Dallas Cowboys get Sooner offensive lineman Tyler Guyton after trading down in NFL draft

The Associated Press - April 27, 2024 7:58 am

Former OU offensive lineman Tyler Guyton could start at left tackle for the Dallas Cowboys, who likely want to keep third-year player Tyler Smith locked in at guard. NATHAN J. FISH/THE OKLAHOMAN

By SCHUYLER DIXON AP Pro Football Writer

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — The Dallas Cowboys took Oklahoma’s Tyler Guyton with the 29th pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night, and even after trading down five spots sounded as if they had found their next left tackle for a group that lost two starters to free agency.

Guyton played mostly right tackle in two seasons with the Sooners after starting his college career not far from the home of the Cowboys at TCU and growing up in the Austin area as a fan of the storied franchise. In 2023, Guyton protected the blind side of left-handed quarterback Dillon Gabriel.

“He is the backside tackle, so it will definitely be an easy transition as far as the responsibility of playing the back side of the quarterback,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “Just to feel his enthusiasm and passion on the phone, being a Cowboys fans and Austin, Texas, native and all that. This is a great add to our offensive line room.”

Dallas lost eight-time Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith to the New York Jets in free agency, while center Tyler Biadasz signed with Washington.

The addition of Guyton has the Cowboys believing they can leave 2022 first-round pick Tyler Smith at left guard after he spent most of his rookie season filling for an injured Tyron Smith. He switched to left guard last season.

“I feel like those are big shoes to fill from such a legendary tackle,” Guyton said. “But I’m going to work my (butt) off to do the best that I can.”

The Cowboys sent the 24th overall pick to Detroit while adding an early third-round choice. The trade gave Dallas four picks in the top 100. The Lions took Alabama cornerback Terrion Arnold at No. 24.

“It’s hard to do with offensive linemen, but you would hope to have a little sexiness to this pick using a first-round pick,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “We actually thought we had that with Tyler Smith two years ago. I think we’ve got it here. This is a sexy pick for an offensive lineman because he’s got a lot of upside.”

Offensive line isn’t the only need for Dallas, but might be the most pressing with the departures of Tyron Smith and Biadasz.

While seven-time All-Pro right guard Zack Martin remains a solid anchor for the unit protecting quarterback Dak Prescott, the Dallas line has been in transition for several seasons. It started with the unexpected retirement of center Travis Frederick after the 2019 season.

Dallas was hesitant to commit to Tyron Smith because of a series of injury-plagued seasons. The 33-year-old played 13 games last season — his most since 2019 — but rarely practiced because the club wanted to keep him healthy.

The Cowboys believe they already have a couple of candidates to replace Biadasz, a three-year starter. Among them are two young, undrafted players in Brock Hoffman and T.J. Bass.

Dallas has lost at least one starter to free agency in each of the past three offseasons. Left guard Connor Williams went to Miami in 2022, and his replacement, Connor McGovern, signed with Buffalo last year.

“You can’t do what we did when Dak was young, which is probably pay three offensive linemen top, top dollar,” executive vice president of personnel Stephen Jones said. “You’ve got to keep evolving and keep bringing young players along.”

Running back is another position of need after the Cowboys moved on from their lead back for a second consecutive year.

The release of two-time rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott was a cost-cutting move last year, and 2019 fourth-round pick Tony Pollard signed with Tennessee in free agency after playing on the $10.1 million franchise tag last season.

The Cowboys haven’t ruled out bringing back Elliott, who was with New England last season, and acknowledged having conversations with the two-time rushing champion and his agent, Rocky Arceneaux, this week.

“Zeke is one of our favorites,” Stephen Jones said. “He’s laid it on the line for this franchise. He’s the ultimate competitor. It was good to run into him and Rocky. We just had a little beer and moved on.”

Dallas goes into the second day of the draft with three picks. The Cowboys already had the 56th overall pick in the second round and added the 73rd overall choice in the third round in the trade with Detroit. Dallas also has the 87th overall choice in the third round.

 

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