I have taken a look at some mock drafts and the consensus amongst Dallas Cowboys fans is that there is no consensus at all. People from different platforms cannot agree on what ails the Cowboys the most.
Cornerback Partick Surtain II out of Alabama certainly has some steam and connections as he and current Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs were the starting cornerback tandem during the 2019 college season.
Tight end Kyle Pitts out of Florida and cornerback Caleb Farley from Virginia Tech are both popular picks. Farley fills a need but Pitts projects to be a mismatch nightmare at the next level. Those are all logical positions but I am more interested in the crowd who is pulling for the team to draft an offensive tackle.
On the surface, it looks like a waste of a selection since the team looks to be in good hands with both Tyron Smith and La’el Collins manning the bookends. I say this even though I believe Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell is the second-best prospect in the entire draft. Both were lost for the season due to injuries and I initially thought that they would fully recover and pick up where they left off.
The more and more I interact with the folks regarding the offensive line, the more it makes me feel like I am not sure and I either think they are starting to make me panic or the Cowboys have a legit need for a long term replacement. If someone told me that I absolutely had to go see a car even though mine is perfectly fine, me going to the dealership is simply due diligence.
The rabbit hole that ensued was not exactly the type of information I wanted to uncover when looking at Tyron Smith.
Tyron Smith has a $10.5 million base salary and a $3.5 million prorated bonus which makes it a $14 million cap hit. That is highway robbery if you ask me as Laremy Tunsil of the Houston Texans currently averages $22 million a season. La’el Collins has a $12 million cap hit so the Dallas Cowboys have great deals with both players.
Injuries are the only reason I can be given when people tell me the Dallas Cowboys need to move on from Tyron Smith. He missed most of last season but even before that it felt like he was a lock to miss three games every season.
Tyron Smith’s injury that caused him to miss the majority of the 2020 season deserves a look before we cast him aside like yesterday’s garbage. Smith missed a couple of games before being shut down for the rest of the year but before he did, his injury was described as neck stingers.
If you ever played the game of football or any other contact sport, neck stingers are a common injury whose effects often wear off after a short period of time. It usually requires you to show the medical personnel that you can lift your affected extremity, the burning sensation alleviates, and any numb areas fully regain feeling.
When the Dallas Cowboys placed Tyron on injured reserve because of this, I wanted to know what exactly he was dealing with. Due to Hippa restrictions, we can only speculate about his injury. My spouse’s side of the family is littered with medical professionals which include a doctor and all of them came back with the same presumptive diagnosis. This is an educated guess that I pieced together and not breaking news.
When neck stingers don’t fully disappear on their own, the likeliest condition that the individual is going through is an affected brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a collection of nerves that sends signals from your spinal cord to your upper extremities. Injuring the plexus is what causes stingers but things like violent car accidents can tear or rupture the collection which requires deeper medical care.
Ripping the plexus from the spinal cord is the most serious injury but as painful as that sounds, it is a correctable injury with surgery. Whenever the big three of owner Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and head coach Mike McCarthy were asked about Smith’s neck situation, all three replied that it is a “correctable” injury.
It is also notable that surgery to the plexus should be done within six months of the injury occurring or the success rates drop sharply. There is about an 80%-90% recovery rate which is fantastic but every patient is different. When I initially read that, I was optimistic that Tyron would return.
It usually takes three to six months to see progress but what concerns me is the fact that some nerves can take years to heal. Tyron underwent surgery sometime between the 12th through the 16th of October. That puts him about two months away from hitting his recovery timeline which is also two weeks before the 2021 NFL draft.
That means the Dallas Cowboys should know more about his future roughly two weeks before the NFL draft. It would be wise for the Cowboys to have draft plans that include Tyron Smith but also have a backup plan if the team is to move on without him.
My general manager hat came on and I immediately began to think of nightmare scenarios. My biggest nightmare is the Dallas Cowboys replace Tyron Smith as he is not fully recovered from his injury but after his nerves heal down the road, he becomes what he was with another team.
I have to now seriously consider the Dallas Cowboys making a move up for tackle Penei Sewell. The Oregon product reminds me of a certain Hall of Fame player that used to play for the Cowboys. Whenever he pulls on a play, he does so with ease which makes me feel like he would be a better guard but would no doubt excel at both positions.
Drafting Sewell would give the Cowboys a fallback option while solidifying a position. Drafting Sewell while the jury is still out on Smith gives the team the ability to play Sewell at left guard if Tyron returns or left tackle if Tyron can’t go.
Tyron Smith essentially missed the entire season so the health benefits the rest of his body went through should help his overall recovery. I wish Tyron a speedy recovery but the Cowboys are more than likely in wait-and-see mode when it comes to Smith and his replacement.