Tyron Smith has made the Cowboys look good so far. The No. 9 overall pick has been called for two false starts, has no holding penalties and has allowed 1.5 sacks, according to STATS, Inc. But if Dallas had traded down on draft day, which they considered, then Colorado offensive lineman Nate Solder would have been their target.
The Patriots made Solder the 17th overall pick. He has started four of five games, with two holding penalites, no false starts and two sacks allowed.
"We liked Nate Solder very much," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "He was one of the three tackles that we considered strongly in the first round. We spent a lot of time with him. We spent some time with him at Valley Ranch, at the combine and other places. We thought he was an outstanding player, certainly a first-round pick. We were not surprised he was drafted in the first round, and we’re not surprised that he’s playing this early into his first year. He’s a very talented guy, a very smart guy. He’s a very good competitor, and I think he clearly is fitting in well out there."
-- Charean Williams