Age and health a reason to draft Smith

IRVING -- If there was a major concern for the Cowboys regarding the offensive line, it was age and health.

Left tackle Doug Free, at 27, is the only starter under 30.

The selection of 20-year-old Tyron Smith with the ninth overall pick gives them an infusion of youth at either right or left tackle.

"The guy is going to be a great run blocker and a great pass protector," offensive line coach Hudson Houck said. "As everybody has stated before, we’re getting a little older in the offensive line and this guy gives us some opportunity and he’s a very young guy. It gives us an opportunity to be a better run team and a better pass protection team, and we’re excited about the guy."

Cowboys right tackle Marc Colombo and left guard Kyle Kosier missed the season opener due to leg injuries, and center Andre Gurode was hobbled at times because of his knees.