The Dallas Cowboys made it through the 2022 NFL NFL draft without making any big waves. Two weeks before the draft, Jerry Jones went on the record stating he’d be willing to move up in this draft which left fans in Big D on pins and needles. Dallas didn’t make any move to jump up and played it safe in the first round but may have missed out on drafting a future star.
With the 24th overall pick, Dallas selected Tyler Smith, a tackle from Tulsa. This feels like a pick for the future while adding immediate depth. But the Cowboys were in a prime position to take a defensive end that could come in and replace Randy Gregory immediately.
Jermaine Johnson II of Florida State was on the board and right there for Jones to draft. Johnson went two picks later to the Jets at No. 26. This was viewed by draft experts as a good value pick since some mock drafts had Johnson going in the top 10. So, the Jets came across an absolute steal that was right there for the Cowboys. In fact, the Jets held Johnson in such high regard that they almost drafted him with the 10th overall pick.
Thus far, the Cowboys are receiving a lot of C grades or lower for their draft selections. Of course, we won’t know how good or bad this class really is for a couple of years. Dallas addressed a lot of needs in this draft. The order in which it was done can be questioned, but they did fill spots that needed filling.
Dallas did draft an edge rusher in the second round taking Sam Williams of Ole Miss with the 56th overall pick. While at Ole Miss, Williams had some off-field issues that included a sexual battery charge that got him suspended from the program. That charge was eventually dropped. With Gregory now in Denver, Williams will be expected to step into the Cowboys’ pass rush rotation alongside DeMarcus Lawrence, Dante Fowler Jr., and Dorance Armstrong Jr.. Williams had 12.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss in 13 games last season at Ole Miss.
Aside from the offensive line, Dallas also addressed other needs on offense, like tight end and wide receiver. After cutting Blake Jarwin earlier this offseason, the Cowboys drafted Jake Ferguson of Wisconsin in the fourth round. Ferguson caught 145 balls and 13 TDs during his career for Wisconsin. Dallas’ starting TE Dalton Schultz was also a fourth-round pick in 2018. The Cowboys seem to have a thing for taking TEs in the middle of the draft.
Jason Witten was a third-round selection for the Boys back in 2003. Witten went on to have a Hall of Fame career, proving there is something to be said for listening to and trusting the scouting department. I’m talking to you, Mr. Jones.
Dallas also added to their depth at receiver, taking Jalen Tolbert out of South Alabama in the third round. We’re going to find out quickly how good Tolbert might be. Amari Cooper is gone, and so is Cedric Wilson. And Michael Gallup probably won’t be ready to start the season. So, depending on how Tolbert looks in training camp and the preseason, we could see the rookie play a significant role early in 2022.
Tolbert could be a sneaky good pick for Dallas, as he could have gone earlier in the third round or possibly late in the second. So, to get him where the Cowboys did, they were fortunate. And because the team is thin at receiver, Cowboys fans should get a good taste of what to expect from Tolbert sooner rather than later.
Overall, this feels like an average draft for Dallas based on what we know right now. None of their picks really wow you at this point. Even their No. 1 pick Smith, is seen as a bit of a reach by some. One storyline to keep an eye on is the Dallas radio host that said he’d retire if the Cowboys selected Smith with the 24th pick in round one.
Bob Sturm of 96.7 The Ticket in Dallas made this proclamation in jest before the draft, then had a good laugh about it with Smith on-air following the draft. Maybe this becomes a situation where Smith uses that as motivation to come in and claim a starting spot in his rookie season. Otherwise, it’s tough to give this draft anything better than a C grade at this moment. This draft was OK for Dallas but could’ve been better.