More and more NFL rookies are expected to contribute early in their careers. However, for them to make an impact they need to beat out a veteran player. We are going to analyze the situation of specific rookies and determine the likely hood of them winning a position battle.
Player: Tyron Smith
Team: Dallas Cowboys
Position: Left Tackle
Chance of winning the battle: 55 percent
Thoughts: The Dallas Cowboys used the #9 overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft to select offensive tackle Tyron Smith. The Cowboys were plagued by poor line play the entire 2011 season which directly impacted the effectiveness of the offense. Marc Colombo had another injury plagued season and was replaced by the ineffective Alex Barron on the right side of the line. Doug Free did a nice job at left tackle but there are still some questions about his ability to be the long term solution.
Smith's selection brings another very talented player into the mix. Smith played right tackle at USC but has all the physical attributes needed to be a Pro Bowl left tackle. He plays with great balance, technique, leverage, and quickness. His combination of skills make him effective in both the running and passing games. His quick feet and strong anchor make him a strong candidate to protect Tony Romo's blindside.
The competition for the left tackle spot is between Doug Free and Tyron Smith but there could also be some competition on the right side of the line. Free has the leg up because of his experience but Smith's abilities give him a shot at claiming the starting nod. I see Free starting the season on the left side and Smith on the right but if Free struggles a change could happen.