The Dallas Cowboys are apparently in the trade market before Week 1, and an up-and-coming Jacksonville Jaguars star appears to be their target.
The Cowboys are facing a major setback as star offensive tackle Tyron Smith suffered a major hamstring injury this past week. Smith’s injury concerns have been prevalent for a while now, and Dallas is likely figuring out how to address the left tackle spot for both this season and the future.
According to Jaguar Report reporter John Shipley, the short-term (and long-term) answer could be Walker Little. On August 26, Shipley reported that Dallas has Little high up on their list of solutions.
“One potential solution for the Cowboys at left tackle? #Jaguars tackle Walker Little,” Shipley wrote. “According to sources, he is high on the list for the Cowboys as they look at external options. Doubt the Jaguars would entertain it, but wouldn’t be surprised if the Cowboys call.”
The report comes as a bit of a surprise, as Dallas would likely need to offer a sizable haul for Little. The former Stanford Cardinal star was drafted in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft, and is considered to be a key piece for the Jaguars going forward.
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Little’s Journey to NFL
After a high school career at Episcopal in Bellaire, Texas, Little was considered to be the No. 3 tackle prospect in the country according to 24/7 Sports. But despite offers from perennial powerhouses like Alabama, Little headed to Palo Alto, CA to play for Stanford.
He immediately showed he was ready for the step-up, receiving All-Pac-12 honorable mention honors in his freshman season in 2017 and then being first-team All-Pac-12 as a sophomore.
However, Little ran into brutal injury luck heading into his third season, suffering a season-ending knee injury in the 2019 season opener. He then elected to further recover and prepare for the NFL, sitting out the 2020 season.
As NFL.com explains, Little’s draft stock became a somewhat unknown quantity. After being considered a lock for the first-round in his sophomore seasons, playing one game over two years muddied the waters. But when the Jaguars had the opportunity to draft Little in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft, they pounced.
As a rookie, Little slowly worked his way into the team behind starting tackle Jawaan Taylor. PFR states that he started three games and appeared in a total of nine games.
This offseason, Little has battle Taylor for the starting gig. It’s not clear who Jacksonville will roll with, as Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said on August 27 that he is not ready to announce as the starting left tackle.
Cowboys Looking Internally
While Shipley’s report says the Cowboys are considering moves for players not on the roster, Dallas owner Jerry Jones recently backed rookie offensive lineman Tyler Smith while on ESPN.
Smith joined the Cowboys as the 24th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft but has primarily seen offseason work at guard, as Heavy has previously covered. The former Tulsa star played primarily at tackle in college, and he could be seeing snaps there soon.
“It’s a big disappointment, none moreso than for Tyron himself,” Jones said of Tyron Smith’s injury. “But our game really is that and hello Tyler Smith. He’ll be an important part of this puzzle, our No. 1 draft pick.”
Smith is talented, but reverting course on his offseason work will be a tough ask of a rookie.