An extremely youthful dinosaur has sent notice to the league: There's no getting around a Tyronasaurus.
In a short three years, Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith has overcome a lot. Entering the NFL as the league's youngest player in 2011, Tyron started on the right side, where he played his entire collegiate career. In 2012, he moved over to the more prestigious left side and struggled some; though it was later revealed that he spent the entire season trying to handle the vultures in his family circling around his new wealth. This season, everything fell into place as Tyron Smith showed to edge-rushers league-wide that Tony Romo's blind side is no longer available for rent.
Smith has now followed up on being named to his first Pro-Bowl by being named Second Team, AP All-Pro.
The AP differs from the Pro-Bowl in that it is voted on by 50 members of the AP, as opposed to a collection of fan, player and coach opinion. They name two sets of "Starting 22's" and that's it.
They clearly saw what we witnessed; an up and coming, dominating force that rarely allowed rushers victory and paved the way for chunks of yardage on the ground.
According to PFF, Smith started off the season in fine form and rounded into dominant. His worst game came against St. Louis' vaunted line, and in that game he only allowed two quarterback hurries. Smith would finish the year only allowing one quarterback sack, all the way back in Week 5 versus Denver. He only had 5 penalties enforced on him the entire season.
Runs to the inside of Smith resulted in 5.4 yards per carry on average for the season; as he and rookie C Travis Frederick paved the way for DeMarco Murray's finest season as a pro.
In his last eight games, Smith posted a "green" PFF rating (above average) in 7 of those contests, and never graded out in the red after the Rams game.
The quality of his play can't be measured in numbers however. Smith might have the most nimble feat in the NFL. His ability to slide his feet to gain positioning on a rushing defender is one of his biggest virtues. Unlike his dinosaur-namesake though, his arms aren't too short. In fact, his gigantic wingspan and superior strength allow him to make up the difference on the rare occasion he is beaten with a quick jump of the snap.
Smith contains plenty of power to withstand bull-rushes, and players with limited pass rushing moves stand absolutely no chance against him.
The greatest part of it all is that Smith just turned 23 last month. Dallas' first first-round offensive lineman selection in over a decade looks like he should be a perennial candidate for this and many other post-season awards for years to come.
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