The Dallas Cowboys have some needs going into the 2022 NFL Draft. At first glance, they seem to be in good shape with nine overall picks to work with. But a closer look shows they actually have rather mediocre draft capital to work with when you see where those picks fall, with the extra picks all coming in the fifth round.
NFL Draft week is here!— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) April 25, 2022
drafting is difficult
picking earlier and having more picks increases your odds of drafting a good player
so who has the most draft capital to work with this year?
every pick in the 2022 draft by team & total draft capital... then a thread pic.twitter.com/O2aA3KLaG2
That means that there is a very good chance they are going to come out of the draft still looking for more help from free agency, which Stephen Jones has alluded to. They do have over $15 million in cap space to use. So if things don’t go as well as we hope when the draft goes down in a few days, who are some players available for needs that remain? Using Jon Machota’s list of the top 15 remaining free agents from The Athletic and NFL Trade Rumors’ list of their top 100, here are some of the most intriguing names that might really help.
Currently this is seen as a position that is most likely to be addressed in the first or second round, but this is a strange year. If the right players fall to them, they could wind up going different directions and still needing someone to fill in.
- Trai Turner. He’s a multiple Pro Bowl selection. Although he has played right guard so far, if the staff thinks he could switch to the left side, he could well challenge Connor McGovern for the starting job. He was cheap last year, playing on a one-year, $3 million contract. Jones would like his probable low cost.
- Ereck Flowers. Many fans would probably be dismayed because they mostly remember how poorly he performed at tackle, but he was much better once he moved to guard. He’s also a former first-round pick, which is something the Cowboys like.
This is a position that could just go wrong for the Cowboys, with other teams snapping up the best available players before they get a crack at them early in the draft.
- Will Fuller. He had a down year due to a thumb injury, but that is the kind of injury that a player should be able to return from. He has other injury history, but as we know that is not always a deterrent for Dallas.
- Julio Jones. He has had injury issues that led to almost no production the past couple of years, but when Dan Quinn was head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, he was a production machine. If his medicals were to check out, he would be a big but polarizing signing.
The Cowboys re-signed Dorance Armstrong, added Dante Fowler as one of their few outside free agent signings this year, and have second-year player Chauncey Golston. There is no guarantee that will give them a good bookend to pair with DeMarcus Lawrence. Micah Parsons is also a way to get more pass rush, but it would probably be better to use him more as a blitzer, allowing them to have him stopping the run as well.
- Jadeveon Clowney. Machota has him as his top ranked available free agent at any position. He had nine sacks and 19 QB hits last year, and was pretty good at stopping the run as well. He also has been playing on one year contracts. His price tag will be a bit higher, coming off an $8 million deal with the Cleveland Browns, but if the draft does not yield someone, the cost might be palatable.
- Trey Flowers. He was stuck on a pretty bad Detroit Lions team, and is coming off injured reserve. He would have to clear medicals, but he is seen by NFL Trade rumors as the second best available edge.
This is not a strong class for tight end, and the Cowboys might be looking for someone who could be signed to a two- or three-year deal to keep their options open for handling Dalton Schultz’s franchise tag.
- Jared Cook. He is rather geriatric by NFL standards at 35. Still, he had over 500 yards receiving last season for the Los Angeles Chargers.
- Kyle Rudolph. His numbers were not very impressive last year with the New York Giants, but their offense as a whole was dismal. He might do much better with Dak Prescott throwing the ball to him.
Dallas has a real depth problem here. With the other needs, they may not be able to do much in the draft to address it.
- Anthony Barr. Very solid against the run, and he snagged three picks with the Minnesota Vikings. He could be especially valuable when Parsons lines up as a pass rusher.
- Anthony Hitchens. Still playing well since his days in Dallas. The familiarity with him may make him attractive.
Many do not see Tyler Biadasz as the starter they want to roll with. It is also not a strong class this year outside of Tyler Linderbaum.
- J.C. Tretter. He was originally drafted by the Green Bay Packers when Mike McCarthy was head coach there, and has started 16 games each of the past five years with the Browns. He could really push Biadasz for the starting job.
- Nick Martin. Yes, he is Zack Martin’s brother. It would be fun just to see them lining up next to each other. He played his first four seasons with the Houston Texans, which was probably rather depressing. Coming off a year as a backup with the Las Vegas Raiders he would also likely be very affordable.
With the shadow hanging over Kelvin Joseph, this is a little more of an issue than it was. And unless someone on their board falls to them, Dallas will likely have to look outside to get some insurance.
- Kyle Fuller. Another player Machota is high on. He doesn’t dazzle in the stats, but that is Trevon Diggs’ job. He would mostly be challenging Nahshon Wright as a backup in any case.
- Kevin King. Also a player with McCarthy ties in Green Bay. He only has had one good year statistically, in 2019, but again the Cowboys are looking for depth here.
Dallas hates to spend much draft capital here, and there is an easy solution if they still feel the need to bolster things here after the draft.
- Brent Urban. They should look no further than their own roster from last year. Before he went on injured reserve, Urban was making a very positive impact in the interior of the defensive line. If his medicals are good, they probably should have signed him already.
- Star Lotulelei. If they don’t bring back Urban, he would be one of the best remaining options.
Those are the most likely positions for the team to address in free agency. They might add a safety or kicker as well, but those are rather slim pickings in this year’s group. Running back and quarterback are two positions that make no sense at all for the Cowboys to sign a free agent.