FRISCO, Texas — With the 24th selection in the NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected Tulsa offensive tackle Tyler Smith.
A Fort Worth native, Smith went to high school at North Crowley.
Smith was a freshman All-American at Tulsa in 2020. He was a second-team All-American honoree in 2021.
"We picked the 16th player on our board with the 24th pick," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "We call it a good night. A player that we thought had as much upside as anybody that was on the board."
He's got all the physical tools -- measuring in at 6'4 and 324 pounds. And the belief of scouts across the league is that his upside is tremendous. But how fast does he achieve that upside? The Cowboys likely need him to slot in as a starter from day one, at left guard. And in the future, they see him as Tyron Smith's replacement at left tackle.
"We think he can be our left tackle for a long time, at some point in time," Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said during the team's post-first round press conference. "Obviously, we have the best in the business now in Tyron Smith, but at some point his ability makes us think he can be a top, top left tackle.”
Smith did have some penalty issues during his final year at Tulsa, getting called for a dozen holding penalties in his 12 starts.
“I’m definitely aware of his performance last year, but they’re definitely two different topics in my view," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "Obviously playing in Tulsa and obviously our team this year, I really don’t see any correlation to it."
The Cowboys did have opportunities to trade back out of their 24th selection.
"We had three trades right at the buzzer on the last three picks," Jerry said. "We had three calls and were entertaining trades two or three in the last pick.” Instead, Dallas decided against a trade, and picked Smith at 24.
If the Cowboys had any designs on drafting a wide receiver with their first pick, those thoughts went out the window quickly, as they saw six wideouts go off the board in an 11-pick span from pick eight to 18.
Dallas also saw the top few interior offensive line prospects go off the board a few selections before them, as Texas A&M's Kenyon Green went 15th to the Houston Texans, and Boston College product Zion Johnson went two picks later to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Two trades happened right in front of Dallas, with the Kansas City Chiefs trading up into the New England Patriots' slot to grab cornerback Trent McDuffie with the 21st selection. Then the Buffalo Bills traded up into the Arizona Cardinals' 23rd selection to make a pick directly in front of Dallas, selecting defensive back Kaiir Elam from Florida.
Meanwhile, over the first couple hours of the draft, the Cowboys saw their competition around the NFC East get better. The New York Giants held two picks in the top seven selections: They picked up edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux with the fifth pick, adding the Oregon pass rusher to their defensive front; then, with the seventh selection, they bolstered their offensive line, taking Alabama offensive lineman Evan Neal.
The Eagles, on the other hand, entered the night with three first-round picks, and they've used them in a variety of ways. First, Philadelphia traded up to select Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis. Then they moved another pick to the Tennessee Titans in order to acquire star wide receiver A.J. Brown. They have even reportedly already signed Brown to a four-year extension, worth $100 million.
The Washington Commanders -- you'll get used to it eventually -- have also added a wide receiver of their own, selecting a player that some had mocked to the Cowboys in Penn State wideout Jahan Dotson.
In a unique NFL Draft, no quarterbacks went off the board until Pitt QB Kenny Pickett was selected by his college team's stadium-sharing Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 20.