When the 2011 NFL draft was being prepared, two of the most popular names who were linked to the Dallas Cowboys were defensive end J.J. Watt and tackle Tyron Smith. With the ninth pick in the draft, the Cowboys chose to improve their porous offensive line by drafting Smith. Just a few picks later, at eleventh overall, the Houston Texans took Watt.
A year later, and after a successful rookie year at right tackle, Smith has been learning a new position, left tackle. The results haven’t been stellar but Smith is improving every week and I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t feel Smith will eventually be an elite left tackle in the league. However, should the Cowboys have drafted J.J. Watt instead?
Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan may have thought so. Perhaps New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan let the cat out of the bag on Wednesday when he said on a conference call with the Texans media. Here’s what Rex had to say about Rob and the prospects of Watt, “I know my brother was wanting him when he was in Dallas. He lost out in that battle. They took that tackle instead.”
If this is true, it’s hard to argue for one player over the other now, just as it was back then. There is no doubt that Watt has been a very good player but so has Smith. Last year, heck even now, the Cowboys still have a major need at offensive line so it’s hard to believe they made a bad choice in taking Smith.
Only time will tell which player was the right pick but both look like very good players. Watt maybe further along with his game but then again, he hasn’t changed positions as Smith has.
In the end the Cowboys will not regret taking Smith, even if he has a little more maturing to do at left tackle. They’re hard to come by in the NFL and the Cowboys have a good one.
As with anything, we need to give it time before we say one is better than the other, remember, at one time Shawne Merriman was considered better than DeMarcus Ware.