Grade this mock draft.
1st Round-Pick 24, Trevor Penning, OT
Trevor Penning would be a steal if he’s available at number 24. While technically speaking, Penning is a college tackle and projects to be the same in the NFL, his upside would be too much to pass up in the first round. You could have him slide into the interior as he possesses an impressive frame, standing at six-foot-seven and weighing in at 330 pounds.
With that size comes noteworthy length and long arms, which he uses to pulverize smaller defenders. The man can literally handle defensive linemen with one arm. One reason he would excel as either a tackle or guard is his ability to burst through to the defense’s second level, clearing running lanes along the way.
Penning’s raw strength and power should be enough to warrant attention from Jones if he’s there when the Cowboys make their pick in the first round.
Todd McShay Mock Draft has Cowboys benefitting from surprise player’s fall - Lauren Barash, The Landry Hat
Davis Ojabo is fuuuuuun.
On Wednesday, ESPN’s Todd McShay revealed his post-Super Bowl mock draft predictions (subscription required) for the entire first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. While every media outlet releases several mock drafts, McShay is seen as a trusted source for these predictions, so his thoughts are definitely worth a deeper look. For the Dallas Cowboys‘ 24th overall pick, McShay had quite a surprising name listed.
The ESPN writer thinks popular Michigan DE David Ojabo will fall all the way to the No. 24 spot. For many weeks, Ojabo has been considered a top 15 prospect, which makes us wonder if McShay has inside information that others don’t know. While some Dallas fans were worried that the team would get screwed over with such a late first-round pick, if the Cowboys are able to get Ojabo, you can consider that a serious victory. McShay himself even had the DE listed at 10th overall in December.
Ojabo is one of many impressive prospects coming out of Michigan. His 11 sacks as a junior ranked him second in the Big Ten and 11th nationally. Ojabo also had 25 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and five forced fumbles. He was one of eight Wolverines to earn an invite to the 2022 NFL Combine. If he proves himself there, the Cowboys may lose their chance at getting Ojabo at No. 24.
This young defender has incredible potential and under the coaching of Dan Quinn could really shine in the Dallas defense. McShay gives his reasoning on why the Cowboys will get/should select the Michigan product in the tweet below.
Kenyon Green >>>.
One of the strengths for the Cowboys over the past decade, which has been due in large part to a wise decision to invest premium draft picks in the unit. Tyron Smith and Zack Martin have become perennial Pro Bowlers after being first-round selections, a trend that Dallas hopes will continue with Kenyon Green.
A 6-foot-4, 325 lb lineman for Texas A&M, Green has started for the past three years primarily at offensive tackle. Green’s skill-set makes him a better fit at guard, which Dallas can use since starting guard Connor Williams is set to test the free-agent market.
The ideal situation here would be for Green to step in and start right away, but even if he is a rotational player as a rookie it would give Dallas time to groom him as a future starter.
Anthony Brown played relatively well in 2021. Will he be back in 2022?
The Good: Brown seems destined to have detractors no matter what he does, but the simple fact of the matter is that 2021 was the best season of his career. He held off two draft picks to secure the starting corner spot opposite Trevon Diggs, and he played 91% of the Cowboys’ snaps – the most of any defender on the team.
He earned a solid, though not spectacular, coverage grade of 66 from ProFootballFocus, and he set career highs for tackles (71), pass breakups (17) and interceptions (3).
The Bad: In an otherwise solid season, Brown had a forgettable Thanksgiving that will be remembered for quite some time.
In a game that featured a whopping 28 total penalties, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr figured out quickly that he could pick on Brown for pass interference – and he did so repeatedly. Brown was flagged for pass interference four times for 91 yards – including a 33-yard penalty that setup Las Vegas’ game-winning field goal in overtime.
Ironically, those four flags were the only times Brown was called for defensive pass interference all season. But it’s fair to say those four flags played a pivotal part in a loss that dropped the Cowboys to a 7-4 record.
Randy Gregory needs to be back in 2022.
Randy Gregory is one of if not the most important free agents the Cowboys have to decide on this offseason. They’ll need to do some finagling to get under the salary cap but that won’t be a problem with the number of contracts they can restructure.
Pro Football Focus listed the most improved player on each roster on Thursday and safety Jayron Kearse made the list for the Cowboys. Now, they’re looking at the most underrated player at each position that’s entering free agency, and Gregory was selected at the edge rusher spot.
Anthony Treash on Gregory:
“Gregory has had a rocky NFL career with multiple suspensions, but he was a featured piece on the Cowboys’ defense this past season. He ranked 12th among qualifying edge defenders in pass-rush grade (84.7) and tied for sixth in pressure rate (15.5%). Teams may be cautious to sign Gregory given his history, an offseason knee surgery and role, but there is no denying his special tools. Between his lateral quickness, explosiveness and improved plan, Gregory showed he can generate value as a rotational pass-rusher.”
Gregory’s history, as Treash mentioned, hasn’t been the smoothest. However, the biggest and only issue he had that kept him off the field was marijuana and the NFL doesn’t test for that anymore so he’s good there, especially since he’s gotten his life off the field together.
How the talent distribution of this year’s draft class could impact the Cowboys offseason decisions - Dan Rogers, Blogging the Boys
This offseason will be big in determining the Cowboys success in 2022.
The Cowboys will find themselves a new edge rusher
Both Randy Gregory and Dorance Armstrong are entering free agency. Should they sign elsewhere, that leaves DeMarcus Lawrence, Tarell Basham, Chauncey Golston, and the occasional services of Micah Parsons rushing the passer. Losing Gregory and Armstrong, who both played some of their best football last season, will hurt the team’s edge-rushing depth, but just how urgent of a need would that make the defensive end position?
This draft class is loaded with quality edge rushers and it shouldn’t surprise if there was an enticing option available in each of the first four rounds. For Dallas, it could come down to which player is just too good to pass up at each respective round, but with as deep as this new crop is, it would be shocking to see the Cowboys not come away with a new rookie edge rusher in this draft.
Knives Out? ‘I’m the Leader,’ Says Cowboys Coach Mike McCarthy; Dak Prescott Responds - Mike Fisher, Cowboy Maven
Dak Prescott on Mike McCarthy.
FRISCO - “I’m the leader of this football team,’’ Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said.
Agreed quarterback Dak Prescott: “We’re all following McCarthy.’’
The “unusual narratives’’ issue isn’t going away any time soon, and under the ownership Jerry Jones, may never go away. But those who wonder how this team will mesh with Jones having publicly endorsed not only McCarthy as a head coach, but also defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as a head coach - to put it bluntly, whether that will cause conflict and splintering inside The Star - don’t understand the makeup of those involved.
Start with Prescott, who in a recent visit on “The Rich Eisen Show’’ was asked about the potential of the “knives being out’’ - backstabbing, in other words.
“I’m gonna make sure that that we’re not, as you said, ‘The knives aren’t out’ between our head coach and our D.C.,” Prescott said. “That’s so false, so false.”
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