clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NFL personnel rank Tyron Smith as the best offensive tackle in the league

New, comments

The NFL is still very high on the Cowboys’ left tackle.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Recent positional ranking lists from ESPN confirm one thing that many of us assumed: the Dallas Cowboys have no shortage of talent on its roster, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

Quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott, and wide receiver Amari Cooper were all ranked inside the top-10 across the league at their respective positions. After being among tops of the league in multiple offensive categories, that comes as no surprise.

A fourth player on the Cowboys offense has now received top-10 recognition as left tackle Tyron Smith was voted as the best offensive tackle in the entire league by 50 NFL personnel.

Tyron Smith: The best tackle in football?

Smith is a future Hall of Famer and has unquestionably been among the best players in the league since finishing his playing days at USC. The ninth overall pick of the 2011 draft has shut down many star pass rushers and have provided both Tony Romo and Prescott a bodyguard for their blindside.

As a result, Smith landed at the top of the rankings in Jeremy Fowler’s poll. One executive stated that Smith is “on another planet” when he is healthy.

Smith dominated the voting, which was a bit of a surprise because he misses time due to injury nearly every year. But many evaluators came to the conclusion: He’s still Tyron Smith. Maybe he has dropped from 100 to a 94, but his 94 is still better than everyone.

“Watched him closely and was expecting a dropoff in play, but it’s not there,” an NFC exec said. “He’s got the injury stuff. But when he’s healthy and on, he’s still really, really good. He’s still on another planet as far as a dominant two-phase player.”

Health has been a concern for the talented Cowboys left tackle, but he remains among the elite in the league when he is healthy. That said, one “high-ranking” executive is of the belief that the 29-year-old has become stiffer as he has aged, yet still possesses the length to be effective.

Smith allowed one sack and committed five holding flags in 13 games.

One high-ranking exec thought Smith, 29, has gotten stiffer with age, with more waist bend, but still length and running ability to flourish. His Pro Football Focus rating came in at 76.6.

Tyron Smith has earned a very good reputation across the league and is certainly on track to be in Canton in the future. Still, voters claim that his reputation had nothing to do with him landing at the top of the list.

Voters insist this isn’t a rep thing — he’s still the gold standard.

“He’s a little like Joe Thomas in that you think you can get him, that he’s older and beat up, and then you play him and you’re taking shots and you’re reminded this guy is a beast,” one NFL offensive coach said.

Dallas has a second really good offensive tackle in La’el Collins. Collins truly blossomed last season on the right side of the line after inking a contract extension in the 2019 offseason. The LSU product is regarded as one of the best right tackles in the league, though fell just short of cracking the top-10 of these rankings.

La’el Collins, Dallas Cowboys: “Tyron gets a lot of the shine but Collins is really good. He finishes plays really well, good athlete.” — AFC exec

The Cowboys are fortunate to have a pair of excellent tackles on its roster. Only perhaps the Saints — who had both of its tackles ranked inside the top-8 — have a better pairing across the league.