The Cowboys top pick has position flex, but hopefully won’t need it in 2022.
7) Will Tyler Smith Play More Guard Or Tackle?
Nick Eatman: I hope I’m wrong about this, but something tells me he’s going to play more tackle. I know what that “something” is and it’s the fact that Tyron Smith just can’t seem to get rid of the constant back/neck/shoulder issues. It’s not going to get much better and Tyron will have to fight through it like he’s done the last few years. That being said, maybe the overall play to play Tyler Smith at tackle comes sooner than we think. We’re not really talking much about this, but what happens if Tyler Smith is appreciably better than Terence Steele at right tackle? Maybe Tyler Smith and Tyron Smith are the tackles when everyone is healthy, and Steele is the one who fills in for Tyron. Now, all of that also hinges on Connor McGovern being better at left guard and handling that spot. But to answer the initial question, I just see Tyler Smith playing a little more tackle than guard. If that’s not the case, it’ll be a good thing for the Cowboys meaning that Tyron and Steele are holding up just fine.
Rob Phillips: Left guard, specifically, assuming that Tyron Smith and Terence Steele are the starting tackles for most of the season. Injuries are always the wild card, but Tyron has made double-digit starts in 10 of 11 seasons in the league. This will be a real competition at left guard between Tyler Smith and Connor McGovern, but ultimately I think Smith will win the job and his strength and power will be an asset to the running game.
Will the Cowboys offense go retro?
In 2016, Tony Romo injured his back in the third preseason game. His compression fracture kept him out most of the season and ushered in the Dak Prescott era.
With a rookie starting at quarterback, the Cowboys leaned on their offensive line and running game that season. They attempted 483 passes and threw 25 touchdowns and ran 499 times and scored 24 rushing touchdowns.
Romo expects the Cowboys to return to 2016 philosophically and lean on the offensive line and the running game. Dallas lost receivers Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson and Michael Gallup is expected to miss the start of the season while working his way back from a torn ACL.
“The Cowboys have been probably the best offense in the division for a while now,” Romo told Maggie Gray and Andrew Perloff on CBS Sports Radio. “And you know that the offensive line since around 2014, ‘14-ish, they started to get really good and so that’s carried on for such a long time, and then you threw in these pieces at wide receiver and all of a sudden this was a dynamic group that could — it was going to be very difficult to stop.
“And you’re seeing just a little bit of change start to happen. So I think you’ll see a shift in philosophy a little bit, the identity might change and get back toward the 2016-ish ‘17, ‘18 season.”
The Dalton Schultz issue will now go on for another year.
What Schultz is probably looking for is a deal paying him around $13-15 million, making him the highest-paid tight end in the NFL (worth noting the franchise tag already makes him that this season). Besides Schultz, only Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki makes more than $10 million per season.
So, is he worth it?
Schultz has gotten better every single season. Thanks to Blake Jarwin’s torn ACL, he was used more as a pass-catcher, hauling in 63 passes for 615 yards and four touchdowns. He took the starting spot from Jarwin and never looked back, catching 78 passes for 808 yards and eight touchdowns.
Schultz is coming off a career season and now wants to cash in. As a receiving tight end, he’s gotten better in almost every aspect. The biggest criticism for him is his blocking mishaps.
While Schultz’s blocking was good last season, there were some well-documented blunders. When he lost on the line, he lost hard.
That isn’t to say he’s not a good blocker. Schultz is still a good blocking tight end. But, it can do with some improvement.
It’s all on CeeDee Lamb.
Remember, there is no more Amari Cooper, sent on his way to Cleveland.
There is no more Cedrick Wilson. Took the money and ran all the way to South Beach.
For the time being, and likely at least for the first month of the season, there will be no Michael Gallup available. He’s still rehabbing from his February surgery to repair the ACL he tore in Game 16 last year while making a remarkable touchdown grab against Arizona.
By process of elimination, Lamb then is the only healthy receiver on the Cowboys roster to start more than two NFL games last year – free-agent pickup Washington started two for Pittsburgh – and frankly the only one in the past two seasons with as many as 27 starts, Washington coming in second with all of nine.
Next up would be Noah Brown, with but five during all five of his seasons with the Cowboys.
That’s it until Gallup returns.
Yeah, CeeDee is the man.
Look, CeeDee has to be the man. And the Cowboys know it. Because by that same process of elimination if nothing else, he has been elevated to No. 1 receiver status, a pedestal befitting the No. 88s before him: Hall of Famer Drew Pearson, Hall of Famer Michael Irvin and Dez Bryant.
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