Setting the year one expectations of Cowboys first-round draft pick Tyler Guyton

The Dallas Cowboys have big expectations for their 2024 rookie draft class as many project that their first three picks will have large roles right out of the gate. If this happens, it will be a stark contrast from last year’s group. We don’t have to remind fans that of the team’s eight draft picks from a year ago, only Mazi Smith started for them and he only started three games. And 75% of the draft class played fewer than half of the games, including three players who never saw action. It was a rough first-year showing for last year’s noobs.

But this year will be different. At least we hope. With a handful of players expected to be immediate contributors, we thought it would be good to look ahead and consider how they might fit into the 2024 plans. Where do they fit on the depth chart and what should we expect from them in their rookie season? Starting with this year’s top draft selection, here’s what the rookie season might look like for Tyler Guyton.

Guyton was a two-year starter at Oklahoma where he set up his home on the right side protecting the Sooners left-handed quarterback. He doesn’t have much experience playing football as basketball was his primary forte in high school. He enters the league with limited offensive tackle experience (only 15 starts in college), but with appealing athletic traits to excel at the position.

With Tyron Smith leaving for the East Coast, the left tackle position is there for the taking. The team would prefer not to move third-year offensive stud Tyler Smith from left guard, and rightfully so. Smith earned All-Pro honors in his first season at the position. Keeping Smith in a spot he is very good at should be priority one, meaning Gupton will have every opportunity to start the season as the team’s new left tackle.

The Cowboys have some other options available but none are that desirable. Fifth-round picks Asim Richards (last year) and Matt Waletzko (2022) are both on the roster, but these guys haven’t shown enough to make anyone feel good about them being the guy to replace Smith. The team also re-signed veteran Chuma Edoga to maintain depth on the edge. While all of these guys are players in the mix as swing tackle options, none are purposely projected to be the starter who protects the blindside of Dak Prescott this season.

Unless he struggles or is hindered by injuries, Guyton will be thrown to the wolves and his on-the-job training will start immediately meaning an up-and-down rookie season is on the horizon. He has great size and foot speed to put himself in good spots off the snap. He’ll be able to square up even against the quicker edge rushers. There are weaknesses in his fundamentals that will show up periodically. Guyton is tall and plays a little upright, so his lack of leverage will get him in trouble sometimes. He has long arms and strong hands but doesn’t toss defenders aside. He’ll need to learn how to create more torque to displace defenders. Whether sustaining blocks in pass protection or creating lanes in run blocking, expect Guyton to give up ground.

There will be plenty of win-some, lose-some reps as consistency will be his real struggle his rookie year. We shouldn’t expect him to play anywhere close to what the Cowboys got from Tyron Smith last year, so the criticism will come now and then. The learning curve will be steep, but when he starts figuring things out, we should hear more praise down the stretch.

We know the Cowboys’ player personnel department has been hitting it out of the park when drafting offensive linemen in the first round and it would be sensational if the streak of All-Pros continued with Guyton. It’s okay to expect big things, but considering his overall lack of experience at the position and work-in-progress fundamentals, it might take time,

Projection: Start all 17 games at left tackle with a C+ performance grade


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