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Cowboys 2022 Draft: A “Little Board” and a pre-draft mock

We construct a “little board” made up entirely of draft prospects the Cowboys have worked out or have brought to Dallas for a visit - and then we create a mock draft based on it.

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It’s a time-honored tradition here on Blogging The Boys, dating all the way back to 2011, to build a draft board populated with players the Cowboys have invited for official pre-draft visits or have otherwise interacted with. By necessity, the result is a “Little Board,” as rabblerousr used to call it, because the board should only contain the 40-50 names the Cowboys had more than a fleeting interest in.

We know that the Cowboys traditionally whittle down the 450 or so draft-eligible players to 130 or so names that populate their final draft board. If we assume that they are legitimately interested in the players they’ve brought in for visits, or players that had a private workout with the Cowboys (and not just random players the Cowboys talked with on the sidelines of a pro day or a bowl game, or one of the 45 interviews allowed at the Combine), we could know about 30-40% of the players on the Cowboys’ board. That’s some good information to work with. In addition, by looking at which positions receive the most invitations, we can get a better idea about which positions the Dallas brain trust is honing in on - not that that’s a big secret this year.

On to this year’s little board: I have whittled down the names of potential prospects to 43, which you will find below. The trickiest part of this exercise is correctly slotting the players, and my guesses may well be quite a bit off from where the team has a given player slotted on its board. A note on the color codes:

POS 1 2 3 4 5 6/7 FA
OFFENSE
OL Charles Cross Cam Jurgens Joshua Ezeudu Dawson Deaton
Bernhard Raimann
Kenyon Green
Zion Johnson
WR Drake London Alec Pierce Erik Ezukanma Charleston Rambo Reggie Roberson
Treylon Burks Danny Gray Dee Anderson
Chris Olave
TE Jeremy Ruckert Jelani Woods Jalen Wydermyer Grant Calcaterra Armani Rogers
Cade Otton
RB Kennedy Brooks Malik Davis
QB Terry Wilson
DEFENSE
DE DeMarvin Leal Myjai Sanders Michael Clemons Isaiah Thomas David Anenih
Sam Williams Luiji Vilain
DT Jordan Davis Perrion Winfrey Damion Daniels
LB Devin Lloyd Quay Walker Kyron Johnson
Devin Harper
James Houston
CB Akayleb Evans Daron Bland
S Marquese Bell

A few attendant thoughts.

Offensive line is the obvious first-round target, to absolutely nobody’s surprise.

The challenge of drafting at the bottom of each round. There are 12 players listed here as potential first- or second-round picks. But drafting at the bottom of each round means only a few, if any, of the players listed in each round will still be available at the bottom of each round. Of the nine players listed as first-round prospects, seven or eight could be gone by the time the Cowboys are on the clock. And of the three listed as second-rounders, all could be gone by pick No 60.

The Cowboys might be well advised to think of their picks not as the bottom picks in each round, but the top picks in the next round. Some might argue that this is just a glass half full versus half empty distinction, but it does change the discussion from having limited options at the bottom of the each round to having almost unlimited options at the top of the next round.

The color scheme: Typically, the the Cowboys spend most of their Top 30 visits on day one and day two prospects (marked in blue). They then supplement those premium prospects with later round options they worked out privately (green), and then bring in a lot of potential college free agents for Dallas Day (yellow).

But not this year. Half of their Top 30 visits were with Day Three or free agent prospects with a staggering eight prospects projected as free agent signings after the draft. That feels like a questionable allocation of those scarce Top 30 visits, especially considering the relative lack of Top 30 players in the middle rounds. One can only hope that this does not signal a repeat of the 2009 “special teams” draft.


Taking all of these factors into consideration, here’s a mock based entirely on players from the little board above.

1.24 - Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College

2.56 - DeMarvin Leal, DE, Texas A&M

3.88 - Quay Walker, LB, Georgia

4.129 - Jelani Woods, TE, Virginia

5.155 - Joshua Ezeudu, OT, North Carolina

5.167 - Erik Ezukanma, WR, Texas Tech

5.176 - Charleston Rambo, WR, Miamai (Fla.)

5.178 - Kyron Johnson, LB, Kansas

6.193 - Daron Bland, CB, Fresno State


If you want to create your own draft board, create your mock draft, or simply want to argue where a prospect should be ranked, here are all the prospects listed above as well as where they rank on three different draft board: CBS (459 prospects), NFL.com (425), and PFF (352).

2022 Prospects with documented Cowboys interest
CBS PFF NFL Name POS College Status
8 5 17 Charles Cross OT Miss. State Top30
12 11 22 Drake London WR USC Top30
15 31 12 Treylon Burks WR Arkansas Top30
17 20 11 Jordan Davis DT Georgia Top30
20 15 28 Devin Lloyd LB Utah Top30
21 13 26 Bernhard Raimann OT Central Michigan Top30
27 42 16 Kenyon Green OL Texas A&M Top30
29 21 18 Chris Olave WR Ohio State Top30
32 32 38 Zion Johnson OG Boston College Top30
53 119 186 Myjai Sanders DE Cincinnati Top30
64 59 78 DeMarvin Leal DT Texas A&M Top30
68 131 45 Sam Williams DE Ole Miss Top30
75 120 67 Jeremy Ruckert TE Ohio State Top30
93 81 73 Perrion Winfrey DT Oklahoma Top30
99 79 56 Quay Walker LB Georgia Top30
103 175 217 Akayleb Evans CB Missouri Dallas Day
129 141 97 Jelani Woods TE Virginia Top30
137 75 109 Alec Pierce WR Cincinnati Private WO
143 125 46 Cade Otton TE Washington Top30
145 209 107 Michael Clemons DE Texas A&M Top30
147 143 131 Cam Jurgens OC Nebraska Top30
163 316 128 Joshua Ezeudu OT North Carolina Top30
170 237 133 Kennedy Brooks RB Oklahoma Private WO
172 164 148 Isaiah Thomas DE Oklahoma Private WO
180 126 215 Jalen Wydermyer TE Texas A&M Top30
184 317 166 Erik Ezukanma WR Texas Tech Dallas Day
190 269 339 Charleston Rambo WR Miami (Fla.) Dallas Day
222 154 292 Marquese Bell S Florida A&M Top30
254 197 157 Danny Gray WR SMU Dallas Day
267 116 221 Grant Calcaterra TE SMU Dallas Day
302 310 271 Dawson Deaton OC Texas Tech Top30
309 - - - - Damion Daniels DL Nebraska Dallas Day
325 182 247 Reggie Roberson WR SMU Dallas Day
327 280 226 Kyron Johnson LB Kansas Top30
331 - - 275 Armani Rogers TE UNLV Private WO
367 - - - - David Anenih DE Houston Top30
417 - - - - Daron Bland CB Fresno State Top30
433 - - - - Terry Wilson QB New Mexico Private WO
- - - - 241 Luiji Vilain DE Wake Forest Top30
- - - - 268 James Houston LB Jackson State Top30
- - - - 310 Malik Davis RB Florida Top30
- - - - 330 Dee Anderson WR Alabama A&M Dallas Day
- - - - - - Devin Harper LB Oklahoma State Top30