Cowboys offensive tackle bookends looking up at NFL tandems

The Dallas Cowboys are going through a period of transition along their offensive line this offseason and that led to the team drafting two linemen this past April. Tyler Guyton, their first-round selection, was a right tackle who will be moving to the left side with the Cowboys.

Despite his immense potential, Guyton remains an unknown, leaving the offensive line without a top tackle for the first time in a long time. PFF recently ranked the Top 32 tackles in the NFL ahead of the 2024 season and no Dallas player made the cut.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that neither Guyton, nor starting right tackle Terence Steele made the list. Guyton will be a rookie protecting quarterback Dak Prescott’s blind side, and it’ll be a switch in sides for the young LT. Dallas believes Guyton has what it takes to become another of their All-Pro caliber offensive linemen drafted, but he’ll have a bumpy road on the way to hopefully making the list in the coming years.

The Cowboys know what they’re doing when it comes to drafting offensive line prospects. Since they drafted LT Tyron Smith in the first round of the 2011 draft, each of their four first-round OL picks have become All-Pros, and it’s never taken them longer than three years to achieve that honor.

On the right side, Steele needs to rebound from a rough year. The Cowboys put their faith in him after two solid campaigns at RT and gave him a hefty contract extension before the 2023 season began. Unfortunately, the veteran RT was coming off a torn ACL injury and wasn’t the same player. The expectation is that Steele will be back to his old self another year further away from the serious injury.

When he’s healthy, Steele is a good RT who excels in paving the way for the running game as one of the better run blockers in the league. He’s never made a Pro Bowl, but with his work ethic and the improvement he’s shown throughout his career, Steele is capable of being a Top 10 RT. However, it’s no surprise he didn’t find his way onto the list.

What is interesting about the rankings from PFF is who did manage to be named among the top tackles. Former Cowboy and current New York Jets LT Tyron Smith ranked as the seventh best tackle in the league, which shouldn’t come as a shock. When healthy, Smith is one of the best LTs in the league and is coming off an All-Pro year. The veteran LT routinely found his way on this list when he was a member of the Cowboys, yet he wasn’t retained for the upcoming year.

The Philadelphia Eagles have both of their tackles listed among the Top 10 in the league. LT Jordan Mailata came in at number five on the list, while RT Lane Johnson was right behind him, ranking sixth. It’s disheartening to see rivals rank so highly on a list where the home team isn’t represented.

Another NFC East team was also represented, New York Giants LT Andrew Thomas was listed as the 11th best tackle in the league. It was an injury-plagued year for Thomas in 2023, but in 2022, the LT was among the best LTs in the game.

Dallas’ defense will line up against 15 of the Top 32 tackles and will play against five teams who have two tackles ranked inside the list. The Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers all have their bookend tackles ranked inside the Top 32. In total, the Cowboys will play 10 games against some of the top tackles in the league. San Francisco 49ers’ LT Trent Williams topped the list, and Dallas will line up against him in Week 8.

It’s been a long time since there wasn’t a Cowboys tackle rated highly around the league. Smith was a staple among the top talents at the position, but the team decided not to bring him back for a 14th season. With a rookie and a rebound candidate at both tackle spots, the Cowboys have the potential to have someone on the list for next season, but they don’t have an elite tackle on the roster in 2024.

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Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire