The Dallas Cowboys are one of the worst teams when it comes to hiding their intentions; they forecast many of their moves ahead of time. Look no further than the Amari Cooper and La’el Collins situations this offseason as proof.
This also applies to the draft, where the Cowboys aren’t shy of telegraphing which positions they have the most interest in leading up to their selection. With the 24th pick in the first round of the 2022 draft, Dallas has likely already zeroed in on who they would prefer to draft. As noted in the Cowboys’ 2022 Draft Commandments, Dallas’ work in free agency and their utilization of their 30 pre-draft visits is usually a telltale sign of the players, and positions, they covet.
The odds are very strong the Cowboys will pick one of those 30 players with the 24th overall pick in the first round. Who that will be remains a mystery right now, but here are the four places where Dallas is expected to use their selection based on their offseason and pre-draft visitors.
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It’s no secret the Cowboys are in need of a rebuild on the offensive line. Left guard Connor Williams left as a free agent, fellow Connor (McGovern) wasn’t the answer when he was inserted into the starting lineup last year and the right tackle needs an upgrade. The incumbent RT at the moment, Terence Steele is a decent player who continues to improve, but the Cowboys can do better.
The offensive line also needs a better swing tackle in the inevitable case of a Tyron Smith injury.
That leave at least two spots on the offensive line that need a boost and the Cowboys are not shy about putting it out there that they need help.
Will the Cowboys select an offensive lineman early in next month’s draft? Team owner Jerry Jones: “Famous last words: We’ll get one unless Lamb or Parsons is there.” pic.twitter.com/BKNZM1NNM0
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) March 28, 2022
Offensive line remains one of the likeliest places where the Cowboys use their first round pick. Some of the top options would be Texas A&M’s Kenyon Green, Boston College’s Zion Johnson or Norther Iowa’s Trevor Penning.
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When the Cowboys traded Cooper, they announced they would be in the market for another top receiver. The team also lost a valuable role player in Cedrick Wilson. Re-signing Michael Gallup was a start, but he’s rehabbing his torn ACL, making his availability for the beginning of the season doubtful.
The team also signed WR James Washington, but he’s much more of a third or fourth option, who adds depth with upside more than assured quality.
This year’s 2022 NFL draft is deep at receiver and the Cowboys could be looking to bring in one of the top receivers to pair with the new No. 1 WR CeeDee Lamb, and Gallup, when healthy.
Although it’s a strong group of prospects, the order of the top receivers coming out is a mystery. The Cowboys might pull the trigger on any of these receivers: Drake London, out of USC, Treylon Burks from Arkansas, Jameson Williams from Alabama or either of the Ohio St. receivers, Chris Olave or Garrett Wilson. It wouldn’t be hard to see the Cowboys drafting any of them if they were available at pick 24.
(AP Photo/Phil Sears)
It feels like the Cowboys are constantly in search of more help along their defensive line. They haven’t sufficiently addressed having a run stuffing defensive tackle in a long time and with the exodus of defensive end Randy Gregory, the defense also needs an edge rusher for the future.
DE DeMarcus Lawrence remains one of the best two-way players in the game, but he needs help on the opposite side. The team signed veteran pass rusher Dante Fowler as a stopgap and re-upped with Dorance Armstrong, but neither are a long-term answer.
The Cowboys need a real solution at both defensive line positions.
At DT, the top options are Georgia’s Jordan Davis, or Devonte Wyatt, as well as Texas A&M’s DeMarvin Leal. If the Cowboys lean towards the DE spot, Purdue’s George Karlaftis, Florida St.’s Jermaine Johnson, Georgia’s Travon Walker, and Minnesota’s Boye Mafe could be options available with the 24th pick.
(AP Photo/Tyler Tate)
Linebacker is one of the thinnest positions on the Cowboys’ roster, it lacks both depth and quality. Star LB Micah Parsons is among the best in the game, but veteran LB Leighton Vander Esch hasn’t regained his All Pro form and second-year LB Jabril Cox, who’s expected to start, will be coming off a torn ACL and doesn’t have much NFL experience.
It helps that defensive coordinator Dan Quinn employs safety Jayron Kearse as a LB on occasion, but real help is needed. With the way Parsons is moved around on the defense and is sometimes used as a DE, the Cowboys don’t have a good enough group at LB to sustain quality play.
The draft can help. Georgia’s Nakobe Dean would make an elite pairing with Parsons, but he’s expected to be gone by the time the Cowboys’ pick comes. Utah’s Devin Lloyd will garner strong consideration and Georgia’s Quay Walker could also be an option since he is one of the 30 visitors for Dallas, but that might be considered a reach at pick 24.