Tyler Smith's subtle message to Mike McCarthy foreshadows inevitable Cowboys mistake

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys
Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The NFL Draft is almost here and Dallas Cowboys fans are eager to learn what the team does with its first-round pick. The expectation is that the Cowboys will draft an offensive linemen. What position they settle on will determine which position 2022 first-round pick Tyler Smith plays next season.

Following the departure of Tyron Smith, Cowboys fans are largely split whether they want the younger Smith to move from left guard to left tackle. Though this an incredibly deep tackle class, kicking Smith outside would give Dallas more flexibility in the draft.

That shouldn't dissuade them from taking a OT altogether, but it would allow them more options with the No. 24 overall pick. Given how many holes are on the roster, the Cowboys need maximum flexibility.

While everyone is fixated about what Dallas does with Smith, have we ever thought where Smith himself feels most comfortable? Appearing on "The 8th Round Podcast" with teammate Brock Hoffman, Smith sent a subtle message to Mike McCarthy and the Cowboys about his preferred position.

Tyler Smith makes it clear he wants to play left guard for the Cowboys

"I'm coming off a really good year at guard. I'm feeling really comfortable at guard. I kind of like how the continuity is right now. Like you already prefaced this, I'm willing to do whatever it takes y'all, and I'm able to do whatever it takes. So we'll see what the future holds, you know. Obviously stay ready for anything, but for right now, Im the starting left guard of the Dallas Cowboys, ya'll."

Tyler Smith

Smith noted multiple times that he's willing to do whatever the Cowboys ask of him, including moving to left tackle. However, it seems apparent he's most comfortable at left guard, which makes sense given he was a Second-Team All-Pro in 2023, his first season at the position.

Smith can get the job done at left tackle, but he showed plenty of lumps as a rookie filling in for the injured Tyron Smith. In 701 snaps, he allowed 40 pressures, six sacks, 23 hurries and 11 quarterback hits while committing 15 penalties, per PFF (subscription required). His 65.5 pass-block grade ranked 43rd amongst tackles while his 75.2 run-blocking grade placed 20th at the position.

It stands to reason that Smith would excel at LT if he's afforded a full offseason of preparation. Remember, he was thrust into the position after Tyron Smith went down less than a month before the 2022 regular season with a torn hamstring. Smith had spent the entirety of training camp playing left guard. One could argue he exceeded expectations at LT given the suddenness of the position change.

However, if he's more comfortable at left guard that puts McCarthy and the Cowboys in a tough position. Do they do right by Smith or put the team first? When you take all the numbers (and Smith's quote) into account, keeping Smith at guard should be the final verdict.

The draft will dictate Smith's short- and possibly long-term future, but the front office should have this quote in the back of its mind on draft night.

More Cowboys coverage