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Cowboys are getting Oklahoma offensive lineman Tyler Guyton after trading up in the NFL draft

FRISCO, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys took Oklahoma’s Tyler Guyton with the 29th pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night, and even after trading up five spots, it sounded like they had found their next left tackle for a group that lost two starters to free agency agency .

Guyton played primarily right tackle for the Sooners in two seasons after starting his college career not far from the Cowboys’ home at TCU and growing up in the Austin area as a fan of the storied franchise. In 2023, Guyton protected the blind side of left-handed quarterback Dillon Gabriel.

“He’s the back tackle, so it’ll definitely be an easy transition as far as the responsibility of playing on the back of the quarterback,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “Just to feel his enthusiasm and passion on the phone, being Cowboys fans and Austin, Texas native and all. This is a great addition to our offensive line.”

Dallas lost eight-time Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith to the New York Jets in free agency, while center Tyler Biadasz signed with Washington.

The addition of Guyton has the Cowboys believing they can land 2022 first-round pick Tyler Smith at left guard after he spent most of his rookie season filling in for an injured Tyron Smith. Last season he switched to left guard.

“I feel like these are big shoes to fill with such a legendary tackle,” Guyton said. “But I’m going to do my very best to do the best I can.”

The Cowboys sent the 24th overall pick to Detroit while adding an early third-round pick. The trade gave Dallas four picks in the top 100. The Lions took Alabama cornerback Terrion Arnold at No. 24.

“Offensive linemen are tough to deal with, but you would hope this pick would be a little sexy if you were a first-round pick,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “Actually, we thought we had that two years ago with Tyler Smith. I think we have it here. This is a sexy choice for an offensive lineman because it has a lot of upside.”

An offensive line isn’t the only need for Dallas, but it could be the most pressing with the departures of Tyron Smith and Biadasz.

While seven-time All-Pro right guard Zack Martin remains a solid anchor for the unit protecting quarterback Dak Prescott, the Dallas line has been in transition for several seasons. It started with the unexpected retirement of center Travis Frederick after the 2019 season.

Dallas was hesitant to commit to Tyron Smith due to a string of injury-plagued seasons. The 33-year-old played 13 games last season – his most since 2019 – but rarely practiced as the club wanted to keep him healthy.

The Cowboys believe they already have a few candidates to replace Biadasz, a three-year starter. Among them are two young, undrafted players: Brock Hoffman and TJ Bass.

Dallas has lost at least one starter to free agency in each of the last three seasons. Left guard Connor Williams went to Miami in 2022 and his replacement, Connor McGovern, signed with Buffalo last year.

“You can’t do what we did when Dak was young, which was pay three offensive linemen, top, top dollar,” executive vice president of personnel Stephen Jones said. “You have to keep evolving and keep bringing young players along.”

Running back is another position of need after the Cowboys took their lead for the second year in a row.

The release of two-time rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott was a cost-cutting move last year, and 2019 fourth-round pick Tony Pollard signed with Tennessee in free agency after playing on the $10.1 million franchise tag last season.

The Cowboys have not ruled out bringing back Elliott, who was with New England last season, and acknowledged they had conversations this week with the two-time rushing champion and his agent Rocky Arceneaux.

“Zeke is one of our favorites,” said Stephen Jones. “He put it on the line for this franchise. He is the ultimate competitor. It was good to run into him and Rocky. We just had a beer and moved on.

Dallas enters the second day of the draft with three picks. The Cowboys already had the 56th overall pick in the second round and added the 73rd overall pick in the third round in the trade with Detroit. Dallas also has the 87th overall pick in the third round.

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL