Top pick Tyron Smith is still learning

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cowboys' first-round pick, Tyron Smith from USC, is still spending time after practice working.

During the workouts, he's getting beat up by DeMarcus Ware, holding his own against Anthony Spencer, conferring with Kyle Kosier and getting a drink between periods.

But the real work begins after practice for the right tackle.

Smith spends time getting his footwork set with offensive line coach Hudson Houck and Doug Free, the left tackle who wants to see the rookie succeed. There's Ware telling him about how to place his hands on a speed rusher, because you get a lot of that when you play in the NFC East.

Smith does more talking after practice in the pros than he did at USC. The after-practice work at USC had the entire offensive line getting work.

In the pros, it's about Smith getting better.

More than any other position group, the offensive linemen are working on their own after practice. Footwork, hand placement, leverage, who to pick up and when are some of the issues being worked out. It's mainly the rookies.

"You have to be quick with your hands and try not to lean forward and keep your head out of it," Smith said of some of his post-practice work. "If guys go inside, use more of a power set and basically keep moving your feet and having quick hands and keep your head out of it. I'm just getting started. A long road ahead."

Smith said he did just OK after his first preseason game last Thursday against the Denver Broncos. He tried to downplay that he didn't allow another first-round pick, A&M's Von Miller, to get a sack. Smith didn't know what his grade was from the offensive coaches, but admitted he was average.

"Yeah, after the first couple of hits its basically shake that little nervousness [off]," Smith said. "And I was little too excited and picked up it up as the game went on."