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First Look: Cowboys Offensive Tackle Tyron Smith

With the ninth pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected Tyron Smith, offensive tackle, USC. Smith has long been mocked to the Cowboys, as it turns out the Dallas selection was again one of the worst kept secrets in football. The team had tried to throw people off the trail recently leaking that they really liked JJ Watt and had other tackles rated closely to Smith. When it all came down to it though, Dallas was unwilling to risk not getting their guy and took Smith at #9. Smith is the first offensive lineman Dallas has drafted in the first round since 1981.

The War Room cam during the selection was a stark contrast to some of the images we may have been expecting. I've never seen a room so organized and focused. There was hardly any emotion shown while the 10 minutes melted off the clock. If memory serves me correct, Cowboys VP Stephen Jones fielded only one call during the stretch. He seemed to laugh off whatever was proposed from the other end of the conversation. The happiest we saw head coach Jason Garrett all evening was when the New York Giants selected Prince Amukamara. Let's hope that moment is something we taunt Giants fans with for years, as he was obviously chosen to battle with Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, DeSean Jakckson and Jeremy Maclin.

As for Smith, he was widely rated as the number one tackle prospect on most draft boards. He came in at #7 on draft guru Rick Gosselin's top 100; and we all see what Gosselin just did as far as projecting the first half of the first round, amazing. Mike Mayock, Wes Bunting and Drafttek.com also nailed the Smith to Dallas pick.

It looks like Dallas is planning to move Doug Free back to the right side, although it is not known whether that is immediately or down the line. Smith says that the team told him they want him as a left tackle.

"They want me to play left," Smith said, "but whatever side they want me to play will be good."

Dallas offensive line coach Hudson Houck spoke to ESPN's Todd Archer and said the following about Smith:

"I think we're going to work with him before we ever line up to play games," Houck said. "We’ll see where he best fits -- left side, right side -- and we’ll see how that goes."

"I’m excited in both respects," Houck said. "I’m excited about what he is right now and how he’s played. He’s got such great foot speed that when he gets on you when he blocks you, it’s a little bit of Larry Allen. He’ll stay on you. He’ll finish blocks pretty well. And also now looking in the long run, he’s still a young puppy at 20 years old. There’s lot of maturing he’ll do. There’s some growth. He’ll get stronger I think because he has such a good work ethic. It was a big factor for us."

Follow the jump for a look at how Tyron Smith was evaluated before his name was called Thursday Night.

-- Drafttek.com ranked #12 Overall, #1 at the position

-- Wes Bunting, National Football Post: #4 Overall, #1 at the position

 A tall, athletic-looking offensive tackle prospect with a long frame, long arms and a lot of growth potential in his lower half. Is only twenty years old and still has a lot of maturing to do with his frame and should be easily able to add additional bulk/weight without much of a problem. Plays right tackle at USC and will likely need to learn to make the move to left tackle at the next level, stunting his growth a bit in playing quickly during his rookie year. However, he's a gifted athlete off the edge with natural bend in his lower half, is able to sit into his stance, play with leverage into contact and extend his long arms well at the point of attack. Lacks ideal power/strength for the position and at times tries to make up for it by getting a bit more physical into contact and will get overextended and lunge into blocks and lose his man toward the corner. However, for the most part is a patient puncher who uncoils quickly into contact, is heavy handed for his size and has the body control to slide his feet and mirror through contact. Displays good hand placement and is tough to disengage from through the play. Possesses clean footwork on the outside, has a quick power step but at times gets a bit long with his footwork. However, for the most part maintains good balance, stays compact and has the range to consistently reach
speed toward the edge and redirect in space.

Is a gifted athlete in space in the run game. Quickly releases to the second level, breaks down on his target and consistently is able to get his hands into contact and seal. Doesn't always hit what he sees when trying to cut defenders down at the line, but is quickly out of his stance when trying to step and seal and works his legs around defenders well
through contact. Plays with good leverage as an in-line guy, extends his arms well into contact, bumps his legs and can create an initial surge because of his pad level and technique. Needs to continue to get stronger in order to do the same at the next level, but he should be able to pretty quickly in his career.

Impression: A gifted athlete for the position who at only 20 years old is far from a finished product. However, the flexibility, athleticism, frame and body control are all there for this guy to develop into a very good starting left or right tackle in the NFL, depending on where he feels comfortable.

-- CBSSports.com ranked #10 overall, #1 at the position

-- Scout.com ranked #12 overall, #1 at the position

-- Mike Mayock ranked #13 overall, #2 at the position

He played on the right side and came out as a junior, and has the most potential of any tackle in the draft.

- Rob Rang's NFLDraftScout.com profile:

Pass blocking: His best trait. Flashes very good initial quickness and gains good depth with his initial kick-slide. Plays on the balls of his feet with good forward and lateral balance. Shuffles his feet laterally to mirror the defender. Has the long arms and strong hands to lock onto the defender. Loses focus and relies too much on his agility to remain in front of the pass rusher. Becomes susceptible to swim moves when he doesn't use his hands aggressively. Has the agility to handle converting to the left side.

Run blocking: Good positional blocker. Quick off the snap and can catch and turn his opponent away from the play. Does a nice job of walling off his target, but needs to get stronger and keep his feet churning to drive his opponent out. Too often gets stood up by defenders, creating a pile that the ballcarrier must run around, rather than clearing a hole for the play to run through. Isn't afraid of contact and can drive the defender off the ball in short-yardage situations with his initial push, but isn't yet strong enough to finish blocks consistently.

Pulling/trapping: Good mobility to pull and lead the toss-sweep. Good balance and straight-line speed getting to the second level. Struggles to hit the brakes and re-direct and allows his arms to flail at the defender, which could draw holding calls at the next level.

Initial Quickness: Inconsistent with his initial get-off. Capable of being the first off the snap, as he often is when he anticipates a blitz to his side or has to get out in front of a sweep play, but can also be among the last off the snap.

Downfield: Good athleticism and effort to make downfield blocks. Looks for someone to hit and will peel back if necessary to pop a defender giving chase. Good overall athleticism, but struggles changing direction and therefore must do a better job anticipating where the defender is going to be, rather than allowing him to rush past.

Intangibles: Only three years removed from high school. Occasionally moved to left tackle during games, but all 24 of his career starts were at right tackle. Missed the Boston College game in 2009 due to an academic suspension. Missed the 2010 Notre Dame game with a sprained knee. Played on special teams, blocking two kicks in 2010 (Washington State, Arizona State). Not yet a finished product. Turned 20 on Dec. 12.

PRO DAY SUMMARY
04/04/2011 - USC Pro day: With all 32 NFL teams in attendance, 21 players worked out Wednesday at USC's pro day. OL Tyron Smith (6-4 7/8, 310) blew the doors off the bar. He had a 29 vertical and 9-1 broad jump. He posted a 4.68 short shuttle, 7.48 three-cone drill and did 31 bench reps. His 36 1/2-inch arms and size 11 hands also stood out. He put himself in the top 10 with this workout and should be the first offensive lineman drafted.

- Gil Brandt, NFL.com


Tyron Smith 3 minute video against Cam Jordan and California

-- Tyron Smith reaction by ESPN's Todd McShay (who didn't pick Smith for the Boys)