In the NFL, playing on the offensive line is the realm of unsung heroes. Highlights focus on quarterbacks, receivers, running backs, sacks, bone-crushing tackles, and interceptions. But so much of the game depends on those big blocking hosses in the trenches. The Dallas Cowboys are something of an aberration in that the O line gets a lot of attention. Still, you have to wonder if those guys dream of playing somewhere else.
That is a question our SBN mothership has asked: Which offensive lineman on your team would make the best offensive skill position player?
There certainly are a couple of Pro Bowl linemen for the Cowboys who seem to dream of skill position glory.
Great tradition...@dallascowboys offensive linemen Zack Martin & Travis Frederick play an intense game of catch before every game. @NBCDFW pic.twitter.com/SkugwNRz6z— Pat Doney (@PatDoneyNBC5) August 12, 2017
It is a ritual for Zack Martin and Travis Frederick to run routes and throw the ball to one another during warmups before games. And they certainly display some remarkable grace and agility. It brings to mind the dancing hippos in the Disney classic Fantasia.
Well, maybe that is not exactly what you would want to see out there throwing and catching the ball. Let’s face it, Martin and Frederick are built like, well, offensive linemen. Big, strong, but not exactly svelte. Of course, unlike many of us, a lot of offensive linemen have to work to keep their size up. And it might not be too hard for them to reshape their bodies if they were moved to a different role.
If you are a bit skeptical about that, there is a former Cowboy that provides a great example. Nick Hayden was a 1-tech defensive tackle, and with the recent injury to Brian Price, someone wondered if he would want to come out of retirement to help. But that ship has apparently sailed.
Would be fun but I lost 60lbs. I would have to play tight end but Dallas has a pretty good one already lol. https://t.co/aBS9Tve2vA— Nick Hayden (@NickHaydenWI) October 13, 2017
Here’s a picture of the slimmed down Hayden he posted as proof.
#gardenfairy pic.twitter.com/67sYZ5O6Uc— Nick Hayden (@NickHaydenWI) October 28, 2017
So the idea seems rather improbable. After all, where are you going to find an offensive lineman with the physique needed to play, say, tight end?
Tyron Smith has never looked like a typical offensive lineman. Check this example out.
Offensive linemen come in all shapes and sizes. #Bengals took Andre Smith 6th overall in 2009, #Cowboys took Tyron Smith 9th overall in 2011 pic.twitter.com/AFk6Qa4sgG— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) October 2, 2017
Smith is listed as 6’5” and 312 lbs, and there is not a lot of body fat on that frame. He has always demonstrated tremendous athleticism and agility on the field. He is one player that would not need to do much if any reshaping of his body to move to tight end. And imagine being a defensive back seeing him bearing down on you.
Oh, wait, defensive backs across the league have already faced that when he leads on running plays or screens. That usually does not end well for the DB.
Of course, there is no real motivation for Smith to even consider changing positions. He is already the third-highest paid player on the Cowboys this year. He is arguably the best LT in the NFL, even with his nagging back issues. With Martin and Frederick, he provides the foundation for the entire Dallas offense. So moving to a skill position just ain’t gonna happen.
But there is little doubt that he would be the most capable member of the O line to make such a move. He might be the best equipped to do so in the entire league.
However, we are glad he is going to stay right where he is.