Over the past six seasons, Smith has missed at least three games due to injury in each season. Most recently, last season, despite being named to the Pro Bowl, Smith only managed to play 11 games over the course of the season.
This injury for the star left tackle will likely sideline him until at least December. According to NFL reporter Ian Rapoport, Smith “suffered an avulsion fracture of the knee, meaning the hamstring tendon that sits at the back of the knee pulled off the bone and he needs surgery”.
The timeline for Smith’s return is “multiple months,” so we may not see the starting left tackle on the field until near-playoff time. Until then, the Joneses need to figure out who will be filling in for Smith in the meantime. Even in late August, there are some options not just inside, but outside the organization.
5 options at left tackle for the Cowboys after Tyron Smith’s injury
5. Josh Ball
Unfortunately, Josh Ball is on this list by default. Ball was drafted by the Cowboys in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft and was expected to become the team’s swing tackle this season.
His preseason so far has been unimpressive, to say the least. In two games, he has started at left tackle in both and played 98 snaps total. In those snaps, Ball has allowed five pressures, four in Week 1 and one in Week 2.
While his pass blocking looked better in Week 2, his run blocking was below-average at best. PFF has given the tackle a sub-50 grade in each category (offense, run blocking, and pass blocking) so far this offseason.
The Marshall product is just not anywhere near ready to face NFL competition. He has struggled against third-string players in the preseason and has not impressed in camp. This is an unlikely route for the Cowboys, but we are one more injury away from watching Ball play in the regular season. This is a direct result of the front office doing virtually nothing to make up for the losses of Connor Williams and La’el Collins this offseason.