‘This is a sexy pick:’ Cowboys see sky-high potential in Tyler Guyton as left tackle

‘This is a sexy pick:’ Cowboys see sky-high potential in Tyler Guyton as left tackle

The Cowboys were happy to come out of the first round of the draft with one more draft pick than they went in with. But picking up an extra third-round selection after doing a deal with Detroit was just icing.

The cake was dropping five spots and still claiming Oklahoma tackle Tyler Guyton. And talking about the 6-foot-8-inch 322-pound Texas native and childhood Cowboys fan who’ll be coming back home to start his pro career, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was practically salivating with excitement.

“It’s hard to do with offensive lineman,” Jones said Thursday night after taking Guyton 29th overall, “but you would hope to have a little sexiness to this pick, using your first-round pick. And I actually thought we had that with Tyler Smith two years ago. I think we got it here; this is a sexy pick for the offensive line. It’s got a lot of upside.”

The reference to Smith, the club’s 2022 first-round star, is apropos, because the two Tylers will be joined at the hip on Sundays. The Guyton pick likely means Smith will remain at left guard, where he played this past season and earned a Pro Bowl nod and second-team All-Pro honors; Guyton is expected to become the team’s new left tackle.

It will still require an adjustment, given that Guyton played right tackle in college.

“I think we all understand,” head coach Mike McCarthy explained, “they have a left-handed quarterback at Oklahoma, so he is the backside tackle. It will definitely be an easy transition for him as far as the responsibility of playing the backside of the quarterback. It’s footwork, and there’s going to be things that are new anyway. But God, what a great pick for us.”

The Cowboys have had a good track record of successfully shifting offensive linemen to new positions, as executive vice president Stephen Jones pointed out.

“To get a left tackle is a big, big deal,” he said. “We had these same discussions with Larry Allen when he was here, because he would have been a great left tackle: All-Pro, Hall of Famer at left tackle or left guard. Certainly, Tyler [Smith] played, really, at a high, high, elite-type level at guard. This certainly allows him to kind of entrench there.”

Vice president of player personnel Will McClay agreed.

“When you build an offensive lineman, you look for athleticism, the feet,” he told reporters. “We’ve got a history of having guys that do things at a high level at that position. There are some traits that definitely showed us that that was there.”

The front office admitted that they had several top options open to them when Detroit made a late phone call to trade up for the 24th pick. Sliding back five spots, they felt, would still give them an excellent chance at getting one of them. Stephen revealed that the room was looking hard at Duke lineman Graham Barton (who, coincidentally, would have also been asked to move positions, to center).

Barton went to Tampa Bay with the 26th pick, but the team nevertheless landed a prized big body, one that occupies a rare place even within McCarthy’s extensive coaching career.

“I haven’t had too many tackles over six-five, six-six,” he marveled.

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Guyton’s size is impressive. But it took more than that to convince the team to look past a relative lack of experience playing football. He grew up focused on basketball and shifted to the gridiron so late that he got next to no scholarship offers. Even once he got to college, it took a while to find a position; his first start came at TCU as an H-back/tight end.

It wasn’t until he transferred to Oklahoma that he became a true offensive lineman, and then over his two years in Norman, he made just a handful of starts.

No, it’s Guyton’s sky-high ceiling that made him a first-round draft pick.

“As a coach, we’re excited about all the promise that he has in front of him,” McCarthy explained. “The 14 starts, to me, is a positive. It’s not a knock against him. It just shows: all these kids- more than ever, with the NIL and the portal- more than ever, these players take different paths and different courses and there’s different thresholds and directions that they go. So I think it’s important for us to look at the potential.”

McClay added: “And if they’re athletic, have the work ethic that you need, and they’re willing to learn, that’s an opportunity to grow and improve.”

And having Tyler Guyton get that opportunity to grow and improve right next to Tyler Smith had his new head coach so excited, McCarthy has already come up with a new nickname for the explosive duo who’ll be protecting Dak Prescott’s blindside.

“TNT, man. You heard it here first.”

Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire