Micah Parsons, CeeDee Lamb Key Cowboys Plan to Trade Up in NFL Draft, Predicts Analyst - Mike Fisher, CowboysSI.com
Trading back for more picks may be the best choice for the Cowboys, but Jerry Jones is always open to trading up for the right star prospect.
Having said all of that, our esteemed buddy from The Athletic, Cowboys insider Jon Machota, is going all-in on Jones and the Cowboys going all-in on a move up. Machota predicts that Dallas will trade up in the first or second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. And while we argue that moving up should not be the preferred way - were fans of owning more darts - Machota makes a point in the way he interprets Jerry’s offseason remarks.
Obviously, the strategy can work; Emmitt Smith, Dez Bryant and DeMarcus Lawrence become Cowboys due to draft-day move-ups. But ... we say, given the inexact science here, more darts mean more chances at success.
“When Jerry Jones talks about wanting to find another Micah Parsons, does that sound like a player who will be added by moving back?” Machota writes. “While the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year was drafted after the Cowboys moved back two spots a year ago, there’s no chance they would’ve moved back from the 10th pick if they’d known Parsons would have the immediate impact he did last season.”
Jones is indeed on-record as wishing he could find a way to find another Parsons or another CeeDee Lamb. Machota works to be specific about the possible targets.
“Moving up from the 24th pick this year,’’ Jon writes, “would likely mean the Cowboys will grab another pressure player up front for their defense, a big-time playmaking wide receiver or a cornerstone offensive lineman to help fix one of their biggest problems from the 2021 season.’’
The ideal top two picks for the Cowboys?
Round 2: No. 56 overall — Nik Bonitto, Edge, Oklahoma
With Dallas allowing Connor Williams to leave via free agency, Green steps directly into the left guard spot — or, potentially, at right tackle, which was also left vacant by the release of La’el Collins, depending upon how the rest of the draft plays out. Signing Dante Fowler helps the team’s pass rush a bit, but the Cowboys must covet Bonitto’s get-off and wanton disregard for ball-carriers. They probably want a receiver in the first two rounds, but the competition will be fierce at that position, so a trade up from this later slot might be required to select one of value.
The Cowboys need help at receiver to help ease the loss of Cooper and Wilson.
John Metchie III, WR, Alabama
After losing both Cooper and Wilson, the Cowboys could use another receiver to partner with CeeDee Lamb, Gallup and Washington.
However, Alabama’s John Metchie III is not the man to target. He’s versatile but isn’t likely to dominate at the next level.
“Metchie is a receiver who can align inside and outside and does a lot of things well. But he lacks any true overwhelming trait,” Nate Tice of the Bleacher Report Scouting Department wrote.
The 21-year-old is also coming off a torn ACL he suffered in the SEC Championship Game. For Dallas, that should be a deal-breaker. Its playoff window is open now, and it needs a receiver who can contribute right away. It seems highly unlikely he will be at 100 percent early in the 2022 season.
Dallas is talented enough to take the long-term approach to certain positions. Taking a flier on injured pass-rusher David Ojabo (Achilles), for example, would make sense because the Cowboys might get a first-round talent on Day 2.
However, Metchie’s upside isn’t high enough to justify the wait for a team looking to win now.
Offensive line and receiver dominate the Cowboys list of pre-draft visitors, but they’ve done their homework on several tight ends as well.
Now Jarwin is gone, being released in March for cap relief after concerns he might not play at all in 2022. Schultz will be back next season on at least the franchise tag if not a new contract. Dallas just re-signed Sprinkle last Thursday, likely to retain the same role as a blocker and special teamer.
Where does this leave Sean McKeon and the TE position? Does the team see him as a strong TE2 candidate, or are at least willing to let him and Sprinkle battle it out?
The answer to that question could significantly impact the Cowboys’ 2022 draft. If they’re happy with Schultz, McKeon, and Sprinkle as their three tight ends then the position may not get addressed until Day 3 at the earliest, or perhaps not even at all.
One of the major swing factors here is whether or not Dallas is pursuing a long-term deal with Schultz. If they’re questioning his future beyond this single franchise tagged season, perhaps the Cowboys will take a TE high as his 2022 backup and 2023 replacement.
Even when safety was a bigger need, the Cowboys have ignored it in the draft, so how will they prioritize it in this cycle?
Feeling A Draft?
With that on the roster, safety could theoretically go untouched in the draft. It’s not a major need. But then again, Wilson has one year left on his contract and both Hooker and Kearse signed two-year deals.
So if the grade fits, taking a safety in the middle of the draft could make sense as well.
The Cowboys have not drafted a safety in the first two rounds since 2002 when they took Roy Williams (eighth overall). Since then, the third round is the highest they’ve taken a safety, and J.J. Wilcox (2013) is the only player taken that high in the last 20 years.
Needless to say, the Cowboys don’t seem to put a high priority on the position, especially early in the draft. This year, they reportedly brought in one safety in their 30 visits, although not a player expected to be drafted in the first couple of rounds.
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