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'It Pays Off': Zack Martin on Rookie Tyler Smith Cowboys Versatility

The Dallas Cowboys' veteran is complimentary of Tyler Smith's growth throughout minicamp.

In today's NFL, the best of the best often show one trait in common: versatility.

This idea was evident in the Dallas Cowboys' recent minicamps as well. The team's first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, offensive lineman Tyler Smith, saw snaps at both left tackle and left guard.

As a prospect, Smith was the prototypical project pick for a lineman. He stated most of his games for the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes at left tackle, where he stood out primarily because of his physical toolset.

However, with his physical tools so heavily outweighing his current development, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy has made it publicly known that Smith will likely spend the beginning of his career at left guard.

Historically, the Dallas offense has always been centered around the "Best 5" in the O-line. 

When commenting on Smith's rotation between left tackle and left guard, current Cowboys right guard Zack Martin had this to say:

“It pays off that he’s playing on one side. If you were playing left guard and then swinging over to right tackle, in my mind, that would be much harder than going from left tackle to left guard... Obviously, the protection stuff in space is different, but at least your footwork- in the run game, especially- is going to be the exact same at left tackle and left guard. It’ll be good for him to do both.”

Martin himself has had experience shifting at bit, and now has cemented himself as one of the best right tackles in the league. However, he himself has established that the journey wasn't easy for him. 

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He additionally offered some insight into what this upcoming training camp is like for a young offensive lineman.

"“What it’s all about right now is just learning to understand the playbook and understanding what you’re doing first. When you understand, like, the schematics and what you’re trying to accomplish with the play, you’re able to move without hesitation … That’s the emphasis … just putting yourself in that great position before we even snap the ball.”

We might argue that Smith is so raw that one position learned might be enough - but Martin’s thoughts have value.

For Smith, mental development is one of the biggest keys for him to assume his potential of a franchise offensive lineman. If Martin's words are any indication, he is certainly receiving coaching in the right direction.

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