B/R's prediction for Cowboys 'biggest bust' in 2023 could be depressingly accurate

Dec 24, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA;  Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) greets offensive
Dec 24, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) greets offensive / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboy offensive line has been a major talking point all offseason. The front office is clearly more bullish on the group than fans, who've been clamoring for the team to sign a veteran guard for more depth and were on their soapbox pleading Dallas to spend a high draft pick on a linemen.

Assuming health, perhaps the biggest question on the Cowboys offensive line is the left tackle position.

Right tackle is a popular shout considering Terence Steele is recovering from a torn ACL. While there's no predicting how Steele will perform, he's attacked his rehab with a killer's mentality and all signs point to him playing in Week 1.

It's painful to admit, but Tyron Smith might be the bigger wild card even though he ended last campaign with a clean bill of health.

Bleacher Report's Alex Ballentine is aware of this and picked the 12-year pro to be the Cowboys' biggest bust of the 2023 season.

Can the Cowboys trust Tyron Smith after injury-riddled 2022?

We all know the deal with the beloved Smith. Though one of the best left tackles of his generation, Smith has managed four full seasons in his 12-year career. He hasn't played a full season since 2015 (now eight years ago) and has totaled 17 regular season games (of a possible 50) in the last three years.

Smith can still be a top-10 left tackle, but he was overmatched filling in at RT last season for the injured Steele.

Pro Football Focus' grading system has its skeptics, but it's still noteworthy Smith logged a 58.6 player grade given he typically grades out as one of the game's premier left tackles. As Ballentine noted, Smith posted a 91.4 player grade in 2021. His run-blocking grade dropped from 90.5 to a shocking 49.6.

Could that be attributed to Smith playing an unfamiliar position? Or have the injuries finally caught up and he's experiencing an Ezekiel Elliott-like regression? Are the days of Smith performing like an elite-level tackle gone?

The Cowboys have several burning questions to answer at training camp later this month. So much so that the Smith discourse has flown under the radar.

Of course, one writer's opinion doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme. Ultimately, Smith is healthy heading into 2023. As easily as he could bust and suffer another serious injury, he could turn back the clock with another Pro Bowl season.

Here's hoping Smith makes Ballentine eat his words, but the Bleacher Report columnist certainly wasn't off-base with this prediction.

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