Cowboys seek cornerstone lineman
Two options are ready to join offense now; two have big upside.
By Tom Orsborn
Analysts project the muscular Smith as a top-10 pick. If the Cowboys select Castonzo, Solder or Carimi, it likely would be only after they trade down in the first round.
“It's really a question of what you are looking for,” ESPN's Todd McShay said. “Are you looking for a guy who physically can come in and play right now? Are you looking for a guy who has the athleticism to develop into a left tackle, or a guy who is just big and strong who you can plug at right tackle? You kind of have four different cases.
“With Smith, you have all the tools, but he maybe needs time to reach full potential. Castonzo is ready to play now at left tackle, but he may never be elite. Carimi is ready to play now, but he lacks some of the athleticism Castonzo has but is stronger and more physical. With Solder, he is just massive, 6-foot-8, long arms, moves well. But he is going to need technique work.”
Most analysts believe Smith is high on the Cowboys' board after head coach Jason Garrett and offensive line coach Hudson Houck attended USC's pro day. The 20-year-old junior was the only prospect Garrett watched work out this spring.
“Castonzo is probably the most NFL ready, and Carimi is right behind him,” McShay said. “But five years from now, Smith should be the best of this tackle class.”
Smith played right tackle for the Trojans, but scouts believe he could slide over to the left side after checking in at his pro day at 6-5, 310 — 25 pounds heavier than he played at last season.
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