The Dallas Cowboys now have as many Joneses on the practice squad as they do the front office.
The team on Tuesday announced the signing of rookie offensive lineman Tyler Jones. This, a day before the Cowboys would add ex-Steelers wide receiver Tevin Jones to the 10-man, at-capacity taxi squad.
Undrafted out of North Carolina State, Jones inked a UDFA deal with the New York Jets, who waived him on Aug. 20. He joined the Denver Broncos for two preseason games, appearing in one, but was released at final cuts on Sept. 2.
Jones, who can play all over the line, began his Wolfpack career at right tackle and left guard, starting six games as a redshirt sophomore in 2015. He ended at left tackle — 39 starts later.
At the 2019 Scouting Combine, Jones (6-3, 306) logged 23 bench press reps and a 31.5-inch vertical jump. He has 33 3/4-inch arms and 9 3/4-inch hands.
NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein pegged Jones as a sixth-round talent.
Jones put together solid tape in his 2018 matchup against Clemson, showing off his zone-blocking talent and ability to match foot quickness with edge rushers in pass protection, but overall, his tape was a little uneven for the season. Jones has the athletic ability to transition inside as a zone guard, but he needs to add mass and improve his core strength in order to find playing time on the next level.
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Fit With Cowboys
Jones is only the second offensive lineman on Dallas’ practice team, joining center Marcus Henry. Earlier this month, the club elevated rookie OT Mitch Hyatt to the active roster, taking wide receiver Cedrick Wilson’s (IR, ACL) place.
Despite Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith and starting right tackle La’el Collins battling injuries this season, the Cowboys will have no use for Jones except in the most desperate of cases.
More likely, Jones will close out the 2019 campaign where he is while the Cowboys evaluate their future prospects. It’s possible he signs a reserve/futures deal at season’s end.
Tyron Smith — Bum Eye and All — Limited in Practice
On Wednesday, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett revealed Smith was unable to open his right eye due to a non-football-related issue. He did not practice that day, ceding first-string reps to primary backup OT Cameron Fleming.
Smith’s eye improved slightly Thursday; the perennial all-star regained some vision and logged a limited session, donning a visor on his helmet. He may be limited again Friday but doesn’t appear in danger of missing Sunday’s NFC East Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Dallas can use as many hands on deck as they can get to counter the Eagles’ defense, which ranks third in run defense (90.4 yards per game) and ninth in total yards allowed (328.5 YPG). As a team, they’ve combined for 44 sacks, tying them for eighth-most in the league.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL