The Cowboys sat back and watched a pretty wild first round of the 2022 NFL Draft before they opted to draft Tulsa offensive lineman Tyler Smith 24th overall. The young, raw left tackle is widely expected to slot in at left guard in Dallas, taking care of the Cowboys’ biggest perceived need.
But they still have holes to fill, or at least depth to be added, at nearly every other spot on the roster in one way or another. With that in mind, here are some of the best players still available as we prepare for the start of the second round.
All but one quarterback is still available
No, I’m not suggesting the Cowboys are in the market for a quarterback, nor should they be. But after months of hearing about how disappointing this quarterback class was, coupled with the insistence that a run on quarterbacks would happen anyway, only Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett heard his name called.
That means the dripping-with-potential dual threat Malik Willis is still out there, as well as Desmond Ridder, Matt Corral, Sam Howell, and Carson Strong. While many of the quarterback-needy teams didn’t feel the need to take one in the first round, they still need a quarterback and the position is still vitally important.
This all matters to the Cowboys because a run on quarterbacks in the second or third round - and it has to come at some point - means other players get pushed down that much farther, and ideally into the Cowboys’ clutches.
Plenty of wide receivers are out there, but could another run happen?
After all the debate about whether or not the Cowboys would jump on Chris Olave or Treylon Burks if they were available at 24, neither was there. The Falcons kicked things off by selecting Garrett Wilson eighth overall, and three of the next four teams picked a receiver. That was the start of a run that saw six receivers go in the first round on the whole.
However, despite that run on the position, it didn’t result in any teams in the back half of the first round reaching for a receiver. Names like George Pickens, Christian Watson, and Skyy Moore remain on the board, although they’re likely to come off soon in the second round.
Even so, this is a deep receiver class, and the Cowboys should be in range of the likes of David Bell, Calvin Austin III, John Metchie III, Alec Pierce, Khalil Shakir, and Jalen Tolbert. Dallas needs to address the position after losing Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson, along with Michael Gallup’s uncertain recovery timeline. They look to be in good position to draft a really good receiver on Day 2.
We discussed our reactions to the Tyler Smith pick in a special BTB Roundtable episode on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. Make sure to subscribe to our network so you don’t miss any of our episodes! Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.
There are still a lot of quality edge rushers available
The draft started off hot at the EDGE position, with Travon Walker and Aidan Hutchinson going in the first two picks. But after Kayvon Thibodeaux went to the division rival Giants at fifth overall, there was a cooling effect at EDGE. Jermaine Johnson shockingly fell to 26th overall before the Chiefs took George Karlaftis at 30.
That leaves a lot of meat on the bone at the position. Minnesota’s Boye Mafe seemed to have a good chance of being a first-round pick, but he remains available. David Ojabo was a lock in the first round before tearing his Achilles at his pro day, but many expect him to go in the second round. Arnold Ebiketie has drawn a lot of interest from Dallas, although he may not make it to their next pick.
Other names to know are Sam Williams, Drake Jackson, Logan Hall, Josh Paschal, Kingsley Enagbare, Nik Bonitto, and Myjai Sanders. In other words, the odds are very good that Dallas will at least have the chance to take a pretty good edge rusher.
It surprised a few to see Quay Walker be the first linebacker off the board, but other than that we saw Devin Lloyd get drafted and not much else at linebacker. Stephen Jones has talked up second-year pro Jabril Cox as a reason why linebacker isn’t a big need this year, but that can all change for the right player.
There are plenty of linebackers who could realistically intrigue the Cowboys enough on Day 2, including Nakobe Dean, Troy Andersen, Leo Chenal, Chad Muma, Brian Asamoah, and Darrian Beavers. More likely, though, Dallas will target a linebacker on Day 3 to provide depth and special teams aid. To that end, a run on linebackers on Friday could impact how soon they opt to address the position.
All the tight ends are still there
The Cowboys are widely expected to draft a tight end at some point after releasing Blake Jarwin earlier in the year, but when they do so is anyone’s guess. The good news is that no tight ends were taken in the first round, and it’s entirely possible that Dallas may have their pick of the litter when they get on the clock next.
Names like Jeremy Ruckert, Cade Otton, Jake Ferguson, Charlie Kolar, and Jelani Woods have all been connected to the team. Greg Dulcich, Trey McBride, Isaiah Likely, Chigoziem Okonkwo, and Cole Turner could all be targets as well.
Is double-dipping allowed?
Sure, the Cowboys spent their highest pick on the offensive line, but does it have to be the only time they do that? Only two offensive linemen were drafted after Smith at 24, leaving plenty still stocked in the cupboard.
The early word on Smith is that they envision him playing left guard for now with the option to eventually kick out to left tackle when their other Smith, Tyron, retires. If that’s the plan, why not draft a replacement for Tyler Smith now? Or bring in competition for Terence Steele at right tackle? Or maybe even a potential replacement for Zack Martin, who turns 32 this season?
There are a lot of solid offensive linemen still available, and they’ll represent better value in the second and third rounds than many think Smith did at 24. Players like Abraham Lucas, Bernhard Raimann, and Nicholas Petit-Frere at tackle with Darian Kinnard, Dylan Parham, Cam Jurgens, Sean Rhyan, and Ed Ingram on the interior all represent some great opportunities to double dip at an area that was arguably the team’s biggest weak spot last year.
We broke down what the selection of Tyler Smith means for the Dallas Cowboys on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel:
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