The first round of the 2022 NFL Draft is officially in the books and the Dallas Cowboys have a brand new left guard option in Tyler Smith (not to mention a potential tackle of the future). As division winners a year ago the Cowboys picked last on Thursday night. What made the wait a little bit longer wasn’t just that we had to watch some of our favorite players wind up elsewhere, but that we had to see the NFC East improve and some teams in pretty notable ways.
Both the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles entered Thursday night with two picks in the first round (the Eagles after already orchestrating a trade with the New Orleans Saints). All told five new players joined the division and they are all going to present issues for the Cowboys moving forward.
The NFC East improved significantly during the first round
NFL teams build their rosters in order to win their division as a first goal, and the Cowboys have been fortunate in that their division has been a bit subpar for some time. Without getting too ahead of ourselves, it seems as if the tide might be starting to turn a bit.
The New York Giants had the most premium capital of all four teams with picks number five and seven and wound up with edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux and offensive tackle Evan Neal as new foundational pieces for both sides of their trenches.
Thibodeaux was once thought to potentially be the number one overall pick in this class and many believe that Neal is the best tackle in it, so for the Giants to land them both is a problem for the rest of the division.
Elsewhere, the Philadelphia Eagles not only traded up to draft Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis (a favorite of many football fans) but they also sent their other first-round pick and a third-rounder to the Tennessee Titans in exchange for wide receiver AJ Brown (who they then handed a four-year, $100M deal).
Not only did Philly get one of the most athletic prospects ever (seriously) in Davis but they now have a very solid wide receiver duo in Brown and last year’s first-round selection DeVonta Smith. It was an incredible night for the Eagles.
Finally, the Commanders traded back in the first round with the aforementioned New Orleans Saints and picked up third- and fourth-round picks in the process. They still made a pick in the first round though and took Penn State wide receiver Jahan Dotson who will pair nicely for Terry McLaurin as options for Carson Wentz to overthrow.
That is a lot of star power and some significant talent being added to six games on the Cowboys schedule this coming season. There is still a lot of draft to come, but Thursday night was not exactly fun for Cowboys fans in this context.