Cowboys NFL Draft 2022: What Dallas Did and Didn’t Do to Las Vegas, Evaluating Their Overall Effort

What happens in Vegas stays there, unless they are the selections of the NFL 2022 Draft, in which case it’s all very public and you will be judged accordingly for years to come. As such, the Dallas Cowboys have gone from finalizing months of pre-draft work to preparing for a beginner minicamp that will host nine draft picks and a current tally of 19 non-drafted free agents, including one they successfully stole from Washington Commanders – hoping to make it through an embarrassing post-season and then controversial offseason / free agency release.

They came out of Las Vegas as winners, desperately in need of it after having wildly disappointed free agency in 2022? At first glance, it would appear that way, but not without rolling the dice on multiple potential customers as they played heavily on the risk-reward model on a pendulum that could swing wildly in either direction. How now they really get to work digging into their off-season schedule With their new additions showing up at team headquarters in Frisco, Texas, let’s take a look at what they did and what they didn’t do well in this year’s draft.

Best regards: Tap here for a full scouting report on every single Cowboys 2022 selection.

Offense

Once the emotions settled for many who wanted a title name that was still available when the Cowboys decided to select offensive lineman Tyler Smith, it wasn’t hard to see why they chose. They’ll shift him to left guard to start his NFL career and he’ll have a chance to return to tackle later as a potential successor to Tyron Smith, but don’t be surprised if he’s kept the latter at bay due to Matt Waletzko – an athletic build. of a human being – who was acquired with fantastic value in the fifth round and who will immediately get to work tackling for the Cowboys. In all, the addition of coveted unselected talents such as Alec Lindstrom and James Empey could see Dallas have successfully rebuilt the most important part of their roster in a single project: the offensive line ahead of Dak Prescott.

The next order of business on this side of the ball was to add explosiveness to a wide receiver room now absent four times the wideout Pro Bowler Amari Cooper and extraordinary receiver Cedrick Wilson, and you can bet that round three pick Jalen Tolbert will immediately take over the role vacated by the latter and electrify him. Grabbing two more notable free agency receivers helps fill that room / need / depth, and even the dire need on the edge wasn’t ignored, with the outstanding Jake Ferguson getting the nod as round four pick and Peyton Hendershot get a chance in the UDFA to compete with Sean McKeon and the likely expendable Jeremy Sprinkle.

Heck, the Cowboys surprisingly didn’t play even ignoring the running back stance, evaluating that the right way is needed in the wait until free agency is chosen to add two players who can push JaQuan Hardy and potentially provide insurance. against the possible loss of Tony Pollard in 2023 for free agency.

The only real blow to the Cowboys’ offensive loot from Las Vegas is that Smith is a high-ceilinged talent, yes, but he’s also raw and needs development to quickly reach his potential. And, to be honest, that’s it, as the Cowboys actually nailed their offensive picks and post-draft holds.

Defence

Keeping their tone of feeling spicy at the blackjack table, the Cowboys have moved to the defensive side of the equation and rolled the dice on Sam Williams who, while more developed than Smith, also needs some development to compete / overtake Dorance Armstrong as Randy Gregory’s likely successor alongside All-Pro pass runner DeMarcus Lawrence. Williams was an absolute bully for Ole Miss, but he also entered the draft with a red flag resulting from a sexual battery charge (then dropped) which led to a suspension in 2020. He would go back to becoming one of the best pass rusher in the whole. country, and the Cowboys are comfortable in their belief that Williams will have no problems off the pitch as a pro. If so, the slide draft of him will make him a steal.

But, at his request, call him “De Williams”, short for his middle name, Degarrick.

Suitable, considering its location in Dallas: DE.

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After letting offensive coordinator Kellen Moore fill up in the third, fourth and early fifth rounds, they handed the reins to defensive coordinator Dan Quinn for the remainder of the draft, bringing great value to a player like cornerback DaRon Bland but fantastic value on the Damone Clark linebacker. Currently recovering from spinal fusion surgery, the only reason he fell into the draft, the Cowboys are betting on the same world-class team of athletic and medical trainers who led Jaylon Smith’s recovery, and they have already declared their belief that Clark could get back on the pitch in 2022. Clark plays like a hungry tiger in a cage, and if he gets back in shape he’ll be the theft of the draft, just like his former LSU compatriot Jabril Cox has a chance to be.

John Ridgeway brings a high ceiling to the nose tackle position as a choice at the end of round five, and while linebacker Devin Harper is not designed to be an impact player [just yet?] defensively, he could very well be a special teams ace for John “Bones” Fassel competing with a revamped Luke Gifford. Things got really hot for Quinn in the non-drafted free agency, however, a booty led by safety Markquese Bell, linebacker Aaron Hansford and quick-witted cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart, who ran a 4.42-second 40-yard run. to the combine. The reality is that the odds of any single pick making the roster are slim, but if it’s because of the Cowboys’ UDFA big haul beating one or two, you can still count it as a win for Dallas.

The only demerit I would assign them in defense is that they are now placing high hopes on Bland (who could be safely tried) and Taylor-Stuart to be insurance against any consequences that could fall on Kelvin Joseph resulting from the ongoing murder investigation remains a part of him, and that’s a lot to ask of a final round pick and a UDFA (making Anthony Brown more valuable than he really would be).

Special teams

This is the one area where the Cowboys didn’t massively regress before the draft, successfully re-signing both long snapper Jake McQuaide and All-Pro bettor Bryan Anger, while in the end they were wise enough to move from kicker Greg Zuerlein (which were saved by the new signature from an offer made to him by the New York Jets). This meant that two of their three positions on the top special teams were safe, but even with the signing of local talent Chris Naggar, they still needed to fix the position of the kicker, both in draft and in free agency.

The board fell favorably for them as there were many big name kickers still available in non-drafted free agency, and the Cowboys landed one.

With former Longhorns boot Cameron Dicker signing with the Los Angeles Rams, the Cowboys successfully switched to former Texas Tech leg Jonathan Garibay, who was very accurate for the Red Raiders in 2021. Garibay made 49 of the his 50 points after attempts last season (98%) and 15 of his 16 field goal attempts (93.8%) en route to Dallas, where he will give Naggar a run for his money and, in all likelihood, will hire ownership of the location in 2022.

From the standpoint of special teams, including possible goalscorers earned at the end of the draft and in the UDFA, there is nothing that can really be said that the Cowboys could have done better this offseason as the calendar turns to May. It’s the one aspect they have, for once, excelled at tackling / maintaining / improving for next season and beyond.

Initial overall grade: B +

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