The Dallas Cowboys are looking to have another solid draft class in 2022, expect them to start off with a top-tier offensive lineman in the first round.
Following Dallas’ 2021 campaign where they won the NFC East via their 12-5 record, the Cowboys are back in draft mode. This is a team that had high expectations coming into the year yet, their playoff demons got to them once again in a Wild Card Round loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
The Cowboys are a very talented club but there are several questions as they head into the offseason. Numerous starters are free agents such as Randy Gregory, Dalton Schultz, Michael Gallup, Connor Williams, Leighton Vander Esch, and Jayron Kearse.
Experts are anticipating the majority of the 21 Cowboys free agents-to-be will elect to leave because of Dallas’ money situation. They’re currently $21.4 million over the salary cap according to Over The Cap.com. Further conversations regarding depth at certain positions like offensive tackle and the secondary are to be had and the focus of this draft will be building on the solid 2021 class.
Micah Parsons was clearly the face of last year’s class. The Cowboys landed him at 12th overall and immediately showed superstardom flashes. Named the 2021 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year unanimously, the Joneses secured the best defensive talent in the draft.
Last year after the team had their worst statistical season in terms of team defense in 2020, they emphasized improving that side of the ball. The five picks following Parsons were also defensive players, including – cornerback Kelvin Joseph, defensive lineman Osa Odighizuwa, defensive end Chauncey Golston, cornerback Nashon Wright, and linebacker Jabril Cox. Their impact was felt from the start of the season as they helped Dan Quinn’s defense find new life.
This time around, team needs are more spread out than they were after the 2020 season was completed.
Where are the Dallas Cowboys picking in the 2022 NFL Draft?
Dallas has a total of seven picks as it presently stands: 24th overall in round one, 56th overall in round two, 88th overall in round three, 127th overall in round four, 166th and 175th in round five, and 201st in round six. The compensatory picks for the defending NFC East champions are yet to be announced.
In terms of addressing certain holes in the starting lineup in the early rounds, expect Dallas to focus on the interior offensive line, edge rushers, and safeties.
Someone I would consider in the first round is Texas A&M junior guard Kenyon Green.
At 6-foot-4, 325 pounds, Green comes off as a top prospect for Dallas with the 24th selection in the first round. Picking Green here would keep him in the same state where he became a five-star recruit.
Dallas would consider his versatility and overall skill set to be greatly beneficial as he can be plugged in at both guard spots or spend time on the exterior at right tackle. These are areas where more talent and depth are needed. And with Connor Williams potentially leaving this unit, Green would immediately become a new anchor on the left of Tyler Biadasz.
All-Pro Zack Martin and Green on opposite sides of Biadasz is intriguing for their interior line. In 2021, Dak Prescott was sacked 30 times, with evidence of his protection up front being scarce when it mattered most (see the five sacks allowed in the Wild Card).
The Cowboys running game also stalled during the second half of the season after beginning 2021 as the best team in rushing – a big portion of the blame goes to the line failing to create enough space for Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, specifically on interior rushing attempts.
Green is capable of being a force on the inside for the passing game by eliminating bull rush opportunities and continuously winning the physical battle against defenders. Then once the offense elects to run the ball, the All-SEC first-teamer be a revelation when it comes to his maneuverability laterally through impressive movement and quick feet for his size.
As they enter days two and three, they’ll attempt to fill potential losses in free agency and solidify the team’s depth in certain areas. Tight end, nose tackle, cornerback, nose tackle, and offensive tackle are secondary needs to be addressed with the roster likely looking very different post-free agency. The hope is finding a potential starter or two within the later rounds.
The Cowboys have done a good job over the years during the draft to the point where it’s common knowledge that Dallas is annually expected to complete the draft process with a solid class. The last two years have been really strong when looking at the first round. In 2020, they secured a future star receiver in CeeDee Lamb and followed that up with Micah Parsons who will lead Dallas’ defense for the next decade-plus.