Tyron Smith has yet to play a down as a left tackle in the NFL, and the 21-year-old is already being pegged as the next big thing.
The latest pundit to jump on Smith’s bandwagon is NFL.com’s Brian McIntyre, who picked Smith to be the Cowboys’ breakout player in 2012 and wrote that he “could be the NFL’s next elite left tackle.”
“Though he primarily played right tackle in his two years as a starter at USC, and has never started a game on the left side, the Cowboys moved Smith to left tackle this offseason,” McIntyre wrote. “Their reasons are obvious. At 6-foot-5 and 307 pounds, with 36 3/8-inch arms, an 84 5/8-inch wingspan, impressive strength (31 reps on the bench press at his pro day) and quick feet, Smith has all the physical tools to become a Pro Bowl-caliber left tackle and has the added benefit of facing DeMarcus Ware, one the league’s elite pass-rushers, every day in practice.”
McIntyre pointed to the fact that Smith missed just eight snaps during his rookie season as a sign of Smith’s endurance and durability, both of which often prove just as crucial as talent when it comes to developing top-notch linemen.
The writer also predicted that Cowboys fans could be seeing Smith in his first Pro Bowl in the near future.
“Given the state of the tackle position in the NFC — Jason Peters, a starter in last year’s Pro Bowl, has torn his Achilles tendon twice this offseason — and the ballot-stuffing potential of Cowboys fans, the Pro Bowl is a personal achievement that could come sooner rather than later for Smith,” McIntyre wrote.
Vernon Bryant / Staff Photographer
Learning curve: When the Cowboys opened the season with two rookies and an undrafted second-year player making his first start at center, coach Jason Garrett declared the offensive line would be a work in progress. It has been. The line’s performance has been erratic. The good news: Through all the ups and downs, first-round pick Tyron Smith has been the group’s best player. He should help anchor this line for years to come.
Brad Loper/Staff Photographer
Dallas Cowboys receiver Miles Austin (19) is congratulated by Tyron Smith (77) after Austin made a TD against the San Francisco 49ers in the second half of NFL Football action at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, CA Sunday afternoon, September 18, 2011.
G.J. McCARTHY / Staff Photographer
Stephen Jones, Dallas Cowboys executive vice president, looks on as new draftee Tyron Smith dons team clothing next to owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett during a news conference on April 29, 2011 at the Cowboys’ Valley Ranch practice facility in Irving.
ERIC GAY / AP
Dallas Cowboys rookie Tyron Smith goes through drills with teammates during NFL football practice on July 28, 2011, in San Antonio.
VERNON BRYANT / Staff Photographer
Tyron Smith positions himself to block DeMarcus Ware during the morning walk through at Dallas Cowboys training camp at the Alamodome in San Antonio on July 29, 2011.
JOHN F. RHODES / Staff Photographer
Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Tyron Smith (77) works against Denver Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil (92) during first half of NFL preseason football action between the Dallas Cowboys and the Denver Broncos at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on Aug. 11, 2011.
Joe McKnight #4 of the USC Trojans celebrates his touchdown with Tyron Smith #70 and David Ausberry #9 against the San Jose State Spartans.
Tyron Smith #70 of the USC Trojans stretches before the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils.
VERNON BRYANT / Staff Photographer
Dallas Cowboys Tyron Smith (77) listens as DeMarcus Ware (94) gives him advice during the blue-white scrimmage at Dallas Cowboys training camp at the Alamodome in San Antonio on Aug. 7, 2011.