Believe it or not, building an NFL roster is kind of like cooking spaghetti. You throw the spaghetti noodles in a pot of water to boil, but you don’t know when they’re finally ready until you take one out and throw it against the wall to see if it sticks.
Okay, that’s probably a poor comparison, however, not a completely inaccurate one. And as far as the Dallas Cowboys are concerned, they seem to be taking this approach in their search for Tyron Smith’s eventual successor as evidenced by the draft capital they’ve invested at the position over the last couple of years.
Sadly, it’s looking as if Tyron Smith stays are numbered in Dallas. 2022 could very well be his last season, which could be why the Cowboys have several “uncooked noodles” currently on the roster. They are hoping one of them can eventually stick, however, only time will tell if that is indeed what comes to fruition.
Today, we’re going to take a look at some of these “uncooked noodles” to not only get to know them a little better, but also to see who may have the best chance of becoming Tyron Smith’s eventual successor.
Josh Ball played 34 career games with 18 starts (10 at left tackle, eight at right tackle) at Florida State, Butler Community College, and Marshall before being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round (138th overall) of the 2021 NFL Draft. The 24-year-old, 6’8”, 304-pound offensive tackle is entering his second-year with the Cowboys after pretty much being redshirted as a rookie. With a year under his belt, and in the system, he may have a leg up on the competition to become Tyron Smith’s primary backup and the team’s swing tackle in 2022.
Tyler Smith played 24 career games with 13 starts at left tackle in two years at Tulsa before being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round (24th overall) of the 2022 NFL Draft. The 21-year-old, 6’6”, 332-pound offensive lineman is probably the favorite right now to eventually replace Tyron Smith. In the meantime though, he’ll likely replace Connor Williams as the starter at left guard. Depending on how he performs as a rookie at LG, and how the other young tackles play, he could either remain as the starter at LG or get the opportunity in the not-too-distant future to kick outside to LT.
Matt Waletzko was a 28 career game starter at left tackle in his three-year career at North Dakota State before being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fifth round (155th overall) of the 2022 NFL Draft. The 22-year-old, 6’8”, 305-pound offensive tackle is a developmental player with intriguing athletic ability/traits. Despite being a developmental prospect, he has just as much of a chance to become Tyron Smith’s eventual replacement at left tackle as anyone else currently on the roster. He may have to prove himself little more, but the opportunity is there if he can seize it.