Grading a draft a mere hours after after the last pick is generally frowned on by the more hardcore football fan who knows that drafts can’t really be graded until three to four years after the fact.
Regardless, what the grades do - to some extent - is capture the national media reaction about a draft immediately after it is over. And that national reaction may perfectly mirror or completely contradict your own personal social media filter bubble.
Below, we look at 12 sites that have submitted their grades for the Cowboys already, and they are quite a bit better than my own personal filter bubble last night would have led me to believe. It might be time to update my filter bubble.
CBSSports really likes this pick. A
This is one of my favorite picks in this draft. This kid is a mauler who will help them at right tackle right away. He needs a little help in pass protection, but the Cowboys will coach him up. Teams loved him more than analysts and his tape showed you why. This is a really good pick.
Lineups.com sees a lot of upside with Smith. A
I love this pick for the Cowboys. Smith just turned 21 years old and combines a high floor with an elite ceiling. Smith led the FBS in big-time blocks last season per PFF and that road-grading, powerful playstyle is highly enticing. With his big frame and athleticism, he has the upside to stick it out at tackle long-term, and as his pass-protection technique improves, he can become a top offensive line talent in the NFL.
For The Win: “Match made in heaven”: B+
Smith is a throwback. As a result, it’s no surprise he heads to the Cowboys, who seem to always try to recreate the ‘Great Wall of Dallas’ of the 90s. A flat-out massive human being (6-foot-5, 324 pounds, 34-inch arms), Smith is a nasty power merchant. He’s a violent road grater who clears paths in the running game with ease. He might be project as more of a guard in the NFL, but that won’t make his career arc any less promising. Dak Prescott needs a new bodyguard and Smith is a match made in heaven for Big D.
PFF: no school grade, but PFF rate this pick as “Good”
Smith has had a meteoric rise in recent months. Arguably the most violent offensive lineman at the Group of Five level, Smith led the nation in big-time run-blocks a season ago. His grip strength and power are a sight to see — once his hands get locked into the defender’s pads, it’s game over. The Tulsa product earned a 92.1 PFF grade that ranked fourth among FBS tackles in 2021. He was even better from Week 6 on, too, as he graded out at 94.2 over the back half of the season. Smith is going to have a steep learning curve to start, but he is young at just 21-years-old.
NFL.com offers no specific grade, but Bucky Brooks is talking about an “all-star-caliber” pick.
As a raw, unrefined athlete with outstanding physical tools, Smith has the potential to quickly develop into an all-star-caliber blocker if he improves his technique. With solid coaching and a strong work ethic, Smith could blossom as an edge blocker within this system.
MassLive doesn’t have a school grade either, but likes that Dallas is re-building its O-line.
For a long time, the Cowboys were known for having one of the NFL’s best offensive lines. However, they’ve fallen backward in recent years, leading to the team needing to rebuild there. Smith is a high-upside talent that could be a steal if he winds up panning out. He wasn’t a consensus first-round pick. However, he likely wasn’t going to fall much further, leading to Dallas taking him now.
The Ringer also likes the upside of this pick and gives it a B+
The Cowboys are shooting for upside with this pick, and Smith brings a ton of it. He’s still raw in his technique, often lunging or shooting his hands wide, but he’s got a massive frame, immense strength, and engulfs opponents in the run game. He has the skill set and demeanor to start on the interior but could develop into a blindside protector (and Tyron Smith replacement) in time.
FoxSports: No grade, but likes Smith’s “exciting starter traits”.
More barroom brawler than composed blocker at this point, but the redshirt sophomore’s size, agility and aggression are exciting starter traits.
The Cowboys needed help up front, but they were too far back in the draft to get an elite prospect. But that doesn’t mean that Smith isn’t a true talent. He’s a better pass blocker than run blocker at this point, and in this league, that’s where you want him to be instead of the other way around.
Dallas was desperate for offensive line help after moving on from Connor Williams and La’el Collins. Smith helped his stock by convincing teams he could be a durable rock and also hold up outside at right tackle, the best bet for where he’ll play opposite Tyron Smith. Jerry Jones’ move makes sense given the Cowboys are trying to be in win big now mode around Dak Prescott.
DraftWire isn’t overwhelmed by the pick, but thinks it was the logical choice: B-
Offensive line was the clear priority for the Cowboys, and they land a prospect here in Smith who will take some patience, but has all the traits to develop into a dominant force at either guard or tackle. He might be surprise name for some, but he was always going in this range. With Zion Johnson and Kenyon Green off the board, the only surprise is seeing Smith ahead of Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum.
The Athletic says the pick was a bit of a reach: C+
Smith (6-foot-5, 324 with 34-inch arms) started 23 games at left tackle. He performed well as a run blocker and gave up just two sacks in more than 800 pass-blocking snaps.
Smith plays with a nasty streak and probably has the versatility to slide inside to guard. He is not a finished product and could experience some growing pains as a rookie. Brugler called Smith “incredibly raw” and had him ranked 50th on his big board.
There’s no denying Smith’s upside, but this feels like a bit of a reach.
Todd Archer of ESPN provides some insight into the process that landed Smith in Dallas:
The Cowboys never seriously considered moving up because Jerry Jones said a player they liked did not fall far enough down the board for them to consider a trade. They contemplated three trade-down scenarios, including one involving a team that would have ended up taking Tyler Smith. The Cowboys had interest in guards Kenyon Green and Zion Johnson but they went to Houston and the Los Angeles Chargers with the 15th and 17th picks, respectively. However, Jones said Smith was higher rated on the Cowboys’ draft board than either guard.
Owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Smith was the 16th-rated player on the Cowboys’ draft board and said a team that tried to make a trade up with the Cowboys informed them that Smith would have been its selection.
Jones said Smith was rated higher than guards Zion Johnson and Kenyon Green, who were linked to the Cowboys before the draft and went earlier in the first round.
Now that you’ve had a night to sleep over it, how do you feel about the pick?