Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he sees some similarities between Smith, the 24th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft out of Tulsa, and NFL legend Larry Allen, one of the physically strongest players to ever grace the field.
“Not as a player, I’m not saying that, but [Smith] is strong. We are pleased,” Jones said.
“[Smith] has a tremendous ceiling,” coach Mike McCarthy added.
The 6-5, 324-pound Smith was Dallas’ only first-round selection this year. In 2020, he started at left tackle for the Golden Hurricanes and allowed zero sacks in nine games. In 2021, Smith started 12 games and earned All-Conference second-team honors.
Smith is poised to start at left guard this season, but his versatility allows him to play any position on the line, meaning he could step in as the swing tackle behind eight-time Pro Bowler Tyron Smith.
Allen, who famously once recorded a 705-pound bench press and a 905-pound squat, was a second-round pick in the 1994 NFL Draft due to his small-school background (he went to NCAA Division II college Sonoma State University in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.) Allen went on to be selected by Dallas at No. 46 overall, which at that time marked the highest offensive lineman pick by the Cowboys since 1981. It also marked the first time a player from SSU had ever been drafted.
Allen earned a franchise-record 10 Pro Bowl selections, as well as a Super Bowl title in his twelve seasons (1994-2005) with the Cowboys before playing his final two seasons (2006-07) with the San Francisco 49ers, where he received his 11th Pro Bowl selection. In 2013, he was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Smith, who was 6 when Allen retired and 12 when he was inducted into the HOF, will wear No. 73 — the same as Allen.
“I’m a younger guy, so Larry Allen is before my time, but I caught on (to how good Allen was),” Smith said. “Larry Allen wore that number, and I’ve seen a lot of the adversity he went through early in his life, and I feel like I resonate with a lot of that. It means a lot to be able to wear that and carry on that legacy.”
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