The Cowboys turned their attention toward foundational need in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft when they selected tackle Tyler Smith with the 24th-overall pick.
The choice addresses an immediate void at left guard and gives Dallas a long-term option at left tackle. It might also produce a needed boost in production for a key member of the Cowboys offense.
"From everything I'm hearing and seeing it sounds like he's a good fit for our team," running back Ezekiel Elliott said Wednesday, via USA Today. "A guy who looks like you can play him at different positions. He looks physical, he looks like he has the type of mentality where he's going to fit in with the guys already in that room.
"Just the ability to keep (Dak Prescott) clean, give him the ability to go out there and go through his reads and throw the ball on time to the playmakers we have outside -- that's big. Establishing the run is big for our team and going to be important for us this year.
"I think the pick we made in the first round will help us."
If the Cowboys can receive consistent play from both tackles -- provided Tyron Smith encounters bad injury luck for a seventh straight season -- it would go a long way toward helping Elliott return to his All-Pro form of years past. Quality performance from Tyler Smith at guard would also theoretically help plenty, making Dallas' offense that much more potent.
Elliott put together a respectable season in 2021, rushing for 1,002 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and 10 touchdowns in 17 games. It was decent, but not near the level that saw Elliott reach three Pro Bowls in 2016, 2018 and 2019.
It's certainly not what the Cowboys expected to receive when they signed Elliott to a six-year, $90 million extension in 2019. In order to receive adequate return on investment, Dallas has spent its draft capital on a player who should improve Elliott's chances of success in 2022.
They may have found themselves a long-term replacement for Tyron Smith, too. Time will tell, even if it's starting to run short on Elliott.