The Dallas Cowboys always come in with high hopes, then fizzle out. Can they match what they did in the 2021 draft, for this year’s draft?
The Dallas Cowboys were once thought to have a stranglehold on the first spot in the NFC East, but that is no longer the case. The Eagles are trying to fly their way back to the playoffs, and the Commanders had a down year last year and now have a new quarterback.
They will need to make sure this draft fills holes and creates several starters or backups who can step up and not miss a beat. Here’s what I have them doing in the 2022 NFL Draft:
1st round 24th overall- Tyler Linderbaum, C Iowa
Linderbaum would be a great center but could be even better at guard, which is a significant need for them right now. They spent enough money on their quarterback and running backs; not filling up that offensive line with the best talent they can get doesn’t make sense. Linderbaum, in a couple of years, could be the best interior offensive lineman in this class and even the next several.
His 31inch arms may cause an issue at the next level, with him being a little shorter. But this is a mauling offensive lineman who plays with some edge to his game.
2nd round 56th overall- Cameron Thomas, EDGE San Diego State
The Cowboys need more edge rushers, and at his height and weight can play either DE or OLB. He offers some versatility; he played pretty well at SDSU. They should have no issue eating up the weaker OL that the NFC East currently is starting.
If he had tested everything at the combine, he could be in talks for a 28-35 area for his draft spot. He will also cause issues at the line of scrimmage when he stands up if it’s a short step drop.
3rd round 88th overall- Phidarian Mathis, IDL Alabama
This kid is a problem; he could be just as good as the IDL we saw coming off Georgia’s board in the first round. He has excellent size and massive arms. Thinking of a new defensive line, even rotation with him, Thomas, they are perfect for this defense. They have their linebackers set; now, they have finished shoring up the defensive line on top of their talent. Mathis could be a steal in this draft if he falls this late.
4th round 129th overall- Justyn Ross, WR Clemson
Justyn Ross only has one issue, injuries. There have been a few and one major one, which almost ended his career. But his mix of size and speed, plus his talent, make him a tremendous mid-round pick. If he cant stay healthy, it’s ok; if he can stay healthy, we are looking at a player who could quickly push for the WR2 slot in 2023.
Ross was once talked about as the best WR in college and this draft, but the injuries ruined his stock and chance to be a first-round pick. He is similar to George Pickens from UGA, but Ross has had more severe injuries.
5th round 155th overall- Akayleb Evans, CB Washington State
If this was back in the days of the legion of boom, this is a prototype corner for that system. It also just so happens Dan Quinn, who is the defensive cord for the Cowboys, was there and built it. This is a perfect corner for this defense and what Quinn wants a corner to be; he’s super physical and has some speed, and his long arms will create just about anything he needs to do in jump ball spots and short, shallow routes when he jumps them.
5th round 167th overall- Amare Barno, EDGE Virginia Tech
This kid is a freak with his testing scores. His size and speed made him look like a wide receiver at the combine. However, he is not; he is an edge rusher. He is late in this draft due to his tiny frame for his size at 6-foot-6 and a meager 245lbs. Barno will be a project, he’s a bit tall and lanky for a linebacker, and he’s a little light for a defensive end.
The Cowboys will have a freak athlete and will have to pick which spot fits best for him in their system. I would expect them to get around 265lbs when the season starts and rotate him in on 3rd down pass-rush situations and maybe play him on some outside linebacker if injuries occur.
5th round 176th overall- Tariq Carpenter, S Georgia Tech
While he did not go to the combine, he is 6-foot-2 and 188lbs. This is another tall and lanky defensive back that fits that system. They will be able to use him in multiple ways, but I don’t expect him to stay at safety. I think he ends up coming down and being a hybrid nickel corner, dime linebacker, and third safety.
Not sure how long he will stick around on a defense that’s slowly getting loaded, but if he can find himself in the 205 range and keep his ability, he could carve out a promising career for a 5th-round pick.
5th round 178th overall- Nick Muse, TE South Carolina
While he did not participate in the combine, he is still worth a late-round shot at tight end. He is 6-foot-5 and 250lbs; that’s a pretty good size tight end. He doesn’t have any elite talents, but tight end is another position the Cowboys seem always to have hurt, and if they can get him to get cleaner as a pass-catcher, he could be a situational slot pass catcher.
6th round 193 overall- Bailey Zappe, QB Western Kentucky
Zappe is a great athlete at quarterback; he would be a suitable replacement should Dak go down again. He played in the lower-level competition, but he did well in college. Zappe is a prospect, but I have him much higher on my board than most. I think Zappe is a 3rd round talent, so finding him here was a steal.
You can never have enough quarterbacks on your roster; there always seem to be injuries. He is also a player that, in three to four years, if Dak is not their guy, they may be able to mold into their guy. I like his arm strength and mobility; he needs some mechanical and mental work.