Dallas Cowboys Tackle Tyron Smith Is Still a Work in Progress This NFL Preseason

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IAugust 12, 2011

USC rookie Tyron Smith played well in his first NFL game but still has some improving to do.
USC rookie Tyron Smith played well in his first NFL game but still has some improving to do.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys (1-0) defeated the Denver Broncos (0-1) at Cowboys Stadium Thursday night in what was the two teams' first preseason game of 2011.

Dallas won 24-23 on a touchdown pass and successful two-point conversion from third-string quarterback Stephen McGee with 15 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

Cowboys first round pick offensive tackle Tyron Smith played well for Dallas, playing a majority of the first half snaps at right tackle.

According to Randy Galloway at The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Smith has shown improvement since being selected No. 9 overall in last April's draft.

The 6'5", 307-pound former USC Trojan is just 20 years old, and still must improve leaps and bounds if he's going to protect Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo for an entire 16-game season and beyond.

Smith has the size and strength to make it in the league without question, and according to ESPN's Calvin Watkins, he only made one notable mistake Thursday night, "he missed a blitz pickup that led to a Stephen McGee sack in the second quarter."

Head coach Jason Garrett also told reporters that he was excited that Smith, along with fellow starting rookie offensive lineman David Arkin, played "with a little confidence" in his first NFL game.

Galloway gave Smith a "B" for the game and wrote the following after watching Smith against the Broncos:

"There might have been a flaw or two, but for a kid who was given crash course lessons after practice almost daily in San Antonio, Smith learned quickly."

Smith will have another chance to prove he is a bona fide starter on Dallas' offensive line on August 21, when the Cowboys host the San Diego Chargers in Week 2 of the 2011 preseason.

Patrick Clarke is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow on Twitter @_Pat_Clarke