FRISCO, Texas – Call it a good first day at work.
For all the talk and anticipation, Tyler Smith realized sometime Friday morning that this was just another football practice. And while it might have been his first time playing guard in quite some time, the Cowboys' first-round draft pick was pleased with the result.
"It felt good, I won't even lie," Smith said. "You surprise yourself sometimes. It was a great feeling."
What better setting for Smith to make the switch than a series of practices that Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy refers to as an orientation? The rookie lineman was a left tackle throughout his college career, but he did play left guard as a high school senior.
And while McCarthy was sure to note that Smith will be working in multiple different positions, he did allow that he showcased the athleticism that made him a first-round pick.
"You can see the twitch is something that jumps out at you," he said.
The rookies will be working with the veterans within the next week, so it'll be interesting to see what the big picture looks like for Smith. On Friday, he worked primarily at left guard with fellow draft pick Matt Waletzko serving as his linemate at left tackle.
Perhaps as early as Saturday, offensive line coaches Joe Philbin and Jeff Blasko could have him working more at tackle – though Smith said he wasn't sure what the big picture looks like just yet.
"That'll be something that we go through in the future, for sure," he said. "I'll see what Coach Philbin and Coach Blasko, what their plan is for me."
In the meantime, Smith looked quite natural in his new spot. That probably owes in part to his familiarity from high school, but he also made sure to credit the coaching he's already getting in the short time he's been on the field.
"It was a change, for sure. But I felt like, today, I really rose to the challenge," he said. "Of course, there's more to improve upon – I even realize that, just in the way I step. It's all different. But having Coach Philbin and Coach Blasko teaching me and taking me through the steps, they're doing a great job getting me up to speed."
It's the first step of many, but at least they feel natural.