Cowboys Nation's weekly chat with the National Football Post's Wes Bunting brings news that may temper the thought of trading down from the 9 spot. Top OT prospect Tyron Smith, a 20-year old, early-entry junior, has bulked up considerably since USC's season ended in November, and could wow scouts with his Combine workout at the end of this month.
Cowboys Nation: You tweeted this a couple of days ago and some of my readers were posting this in comment threads over the weekend, that Tyron Smith is up over 300 lbs. now. Is that confirmed?
Wes Bunting: We've talked about Tyron Smith. When you look at his lower half, it's begging for weight. It's a big, broad frame. He's 20 years old and when he focuses on adding weight, it didn't surprise me that he was up that quickly. He's at 307 right now. He's just under 6'5'', which I kind of like, that's what Roger Safford is. He's got 35 inch arms. I've heard he's gonna bench well. He could get up to 320 without losing any athleticism if he's up to 307 already.
CN: You're heard this from legimate sources that he's up to 307?
CN: Let's leave him at 307. Let's say he goes to the Combine at that weight and he's 6'4'' and a half. What does that do for him? Where does that move him on draft boards?
WB: On mine he's not moving. I was expecting this. I guess some NFL teams would move him up, cause he's a little heavier. Remember, this is going to be the first time a lot of these juniors work out for NFL teams. They're getting a better feel for these guys. It's not necessarily that they're moving up or down, but that scouts are getting good looks at these guys and tweaking their boards as a consequence.
From what I've heard from the sources I talked to, he's 307. He's still gonna run in the 4.9 to sub-4.9 range, and with 35 inch arms he could bench press 225 pounds more than 25 times. That's a heck of a workout right there. And he's got good tape. And he's 20 years old [Smith turned 20 on December 12th]. You add all that up and I wouldn't have any qualms about taking him in the top ten picks.
CN: You had him in your last mock going to the Redskins at 10. In the past, a lot of the nay-sayers on my site would look at the Cowboys offensive linemen profiles and history and say, there's no way Dallas takes a lineman that light, no matter how well he moves. At this weight, I can't think of any NFL team that would have misgivings selecting him.
WB: No, and this is how funny the NFL is. You look back at Jason Smith from Baylor, who went 2nd overall. I thought he was the 4th best OT in that class. It's kind of, who has the first say, and which player has a consensus around his spot that determines where he goes.
I think Tyron Smith is twice the pro prospect that Jason Smith was. Last year I had Roger Saffold as my 3rd best. I know I had him over Anthony Davis and Bruce Campbell and Trent Williams, who went 4th overall. Who had the better year? Well, Saffold had a much better year than Trent Williams, but the press gets caught up in a handful of names, and those sexy names just kind of stick up there.
I don't know if Tyron Smith will rise up to a top-5 pick, but he's better than Jason Smith, in my opinion.
CN: I'm hoping he doesn't. I had some questions given his size, but where he is now, I'm not concerned. Doug Free was around 304-305 lbs. when the Cowboys drafted him and it took a couple of years to add about 10-12 pounds of bulk to him, but once he took the field it was clear that he could run. From what you tell me, Tyron Smith sounds like one of the more athletic tackles to play the position.
WB: He's an exceptional offensive tackle. He's a really good athlete. If you just look at his body type, it's lean right down the middle. He's got thick, strong legs. He's got a broad lower half. What has it been, about 10 weeks since the season ends and he's already put on 20 lbs. If he focuses on it, he could be like Haloti Ngata, an athletic looking 350 lb. linemen. You don't find physical skill sets or athletic builds like Tyron Smith's all that often. Plus, I'll be shocked if he has less than 35 inch arms, which are phenomenal for an offensive lineman.
CN: And you're still confident that he can play either side?
WB: Absolutely. I put him with the Redskins because I think it would be a perfect fit. They want to be a zone-running team. You can put him on the right side, start there, get his feet wet. If he develops there you can move him to the left side and put Trent Williams on the right. Just like the Ravens did with Michael Oher. Start him on the right and if you feel he can be a better prospect on the other side, move him. Or he can start on the left. It's these minor concerns that we're dilly dallying over but I feel he can be an upper echelon left tackle in the NFL.
CN: At 307 lbs, could he step right in and play on the right side this year?
WB: Yeah. He's not going to be a guy like Phil Loadholt who blows people off the football but what he does, he's long-armed and he's technically sound and he plays with good leverage. Sometimes that more important in the run game than being a huge run guy. You look at Loadholt, he plays upright and turns people away from the play.
I was really impressed by Tyron Smith, I told you this before, playing against Cameron Jordan in the run game, cause he was able to gain leverage and drive Jordan off the ball at 285 lbs. That's saying something. And how he's a bit heavier. Leverage wins in the run game and that's something he's already developed.
Tomorrow: The rest of the chat, looking at the strengths and weaknesses of this draft class, cornerbacks, defensive linemen, interior offensive linemen and mid-round options at wide receiver.