New To The Silver & Blue: Tyron Smith – OT

By now, every Cowboys fan knows that the team selected offensive lineman Tyron Smith with their 1st round draft pick earlier this year, but did you know that it had been 30 years since the last time the Cowboys drafted that position with their first round pick? It’s true, the Dallas Cowboys selected offensive lineman Howard Richards with their first round selection 1981. That was the year that we were all was introduced to Indiana Jones and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” topped the box-office.

Whenever I write something about the newest Cowboy, Tyron Smith, I’m tempted to type in all caps because he is such a monster when it comes to his size!  The young tackle out of Southern California checks in at 6’5  and weighs 307 pounds.  Tryon’s hands were each measured at 11 inches.  The former USC star acknowledges his size as one of his main assets:

” My strength is my size,” I intimidate other guys because I’m big and I’m working on getting bigger. I want to work on my footwork. Since I’m so big, sometimes I get off balance.” 

Tyron was born December 12, 1990 in Moreno Valley California. He attended Rancho Verde High School where he played offensive and defensive line.  He earned numerous honors.  Even as a kid, listed him as the #1 offensive tackle prospect in the nation.  They nailed it on this one.

The analysis from USC pro-day reported that his pass blocking is his best trait,  saying he’s quick off the snap and can catch and turn his opponent away from the play. His athleticism enables him to explode out of the gate and make down-field blocks.

In his last season at USC, the Trojans allowed only 18 sacks, and averaged 189 yards per game in 2010, both were conference bests.

At Pro-day he ran the 40 yard dash in 4.91 and just as impressive for his size was his broad jump at 9-1 and his vertical at 29 inches. The ground must have shook when he landed. :-)

Smith is very comfortable blocking in an open space.  He can sink his hips to counter the bull-rush. He moves his feet well to shadow quicker speed rushers. 

It’s no wonder Smith was by far the number one offensive tackle in the draft – nobody else even came close. Romo must have been doing cartwheels on Draft Day! (Don’t strain yourself Tony!) 

Blessed with the prototype combination of size, balance and agility, he has the potential to develop into a top-flight left tackle in the NFL. He emerged as a standout in the Pac-10, winning the Morris Trophy as the conference’s top offensive lineman as voted by the league’s defensive linemen.

Among his weaknesses (hey, nobody’s perfect!) some experts say he needs to develop his football instincts, so that he won’t easily be baited by stunts. He must also key in on recognizing the blitz.  Right now, they seem to think he can be beat by speed to power  rushing moves.  But with that said, let me add that the Cowboys defense is known for their speed, so working against them in camp will help him improve on defending against a speed/rush offense. (It’s all good!)

Here are some highlights…

  • Smith was the country’s highest-ranked offensive linemen. 
  • Smith made a huge impact in his two seasons as the Trojans starting offensive tackle, before declaring early for the 2011 draft.
  • Consensus All-Pac 10 first-team choice, named the Trojans’ Offensive Lineman of the Year
  • The only player in the Pac-10 Conference to register 100 knockdowns for the season, receiving first-team all-league honors.
  • Smith had thirteen touchdown-resulting blocks and allowed only one quarterback sack in his final season. He had 23 blocks for touchdowns in his two years as starter.
  • Tyron was the recipient of the Pac-10 Morris Award, given to the league’s top lineman.

After watching video of him, and with Coach Ryan coming in, it will be interesting to see if the coaching staff can help him with his football IQ and quickly get Smith up to speed and make the improvements that will make him a starter. I believe they will.

There’s a lot to like here!

Finding That Blue And Silver Lining

There are times, in life, when things aren’t going exactly as you would hope. In those times it is difficult to remain positive. Focusing on the negative just seems so much more natural. I know it sure is true in my case. I can’t speak for you of course. We all handle things in our own way. Some manage to look on the bright side no matter what. I, for one, could learn a lot from these people.

The one thing that 99.9% of visitors to this site have in common is obvious. Our love for the Dallas Cowboys.

Being the cynic that I am I tend to look at negative things in life and take for granted all the good things going on. Looking back on the 2008 season I’ve focused on lack of discipline, lack of leadership and a general sense of discord with the Cowboys organization as a whole. But there were some amazing moments this year. New faces emerged and old reliables continued to amaze us.

Felix Jones

How many of us saw this guy coming? His incredible burst and open-field speed left friend and foe alike wide-eyed with mouths hanging open in amazement. Not to mention you would be hard pressed to ever see him without a smile on his face. This young man has a very bright future ahead of him and I know we all look forward to watching him grow into the elite running back he obviously has the potential to be. I have no doubt that had he not gotten injured and subsequently put on injured reserve he would be the 2008 NFL Rookie of the Year.

DeMarcus Ware

Just when you think this guy couldn’t get any better what does he do? He gets better. His athleticism and sheer determination are something to behold. This man is a game changer. A difference maker. One of the greatest linebackers I’ve ever seen play the position and I’ve seen plenty. My personal choice for Defensive Player of the Year. I have no doubt he will be a Hall of Famer. First ballot. Bank on it. And he’s a Dallas Cowboy baby!

Jason Witten

Can you have a more solid teammate than Jason Witten? The greatest tight end in the game today, bar none. He’s always willing to give a little extra. Even with injuries that would have sidelined most players, Witten never relented, always stayed focused on the task at hand and never let anyone down. A warrior.

Tashard Choice

If you haven’t seen it yet check out the Georgia Tech locker room speech video of Choice posted on youtube. This video alone makes you well up with pride that he wears the blue and silver. His running style and ability to find the hole and to get extra yards where most players wouldn’t reminds me so much of Emmitt Smith. This guy is a legend in the making.

Bradie James

James is emerging as a true leader on the defensive unit. This diamond in the rough is only going to get better. I mean.. 116 tackles and 8 sacks at inside linebacker. Are you freaking kidding me? Should be a Pro Bowler. I have the upmost respect for Bradie James. He’s a great interview and has no problem telling it like it is.

These are just a few of what was arguably the largest collection of talent on any team in the NFL. Yeah, as a whole this team underachieved. But they will be alright. They will right the ship. Nothing comes easy in the NFL. Chalk 2008 up as a learning experience. What’s done is done. Time to move on.

On this day on January 28, 1996 the Dallas Cowboys beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. Number 5. They were not and are not done. Not by a long shot.

The destiny of the Dallas Cowboys is the same as it has always been. Greatness. Some things never change, my friend. I’ll never stop believing in this team. Many, many great men have donned the blue and silver. More have arrived and more will follow. No team does greatness-knows greatness-like the Dallas Cowboys. Glorious battles and future gold are just over the horizon. All we have to do now is wait for the clouds to break and follow the stars.

Legends of the Star – Jay Novacek

Jay Novacek first made a name for himself playing tight end for the University of Wyoming. He was selected to the All-American football team in 1984 after setting an NCAA record for receiving yards per receptions by a tight end. He had a team record 83 career receptions for 1,536 yards and 10 touchdowns during his college career. Novacek also competed in track and field and earned All-American in the decathlon and pole vault.
He was originally drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1985, and but later joined the Dallas Cowboys in 1990. Some thought he was hired gun and for a while the name stuck. He was known for his hard-nosed style of play and his athleticism. He was a hard hitter and a great blocker, but it was his pass catching ability that fans will remember most.
He was one of the best tight ends ever to wear a Dallas Cowboys uniform, and was one of the key players on a Cowboys team that went on to win three Super Bowls in 1992, 1993 and 1995. In those three games alone, he posted a combined total of 17 catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns.
Jay Novacek’s remarkable pass catching and route running abilities gave him a total of 422 receptions for 4,620 yards and 30 touchdowns during his NFL career. He was selected to five pro bowls. Although he may not have had a long career with the Cowboys, he made each of his 6 seasons count, and was one of the best tight ends in the league throughout his Cowboys career.

Legends of the Star is an exclusive weekly feature found only on StarStruck. Each week we will profile one of the many interesting personalities that have played for the Dallas Cowboys.