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What's Up at OT? Guyton's development is the key


FRISCO, Texas — In the middle of March, we knew the offensive line was going to look completely different this season, based off just one move. And it was a big move, creating a big loss on a player who had a Hall of Fame career. But the minute Tyron Smith left the Cowboys and signed with the Jets, it created quite a void at left tackle that we haven't seen on a permanent basis since the 2011 season when Smith was drafted 11th overall.

Smith signing with the Jets put a target on the position and the Cowboys surprised no one by drafting a tackle in the first round in Tyler Guyton, who has nothing but excitement about playing for the team he grew up following his entire life. But that doesn't mean he'll be ready to play and that should be the biggest question mark on the entire O-line heading into camp.

Let's take a closer look at "What's Up" with the offensive tackles.

What We Know: There doesn't seem to be a debate at right tackle – at least for now. We all know things can change at any moment, but for right now, we know Terence Steele is the team's best option at right tackle. The Cowboys made some changes – adding players in free agency and the draft – to address the left side. But the right side is in good shape with Steele, who played much better in the second half of last year. Don't forget he was less than a year removed from an ACL injury that he suffered in December of 2022. It took him a few games into the year to get back to his old self. Steele should be in position to have another stellar season, manning up with Zack Martin on the right side to form a strong blocking tandem, especially in the running game.

What We Don't: We don't know how long it'll take Tyler Guyton to adjust to the NFL. Now, the Cowboys took him in the first round, which typically suggests he could be ready sooner than later. But if 2023 was any indication, the Cowboys spent all year trying to get Mazi Smith to play on a consistent level. And considering Guyton is still somewhat new to this position that he started to play while he was in college at OU. There's no doubt the Cowboys are going to give Guyton every chance to win the job, but it's a job that still protects Dak Prescott's blind side. If Guyton isn't ready right away, the Cowboys will have other options, including Chuma Edoga, who started six games last year, including four at left tackle in place of Tyron Smith.

What to Watch For: Just like the left tackle spot is something to watch, the same could be said for swing tackle. Chuma Edoga should factor into the mix here, with his ability to play multiple positions such as both guard and tackle spots. But watch out for a few other names such as Matt Waletzko, Asim Richards and maybe even Josh Ball, who is also being used at guard. But the Cowboys have always liked Waletzko and see plenty of talent, it's just the injury history, particularly with his shoulders, that have slowed him down. But there is some talent there, as is the case with Richards. Training camp will be full of competition at the tackle spot. Considering the Cowboys have edge rushers such as Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence and Sam Williams to face in practice, there will be plenty of chances for the young tackles to prove themselves.

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