Tyler Smith

Cowboys Sign First-Round OL Tyler Smith

The Cowboys came to terms with first-round pick Tyler Smith on his four-year rookie contract Friday and are putting him to work at a new position, Ed Werder of ESPN.com tweets.

Smith lined up at left guard at Dallas’ rookie minicamp Friday, marking the first time he has played the guard position since his senior year of high school, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram relays. The Tulsa product played exclusively at left tackle in college.

Tackle-to-guard transitions are common in the NFL; Zack Martin made the move as a rookie in 2014. Like Smith, Martin did not make any starts at guard in college. The Cowboys are still planning on a Tyron Smith-to-Tyler Smith transition at left tackle someday, with Hill noting the younger Smith will receive left tackle reps this offseason. But for now, the first-rounder will vie to line up next to the perennial Pro Bowler up front.

The Cowboys let previous left guard Connor Williams defect to the Dolphins in free agency, pitting Tyler Smith against Connor McGovern. While Smith could make sense at right tackle, the Cowboys are high on frequent starter Terence Steele to take over for La’el Collins full-time at that spot.

Smith, who goes 6-foot-4 and 324 pounds, was the Golden Hurricane’s full-time starter at left tackle in 2020 and ’21. As the No. 24 overall pick, Smith will be tied to a fully guaranteed deal worth $13.38MM, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News tweets. The Cowboys can keep Smith on that rookie contract through 2026, via the fifth-year option.

The Cowboys also signed fifth-round offensive lineman Matt Waletzko (North Dakota State), fifth-round cornerback DaRon Bland (Fresno State), fifth-round linebacker Damone Clark (LSU) and sixth-round linebacker Devin Harper (Oklahoma State)on Friday, The Athletic’s Jon Machota tweets.

Draft Rumors: Williams, Colts, Cardinals, Texans, Broncos

After breaking out in his lone Alabama season, Jameson Williams encountered a significant hurdle to close his junior year. The ACL tear Williams suffered in the national championship game damaged his pre-draft stock, but it appears to be rebounding. Williams is now expected to be taken in the top 10, Chris Mortensen of ESPN said recently (h/t Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94WIP.com; Twitter link). ESPN ranks Williams as its No. 4 wideout prospect, at No. 19 overall, behind ex-Ohio State teammates Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave and USC’s Drake London. When available in 2021, the slender Crimson Tide wideout showed game-breaking speed in a monster statistical season. The 6-foot-1 transfer get totaled 1,572 yards (19.9 per catch) and 15 touchdowns. That total surpasses other first-round Tide wideout draftees like Julio Jones, Jerry Jeudy and Jaylen Waddle‘s final-season production at the SEC powerhouse. ACL tears are obviously not the deterrents they once were, and teams eyeing Williams through a long-range lens would make sense.

Here is the latest from the draft:

  • In what would seemingly be a meet-and-greet, as opposed to something indicating a potential draft choice, the Colts scheduled a Malik Willis visit, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link). Indianapolis traded its 2022 first-round pick to Philadelphia for Carson Wentz last year and acquired Matt Ryan to be its starter for at least the next two seasons. Willis would profile as a developmental prospect behind Ryan, but the Colts not having a pick until No. 42 makes a partnership unrealistic. The Liberty prospect has visited the Falcons and Panthers, and the Steelers have been linked to the Group of 5 passing prospect as well. The Colts could acquire another potential Ryan heir apparent in Round 2, but they make more sense as a QB suitor in 2023.
  • The Texans have another veteran stable of running backs, having added Marlon Mack to a group that includes Rex Burkhead and Royce Freeman, but the rebuilding team could use younger talent here. Iowa State’s Breece Hall is viewed by some as this draft’s top back, and he visited the Texans on Wednesday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. After its two first-round picks, Houston holds the No. 37 overall selection. That would be the most logical window for Hall to become a Texan, barring a trade. The Bills, Commanders and Giants have also met with Hall.
  • Losing Chandler Jones in free agency after seeing J.J. Watt battle more major injury trouble, the Cardinals could use pass-rushing help. They met with a first-round talent recently, hosting Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis, Pelissero tweets. The 266-pound rusher did not post eye-popping stats (14 sacks in three seasons) but is viewed as a solid all-around prospect, whom NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah compares to fellow ex-Boilermaker Ryan Kerrigan.
  • Russell Wilson‘s Denver arrival ensured the Broncos do not hold a draft choice until No. 64, but they are meeting with a higher-end tackle prospect. Tulsa’s Tyler Smith visited the Broncos recently, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. The Broncos signed Billy Turner and Tom Compton; one is likely to become Denver’s 10th Week 1 right tackle in 10 years. But the team has long needed a young answer at this position. Smith rates as Jeremiah’s No. 41 overall prospect but sits 58th on ESPN’s big board.