Mr. Smith Goes to Dallas
The NFL draft was showcased on Thursday night, and four hours after the clock started ticking, 32 players found new homes. As always, the opening round wasn’t short of twists and turns, as GMs strategically moved their pieces across the board. But there was one pre-draft premonition that was popular among mock enthusiasts, and is probably one of the few circled as correct on a list matching players with future teams.
As anticipated, Tyron Smith was selected ninth overall by the Dallas Cowboys. The offensive lineman becomes the 75th player chosen in the first-round from USC, and ends a one year drought in production. With the pick, Smith also became the only first-round offensive lineman to be selected by Jerry Jones in his 22-years of ownership, and the first for the franchise since 1981. He is also the 10th Trojan offensive lineman to be drafted since 2000, joining Sam Baker as the only other to leave the board in round one.
It was the sensible pick, coming with no surprise, as the Cowboys addressed a team need with the player receiving the highest positional grade in the class. Already rising by season’s end, Smith solidified his top-10 ranking with an impressive performance at Southern California’s pro-day, where Dallas head coach Jason Garrett was in attendance. He brings to Dallas a massive frame, along with big words and confidence to go with it.
“I think I have the potential to be a Pro Bowler and be a Hall of Famer,” the USC tackle told the Dallas media after the Cowboys picked him ninth overall in the NFL draft Thursday.—OC Register
Smith was one of three Pac 10 players drafted on Thursday, along with Washington’s Jake Locker (Titans) and Cal’s Cameron Jordan (Saints). Tackle Nate Solder and cornerback Jimmy Smith left the board early for incoming Pac 12 member Colorado. The SEC led all conferences with ten opening round selections, including Cam Newton first overall to Carolina and 5 players selected in the first six picks.