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Cowboys draft strategy tells us the left guard solution is in house

Many thought the Cowboys would use a premium pick to solidify their left guard spot. They didn’t and it leads us to one conclusion.

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The Cowboys did a great job this offseason of adding talent and plugging holes on their roster with the idea of letting themselves draft freely, without the burden of need. While that statement is true, there still seemed to be some question marks and doubt surrounding the left guard spot going into the draft, and as we fast forward to post draft, those questions were left unanswered. When it comes to their talent acquisition strategy, the Cowboys have their own way of doing things and oftentimes it does not align with group think among fans and those who cover them.

Understanding that allows us to think outside of the box when it comes to the lack of premium resources used to attack the perceived gap at left guard. We have thought all along that position needed addressing, but what the Cowboys have told us, if we pay attention, is that at the conclusion of the draft, they believe they already have that fix in house.

The Cowboys only used one of their eight selections on an offensive lineman and it came on day three in the fifth round. Asim Richards, out of North Carolina, was the selection and while many believe he will kick inside to play guard, the overwhelming majority of Richards college snaps were spent playing tackle. Richards surely has the ability to be impactful on the inside, and the idea of a late-round project is a good one, but it doesn't do much for the here and now. We have seen the Cowboys attack their needs more aggressively as of late and if they didn’t think they already had the answer on the roster, surely they would've acted accordingly.

The here and now belongs to Tyler Smith. Yes, in a perfect world Smith would be able to stay outside at tackle and lock in to one position for a decade, but the Cowboys do not currently live in a perfect world on the offensive line.

Newly signed Chuma Edoga is an intriguing player for the spot, but he feels very much more like a depth signing and not someone the team wants to count on for 17 games as a starter. Matt Farniok is an option as well as he comes back from injury, but he has never started extensively and would need to show in camp that he is head and shoulders above the rest to beat out some of his colleagues, but he is fully entrenched in the conversation.

There has been rumblings that Terence Steele may move inside to play guard, and while that idea is not a fan favorite, that is still even with full faith that he will be 100% by the time the season rolls around any way. That is a wait and see that the Cowboys probably don’t have the luxury to wait for. The team has even gone as far as to say much-maligned offensive tackle Josh Ball will be doing guard work this offseason to see if he is a factor to think about.

All these other options are less than inspiring and lead us back to Tyler Smith as the man inside. For this to work, Tyron Smith needs to stay healthy enough to man his customary left tackle spot, or the team having enough faith in Matt Waletzko to hold down the blindside and him being able to reward that faith with his play. Both are a stretch, but need to happen for this unit to work.

None of this is ideal, but that's where the Cowboys find themselves. Tyler Smith has the size, strength, and ability to be an All-Pro guard, but the team rightfully sees him as their left tackle of the future. While that is the long-term plan, they need to prepare for the 2023 and right now the configuration that has Tyler Smith at left guard is the best one by far.

There are many variables that can deeply impact this Cowboys offensive line in 2023 with very little room for error before they have to play musical chairs once again. The line is one tackle injury away from Tyler Smith being needed on the outside more than the inside, but with all things being equal, the Cowboys cannot have a gaping hole at their left guard spot and risk a glaring weakness for the sake of future prospects.

The peace of mind in all of this is that surely the powers that be know this as well and have a plan of attack for it. The Cowboys will not be caught by surprise by any of this, and while its a question for all of us to ponder, the teams answers are surely ready to be put into action, and they may have just tipped their hand with how they plan to address it with their draft approach.

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