offseason however, we tend to entertain ourselves with wayward looks into future dealings. Debates over who has the best young roster that's built for the future are commonplace in NFL circles. In this instance, ESPN Insider and Scouts, Inc.'s Matt Williamson is starting the discussion of whom will be the league's best offensive lineman three years from now (Insider only).
Williamson gives the top spot to Miami's Jake Long; which is acceptable considering that he has played at a top level previously and appears to have a long career ahead of him despite the foot injuries he suffered in 2011.
In second place, however, checks in Dallas' very own offensive tackle stud, Tyron Smith.
Follow the jump to see what Williamson has to say about the emerging force.
2. Tyron Smith, LT, Dallas Cowboys
Smith was sensational in his rookie season last year at right tackle. Wisely, the Cowboys will move him to left tackle with Doug Free heading over to the right side. I was tempted to put Smith at the top spot on this list, but after only seeing one season (on the right side), I felt like Long was the safer choice for three years down the road. Smith didn't even play left tackle in college, as that job belonged to Matt Kalil at USC. But Smith was a special player as a rookie with remarkable movement skills, leverage and the ability to recover once beaten. Bill Callahan is among the league's best offensive line coaches, which should make Smith's transition and maturation much smoother.
Well Matt, you should have listened to your gut and placed Tyron first! Just kidding, Jake Long has been everything Miami wanted him to be when they passed up the opportunity to draft a franchise quarterback for a guy that can protect one... whenever they do find him.
To be honest, I'm beginning to get a little apprehensive about all the praise that is being heaped upon Tyron after just a rookie season spent on the right side and knowing what we know about how the Dallas offensive line works. Kyle Kosier's influence on the young tackle playing next to him is blatantly obvious by looking at their cumulative grades with and without him. Also, Tyron was a Top 15 pass blocker in grading and a Top 5 run blocker in 2011. I think to be considered the best overall at your position you will need to be at least one of the top 2-3 in pass blocking; we are assuming Tyron's experience is the only issue in this department to project him that high.
I just get an uneasy feeling when everyone that doesn't follow the team religiously is telling us how good a certain Cowboys player is. Not that they have to be mistaken, just that I know how easily those narratives can be written in the opposite direction so I tread cautiously.
Hopefully though, Williamson is right on and Dallas not only has a staple to their offensive line and a Protector of the Blind, but a perennial All-Pro candidate the likes of which a dominant offensive line can be built around.