Cowboys take OT Tyron Smith at No. 9
By Todd Archer
IRVING, Texas — For the first time in the Jerry Jones era, the Dallas Cowboys have drafted an offensive lineman in the first round of the NFL draft.
The 6-foot-5, 307-pound Smith is the first offensive lineman the Cowboys have selected in the first round since 1981, when Tom Landry took Howard Richards with the 26th pick. In the Jones era (since 1989), the Cowboys had used seven second-round picks on offensive linemen: Larry Allen (1994), Shane Hannah (’95), Flozell Adams (’98), Solomon Page (’99), Andre Gurode (2002), Al Johnson (’03) and Jacob Rogers (’04).
Smith, the youngest player among the 2011 draft class, was a two-year starter at USC and is viewed as the best tackle in the draft with the highest ceiling because of tremendous athletic ability. While some see him as a left tackle in the future, the Cowboys will plug him in at right tackle.
Colombo, who was Chicago’s first-round pick in 2002, has started every game in which he has been healthy since 2006 for the Cowboys. He missed the final seven games in 2009 because of an ankle injury and was slowed last year by a knee injury. He is due a $2.6 million roster bonus before the 15th day of the league year and could be released unless he takes a pay cut.
Head coach Jason Garrett went to one pro day during the pre-draft lead-up and that was USC’s. At the time Garrett said it was because Smith did not work out at the scouting combine and the schedule worked out because of the lockout. Offensive line coach Hudson Houck played and coached at USC and also attended Smith’s pro day.
Smith was one of the 30 national visitors at Valley Ranch earlier this month.