It’s April 28th, 2022. The Dallas Cowboys are on the clock with the 24th pick of the NFL draft and select... Tyler Smith, offensive tackle out of Tulsa. To say the least, Cowboys fans were not pleased with the Cowboys selecting the very talented, but raw, prospect at 24.
Even after looking past the technical side of football that Smith lacked, the frustrating part was drafting an offensive lineman that was penalized 16 times in 2021. Many would say that’s an easy fix with coaching, but the Cowboys were coming off a season where they led the entire NFL in penalties.
The good news? The Cowboys decided to move Smith to guard where he would be able to get his hands on defensive lineman easier and avoid those penalties previously mentioned. The bad news? Tyron Smith went down a week before the start of the 2022 season and everything was looking like a disaster — until Tyler Smith proved it wasn’t.
In Week 1 Tyler Smith would be at a position he hadn’t practiced all offseason and was going up against Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass rusher Shaquil Barrett who had 37.5 sacks the previous three seasons. To say Smith was the underdog going into this matchup would be putting it nicely, but he didn’t play like an underdog.
Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Smith allowed just two pressures on 69 total snaps with 50 of them being in pass protection. While Smith was called for holding once, he finished with a 96.7 pass blocking efficiency grade — a stat tracked by PFF that measures pressures allowed on a per snap basis weighting toward sacks allowed.
Overall in 2022. Tyler Smith has allowed 18 pressures, four sacks, four quarterback hits, 10 hurries, and has been flagged eight times at a position he didn’t practice at all offseason. To put into perspective just how good Smith has been, he has allowed seven less pressures than Charles Cross (9th pick) and one less sack than Evan Neal (7th pick) despite playing 83 more pass block snaps than Neal. Not only has Tyler Smith proven to be one of the bigger steals of the 2022 draft, he’s proven he could end up as the best tackle in the class one day.