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The Cowboys drafted the most penalty-prone lineman, to the surprise of no one

In Round 1 of the NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys picked OT Tyler Smith, who had 16 penalties at Tulsa last year, to add to their penalty problems.

Jennifer Bubel
Jerry Jones anoints Tyler Smith as the Cowboys’ solution at left tackle
William Purnell/Icon Sportswire

We all remember how the Dallas Cowboys’ season ended last year, right? In case you need a refresher, let me give you a recap of the drama.

During a season riddled with penalties (141 to be exact), the Cowboys made it to the playoffs only to lose to the 49ers in the Wild Card round, thanks in large part to - you guessed it - costly penalties. It’s all coming back to you now, isn’t it?

There was the Randy Gregory holding call in the 4th quarter that gave the 49ers a 1st down on their final drive of the game, allowing them to make several more plays and waste Dallas’ timeouts. Then there was Neville Gallimore’s illegal use of hands call with 4:31 in the game that gave the 49ers a 1st down and extra time with the ball. And then there was the inexplicable delay of game in the 4th quarter as well. The game ended in the most bizarre way, with the Cowboys unable to stop the clock, scrambling to the line of scrimmage, and the umpire placing the ball, which delayed the snap before QB Dak Prescott could spike it. Time ran out. Tantrums were thrown. Refs were blamed. Cowboys lost. The end.

What we saw in this game was just plain lack of self discipline from the players (well, and some questionable coaching decisions on Mike McCarthy’s part, but that’s not the focus here). Gregory’s two offside calls are no one’s fault but his own. And who chooses these players? Why, owner Jerry Jones and his son, Stephen of course.

Well, moving on. Now we have a new season coming up and new hopes. The 2022 NFL Draft started on Thursday, and the Cowboys had the 24th overall pick. Unfortunately for them, it’s still the Jones’ making those calls.

Cowboys pick OT Tyler Smith 24th overall

Who? That was the reaction of most people, I think. Offensive tackle Tyler Smith came out of Tulsa and stands at around 6′5″, 324 pounds. He’s got good length and had impressive stats in the combine, and he fits Dallas’ needs on the o-line. Connor Williams is now a member of the Miami Dolphins, and La’el Collins joined the Cincinnati Bengals, so the Cowboys are in need of a left guard behind Tyron Smith. To Dallas’ credit, they chose Tyron Smith and Zack Martin to the question of many, and had great success with both players. Their plan for Smith is to start him at LG to eventually take over for Tyron Smith. The younger Smith has potential indeed.

The problem is the penalties (of course). Last year, Connor Williams was the most penalized lineman in the league, something McCarthy actually sat him for last season. Now the Cowboys have taken another player at the same position with the same penalty problems. Smith had 16 penalty calls at Tulsa last year, 12 of which were holding calls. Self-discipline is crucial for the Cowboys’ success this season. That aggressive style of play that makes o-linemen such a threat to their opposition can also get them into big trouble and backfire real quick if they’re not careful. He, along with several other Cowboy veteran players, will need refining.

McCarthy apparently is not concerned about the penalty issues. I, a mere fan, however, most certainly am.