The front office of the Dallas Cowboys will tell you that they are going into this draft class with a plan to draft as pure as possible. That is, they’re looking for the best available player regardless of whether it satisfies one of the team’s more pressing needs.
While that strategy is sound, in theory, teams need to use the draft to improve the overall depth of their team so ultimately need will come into play. The Cowboys have a good feel for how the talent distribution in this draft lies. You might say they are so comfortable with their chances of landing players at a certain position that it allowed them to make some big offseason moves. For example, the Cowboys...
- Traded away Amari Cooper
- Failed to retain Randy Gregory
- Released La’el Collins
These three moves created a frenzy among Cowboys Nation, but the front office doesn’t seem phased. Part of it is because they “like their guys,” but another part is that they know there are some quality replacements available in this upcoming draft. Today, we’re going to do a little exercise and attempt to address the team’s three biggest needs on the first two days of this draft. Let’s examine what players are likely to be available at each of the Cowboys’ picks in rounds one through three with a focus solely on wide receiver, edge rusher, and interior offensive line.
Note: While there could be steals who drop, we are going to narrow the choices down to the most likely player available when the Cowboys are on the clock (average draft position courtesy of NFL mock draft database).
ROUND ONE, pick 24
EDGE George Karlaftis, Purdue
This former Greece resident has been in the states for less than a decade, but he’s adapted to the game of football extremely fast. His playmaking shows up on film, but his lack of length and still-developing instincts keep him out of the elite pass-rushing group. His quickness off the snap and relentless fight make him an intriguing high-upside prospect.
WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas
Burks tape is impressive as he’s a dynamic playmaker whose stock is boosted by a big season from Deebo Samuel. He’s not an elite separator, but he wins the contested battle. Burks is a physical player with good athleticism and he’s a burst of energy just waiting to unleash a big play.
OG Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
It’s almost a coin flip whether Green or Boston College’s Zion Johnson will be the pick at 24. Zion is more likely to be stolen out from under the Cowboys, so we should brace ourselves for guard 1B. Green lacks the athleticism of Johnson, but he’s a tenacious player who does a good job keeping his balance and holding his blocks. His lower bend combined with strong hands make him one of the more reliable guards coming out of this draft.
ROUND TWO, pick 56
WR John Metchie III, Alabama
Had he not suffered an ACL injury in the SEC championship game, Metchie could be flirting with a Day 1 selection. He doesn’t have great size or speed, but he’s a very intelligent route-runner who constantly finds holes in the coverage. If health doesn’t interfere, Metchie’s do-it-all ability will be a valuable asset for any offense.
EDGE Nik Bonitto, Oklahoma
A little undersized, Bonitto will get stymied by more powerful tackles, but his quickness and smart pass-rushing angles allow him to get after the quarterback. He’s got the traits and already-developed techniques to be a situational pass rusher at worst, but the sky is the limit if he can add some bulk to his frame.
OG Darian Kinnard, Kentucky
The Cowboys love to draft efficient college tackles and convert them to guard, and that could be the case with Kinnard. His bread and butter is his power, but he exhibits solid footwork and plays with a chip on his shoulder. With strong hands and the strength to control defenders, he should find a home somewhere along the offensive line.
ROUND THREE, pick 88
EDGE Sam Williams, Ole Miss
A favorite of many Cowboys fans, Williams has an impressive physique that allows him to use his hands for violence. While his college career has been shaky at times, he put together an impressive 12.5-sack season last year. He’s a powerful player with high energy to chase down opponents and should have no trouble earning reps wherever he lands.
WR Khalil Shakir, Boise State
A crafty route-runner with great elusiveness, Shakir will likely go to a team that has a definitive role for him in their offense. He’s an exciting playmaker who can haul in some impressive catches and maneuver his way through traffic. If a team needs a talented slot receiver, he’s the guy.
IOL Cameron Jurgens, Nebraska
This former tight end has found a home at center thanks to his great athleticism that allows him to showcase a peskiness down the field. He’s not a powerful player and that likely won’t change, but his length and agility make him very effective at keeping pass rushers at bay. Considering how quickly he made the transition, Jurgens offers some nice upside if he continues to improve and could be an upgrade over Tyler Biadasz.
Which combination do you prefer?
This is a tough one to answer because there are tradeoffs with each scenario. The edge-rushing depth in round three appears stronger than the other positions, so that could make it more beneficial to address other positions earlier in the draft. Additionally, because of the tackle-to-guard transition, there could be some quality interior lineman options beyond Zion and Kenyon. Based on those factors may make it wiser to attack the wide receiver position first, then go with a guard, and find the edge rusher later, leading me to this arrangement...
How would you feel about that? I’m not going to lie, having Burks join CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup would be one ferocious wide receiver group. Kinnard would be an instant starter at left guard, and Williams could supply just enough defensive end reps to allow Micah Parsons to pull double-duty as a pass rusher/linebacker. Each of these players would help this football team right away.
What would be your preferred arrangement? We reached out to the Twitter community to see what they had to say.
Give me your favorite WR/EDGE/iOL arrangement for the Cowboys' first three picks. Choose any order you want, just be reasonable with their expected draft position.— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) April 23, 2022