Tyler Smith is living the good-life these days.
The 21-year-old rookie who plays on the Dallas Cowboys offensive line had a friendly conversation with former first-round pick and five-time All-Pro selection Zach Martin. Smith says he and Martin were, “chatting it up”, on some of the many steps towards good pass protection practices.
This is one of the many perks for Smith, as he is a native of Fort Worth, Texas and now, officially a first-round pick of his hometown team, the Dallas Cowboys. “I can just go home to my mom’s house every day and get my clothes washed,” Smith said as OTA’s kicked off this week. “Being able to talk to your family, like if you have a tough day, or you just want to go home and eat a home-cooked meal. That’s always cool.”
While the Fort Worth native is only weeks into his NFL career, it already feels like Smith is at home in the Cowboys locker room. He also believes the veterans have been eager to take him and the other rookies under their wings, with the goal of having everybody on the roster ready to play immediately.
“It’s been a really good process,” Smith said. “It’s good work, too. We’re no-holds-barred when we go at it, it’s good competition. Safe, but it’s good. It’s great to get back to work.”
Things could have played out quite differently for the talented offensive lineman. Smith had the chance to stay at Tulsa for another year of college eligibility. He also had another option to transfer to a premiere program for a “six figure deal”. Or he may have been a top 10-pick at offensive tackle in the 2023 NFL draft.
But, the big lineman went 24th and the learning curve has just started for Smith.
“Everything’s starting to speed up,” he said, “echoing words most college players say once they reach the NFL.”
This has been the largest hurdle to climb for the guard listed at 6’6”, 330 lbs. Right now, Smith is projected to play left guard, but eventually he aspires to take over the left tackle position once former first-round pick, eight-time Pro Bowler Tyron Smith finally calls it a career.
“Learning to play stable in the speed of the game. Everything speeds up each level you go up,” the rookie explained. “Just making sure you’re doing your film study right, you’re working your technique, all these little things just to make sure that when you go on the snap of the ball, there’s no mismatch, no lag: just being able to go full speed.”
For a rookie with big things coming his way, Smith is learning how fast life goes and is not taking his opportunity for granted. The players that he grew up watching as a young boy on TV are now his teammates with whom he shares a locker room with.
And if they like Smith, some of them may come over to his mom’s house soon,
for some of her cooking for the traditional O-line dinner.
“It’s coming up,” Smith laughed. “We’ll be good, though. The guys, they’re going to eat. But I’ll be eating, too, so I can’t even get mad at them.”
Well Tyler, hopefully you won’t be mad at Zeke as he’ll be eating with you too. Both on and off the field. lol…