(Editor's Note: Throughout the off-season, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players' impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2016 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features offensive tackle Tyron Smith.)
Name: Tyron Smith
Position: Offensive Tackle
Height/Weight: 6-5 / 320
Experience: 5 seasons
College: Southern California
Key Stat: After the season, Smith graded out as the NFL's second-best offensive lineman in Pro Football Focus' ratings, including a run-blocking grade of 96.8.
Contract Status:Signed through 2023.
2015 Impact: Quiet leader of this team. More qualities through his actions than what he is verbally. One of the hardest workers on and off the field. Doesn't appear to get worn down or take plays off. Outstanding playing strength and playing speed. Flexibility is off the charts. Can bend and adjust to any type of defender. Really excels when he has to fight a rusher with his hands. Can put himself in position with his footwork, then his hands and strength takes over. Strong hands. Can easily control his man. Has the ability to dominate an opponent with his upper and lower body power. Is able to get movement at the point of attack. Can finish. Improved on his awareness and football intelligence. Didn't see as many breakdowns in protection as we did in 2014. Had a better feel with what was going on around him. Was worried that he was going to struggle once the coaches made the switch from Ronald Leary to La'el Collins but did not appear to be an issue. Believe he is a much better front side player than on the back. There are snaps where he is not able to secure the backside and his man with get in on the play. Can make great things happen when the ball goes behind him.
Where He Fits: Will be the starting left tackle for years to come. Five years in the league and still one of the youngest players on the squad. Hard to believe that he can improve, but there are areas of his game where he surely can improve such as his backside play and second level blocks.
Rob Phillips: Smith overall had another outstanding season, as did the entire offensive line, ranked by PFF as the top unit in the league again. From a statistical standpoint the offense didn't perform nearly as well as 2014 due in large part to Tony Romo and Dez Bryant getting hurt. But Smith was steady patrolling the blind side for four different quarterbacks, and if you look at what Darren McFadden did as the featured running back – gaining 1,089 yards despite carrying the ball only 37 times in the first five games – the line clearly got the job done in the running game. The Cowboys ran behind Smith and the line's left side a lot yet again. Smith has made three straight Pro Bowls, and at 25 years old, he should have plenty more left in his career.