This has been, on the surface, a frustrating offseason for a lot of Dallas Cowboys fans. Given how much success Dallas had in 2022 many people were hopeful that the team would show a bit more urgency in free agency and would choose to bring in reinforcements to help get over the proverbial hump. Urgency seemed to make more sense when the Cowboys traded away Amari Cooper and released La’el Collins (while losing a few other players through natural free agency) considering that replacing top contributors is never an easy thing.
We discussed this idea in greater detail on the latest episode of The 75O on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. Make sure to subscribe to our network so you don’t miss any of our shows! Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.
The Cowboys are not a team that tends to dabble too much in free agency, instead choosing to focus on building through the draft. The 2022 NFL Draft is about two weeks away and it is going to be an essential time period for this team to fill the holes they have at places like guard, wide receiver, and edge rusher.
Questions about the viability of the plan remain. Here are three of ours as we sit in mid-April.
What happens if the Cowboys do not land a starting guard in the draft?
At present time it seems like Dallas should have a chance to walk away from night one of the draft with either Texas A&M’s Kenyon Green or Boston College’s Zion Johnson; however, things do not always turn out the way that they seem.
You will recall that a year ago it ‘seemed’ like the Cowboys would easily be able to draft one of the top two cornerbacks in Jaycee Horn or Patrick Surtain until they went with the two selections right before Dallas went on the clock. Thankfully the Cowboys were quick on their feet, traded back to pick up more capital, and ‘settled’ for Micah Parsons. Sometimes you are better lucky than good, as they say.
The situation is hardly the same this year. Dallas was picking 10th last year and sitting at 24 now. Should the Cowboys miss out on a guard because they are gone or they decide to go somewhere else with the pick, the odds of them drafting a starter at the position dramatically shrink. What would they do then?
As it stands Connor McGovern is the team’s starting left guard but he was hardly inspiring last year. The offensive line is the only place where Dallas has lost players in free agency that they have yet to replenish so it sort of seems (there’s that word again) like they are banking on this happening.
Could a trade for a veteran actually happen?
The Cowboys traded away Amari Cooper this offseason and the Cowboys have a need at wide receiver this offseason. These things can both be true.
Dallas was not interested in keeping Cooper around at the price tag that he carries and decided to move on. With a need at wide receiver as a result, it makes some sense for the Cowboys to go there with their first-round pick. This would effectively be a third first-round pick spent on a wide receiver in a four-year span (Amari Cooper with 2019’s and CeeDee Lamb with 2020’s... not to mention the fact that both Cooper and Michael Gallup have gotten second contracts with the team in that span) so it would be quite the price to pay for important members of the offense. Such is life.
BTB’s Connor Livesay threw out an interesting hypothetical during our latest mock draft on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel (you can watch right above and subscribe to our channel right here) and wondered whether Dallas would make a trade for a veteran wideout during the draft itself.
The last time the team shook up the receiver room this much was the infamous ‘wide receiver by committee’ offseason of 2018, and it was actually during that year’s draft that the Cowboys were wheeling and dealing quite a bit during the draft.
It was Tavon Austin who the Cowboys traded for during the 2018 NFL Draft as they sent a sixth-round pick to the Los Angeles Rams in order to acquire him (although they initially billed the move as trading for a running back, not a receiver). That wasn’t all that Dallas did during the draft as they traded away Ryan Switzer to the then-Oakland Raiders in exchange for defensive lineman Jihad Ward.
New England’s N’Keal Harry is someone who I suggested in the moment and a player who has been thrown out by our own David Howman as a would-be trade target. PFF’s simulator (the one we were using) didn’t like that option for the Patriots, but anything is possible during the draft.
What is the most random position that the Cowboys could spend a draft pick on?
At the end of the draft it is very likely that the Cowboys will have addressed places like the offensive line, wide receiver, linebacker group, and defensive line in some capacity. Those all feel like pretty safe bets.
It wouldn’t be shocking to see the Cowboys draft a defensive back either given that so many bodies are needed there and depth is never a bad thing. Taking a running back even feels well in play given that the organization can get out of Ezekiel Elliott’s contract in 2023 and that Tony Pollard is in a contract year. So what is the most random place that the team could spend a draft pick?
Normally the answer for this would be something along the lines of a specialist and while the Cowboys did bring back punter Bryan Anger they, are at the time of this writing, without a tested kicker. Undrafted free agency tends to be very popular for kickers as draft picks are generally spent elsewhere, but it wouldn’t be incredibly shocking if Dallas took one, right?
All told the most random spot that it feels like the Cowboys could spend a draft pick on might be quarterback. This isn’t to say that they shouldn’t consider the right potential QB2 if the proper things present themselves, but given that Cooper Rush won the only game he started last year it seems like the team might feel like they are set there.