Tyron Smith vs. Robert Quinn a top matchup

IRVING, Texas -- Tyron Smith was the ninth pick in the first round of the 2011 draft by the Dallas Cowboys. Robert Quinn was the 14th pick of the first round that year by the St. Louis Rams.

They played in their first Pro Bowl last season. In August Smith signed a 10-year deal worth $109 million with $40 million guaranteed. Last week, the Rams signed Quinn to a six-year, $66 million deal that included $41 million in guarantees.

For all of the matchups discussed this week across the NFL, for the football purists, Smith vs. Quinn might be the best of Week 3.

“[Quinn] is just a great player, for a lot of different reasons,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s quick. He’s fast. He’s explosive. He can bend, accelerate to the quarterback. He’s just a disruptive guy, disruptive every week and every game and certainly a guy that opposing offenses will give a lot of attention to. Tyron has played against him before. He understands what the challenge is over there. The other part about him is that he plays with a great motor. He’s not one of these guys who (says) ‘Hey, I have a lot of ability and can go get the quarterback when I want to.’ He comes every snap. He challenges you both as a pass-rush guy and a run defender. Tyron and everyone else is going to be responsible for blocking him -- they understand how good a player he is and have a healthy respect for him.”

Rams coach Jeff Fisher was as effusive in his praise of Smith.

“Tyron’s playing really well,” Fisher said. “He has two solid games against good rushers. He’s very, very strong. He’s got good feet. He’s got hands. He does a nice job with his hands. So I think it’ll be a great matchup. As we’ve played many games with Rob, you get the sense that people are not going to hold the football, the seven-step drops don’t take place. It’s a quick game. It’s play-action protection, those kind of thinks, chip with a back. You know we’ll just wait and see. I think it’ll be a great matchup. They’re two outstanding players.”

When these teams met last year, Smith matched up against Quinn on 20 pass plays. He received help on one, a chip from DeMarco Murray. Quinn did not have a sack or a pressure. He did have a tackle for loss and a forced fumble in the run game.

“Just knowing that what type of player he is, it’s not going to be easy,” Smith said.

Quinn, who was second in the NFL last season with 19 sacks, is looking for his first sack this season.

“He’s a young, athletic tackle,” Quinn said. “I happen to be the same draft class. It’s definitely going to be a nice little athleticism matchup.”