The most important part of each season may be the daily practice grind in July and August, when a team is truly built. As a countdown to this year's training camp, we celebrate the 53rd year of Cowboys football by constructing the team's all-time 53-man roster, picking one player from each season.
Not so much the 53 best players in club history, DallasCowboys.com has constructed the ultimate team, filling out the depth chart and making room for contributors at every position, including special teams, while at the same time looking ahead to how this year's 53-man roster might shake out.
The series concludes today with 2012 and offensive tackle Tyron Smith.
Position: Offensive Tackle
College: Southern Cal
Cowboys Tenure: 2011-present
Why Him? Teams need experience and youth, but overall they just need talented guys first and foremost. And Tyron Smith is certainly a talented player and he's got plenty of youth. But he does have one year of experience and played rather well as a rookie in 2011. While he lined up at right tackle, Smith was an alternate to the Pro Bowl and the Cowboys have so much confidence in his ability that he'll be switching to the left side this season, replacing Doug Free, who swaps to the right. As for Smith, sure he's young and not as accomplished as other offensive tackles in franchise history. Pat Donavan was a worthy choice for a backup tackle, as was Mark Tuinei. But we're going with Smith for the upside that he will be one of the greatest to play the position. That's what you think when you take a player No. 9 overall, especially at offensive tackle. The hope is that he'll be plugged in for a decade or longer. So far, Smith at least looks to be on the right path.
The Role:Smith is obviously the last guy to make the team, but that doesn't mean he's the 53rd player by any means. He will be a backup offensive tackle on the left side behind Hall of Famer Rayfield Wright. Smith's versatility could be an asset, seeing that he's played the right side and the Cowboys have the confidence he will handle himself on the left side this year.
Back To The Future: When it comes to the offensive line, the offensive tackle spot and specifically the left tackle position, the future is Tyron Smith. The Cowboys hadn't drafted an offensive linemen in the first round since 1981 before they went with Smith. He's a guy that should be around for a while and if the Cowboys can find any other young players with as much as potential and upside as Smith, they need to go for it. But Tyron Smith is likely going to be one of the cornerstones of this team and the offensive line for years to come.