The University of Tulsa has produced a first round NFL draft pick for the second consecutive year after the Cardinals selected Zaven Collins last year. Tulsa left tackle Tyler Smith was selected 24th overall by the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night in Las Vegas.
The 6’6”, 322-pound, Fort Worth, Texas native played in 25 career games and had 23 starts, all at left tackle for the Golden Hurricane. He missed just one game in 2021, his redshirt sophomore season and was named second-team all-AAC.
In 2020 as a redshirt freshman, Smith was named Freshman All-American by the FWAA and The Athletic and was a first-team All-AAC selection.
Smith’s selection in the first round comes as a bit of a surprise to many, but he has plenty of the physical tools to play this game at the highest level. Frankly, Smith’s biggest strength is his tenacity. Multiple scouting reports on him use the word “violent” or “nasty” or something to that effect. Those same scouting reports also often cite his issues with technique both in his hand placement and his footwork.
Despite that, he moves surprisingly well for how big he is. He can get up field quickly and block the second level, if he does manage to get the leverage he needs to win the line of scrimmage. Dallas may have taken on a bit of a project, but he definitely has a high ceiling as he returns to his home state.