Every year there are multiple players who slip through the cracks in the draft who go on to have fantastic careers in the NFL. Whether they are late-round picks, undrafted free agents, or anything in between, these under-the-radar prospects are the most exciting because they seem to come out of nowhere.
The Dallas Cowboys are a team who have found a few of these “sleepers”. Who would’ve guessed Dak Prescott would go from a measly fourth-round pick to a star QB, or Cole Beasley would go from UDFA to one of the best slot receivers in the game. These are the types of under-the-radar prospects who make the NFL draft so interesting each year.
With that in mind, we will attempt to build an “all-sleeper” team for the Dallas Cowboys with prospects in the 2022 draft class who probably aren’t receiving the kind of attention they deserve.
QB - D’Eriq King (Miami)
Odds are pretty good the Cowboys aren’t going to draft a QB, but adding another arm to the roster via undrafted free agents isn’t out of the question. A player like D’Eriq King is an intriguing QB/WR prospect. Several teams have already worked him out at both positions and Dallas has had an informal meeting with him as well.
RB - Abram Smith (Baylor), T.J. Pledgor (Utah)
Linebacker-turned-running back Abram Smith is one of the more underrated RBs in this year’s draft class. He is a physical, downhill one-cut runner who could not only add depth to the position, but also be a key special teams player as well for the Cowboys. He’d also provide a much-needed insurance policy if something were to happen to Zeke.
T.J. Pledgor is a RB who has a similar skill set to that of Tony Pollard. Give him the slightest crease and his breakaway speed makes him a threat to score any time he touches the ball. With Pollard entering a contract year in 2022, Pledgor could step into the RB2 role in Year 2, but in the meantime add a different dynamic to the position this year.
WR - Kyle Phillips (UCLA), Erik Ezukanma (Texas Tech), Tyquan Thornton (Baylor)
Kyle Phillips is an intriguing slot WR who can also play outside and has added value as a punt returner. He is a shifty slot WR who is difficult to cover because of precise route running.
Erik Ezukanma is a big, physical WR who possesses an intriguing skill set. For teams looking for another Deebo Samuel-like playmaker who missed out on Treylon Burks, Ezukanma is a similar player who could be had at some point in the mid-to-late rounds in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Tyquan Thornton is a tall, thin WR with impressive speed (4.28 40-yard dash) and an intriguing skill set worth trying to develop. His natural speed could earn him playing time early on as a deep threat weapon while he continues to develop his craft.
TE - Charlie Kolar (Iowa State)
Charlie Kolar is one of the more productive tight ends in the 2022 draft class, and yet, he seems to be slipping through the cracks just a bit. He checks all of the boxes as far as size, speed, and length are concerned and would immediately step in as the TE2 for the Cowboys, significantly upgrading the position.
OT - Max Mitchell (Louisiana), Luke Goedeke (Central Michigan)
Max Mitchell is an athletic, aggressive defensive tackle who has played on both the right and left side during his career at Louisiana. With the Cowboys he could compete to be the swing tackle in 2022 and maybe more in the not-too-distant future.
Luke Goedeke is getting overshadowed by his former teammate Bernhard Raimann, a projected first-round pick, but Goedeke is a good OL prospect in his own right. His best position at the next level may be inside at OG, but he has the skill set to play RT as well in the NFL.
OG - Luke Fortner (Kentucky), Dawson Deaton (Texas Tech)
Luke Fortner is a versatile interior offensive lineman who has played over 600 snaps during his time at Kentucky at both center and guard. The Cowboys like that kind of versatility in their OL, making him someone to keep an eye on when they are on the clock starting at No. 56.
Dawson Deaton is arguably the most versatile offensive lineman in the entire 2022 draft class. He has played every position on the OL during his time at Texas Tech, which is in itself pretty impressive. He is projected to be an OG at the next level, but having that kind of position flex can make him a valuable depth player early on as a late-round pick.
C - Cam Jurgens (Nebraska)
Cam Jurgens is another undersized, athletic center prospect, much like Tyler Linderbaum, and was one of the Cowboys allotted 30 pre-draft visitors. If Dallas passes up on Linderbaum in the first-round, Jurgens would be a nice consolation prize at some point on Day 3.
EDGE - Alex Wright (UAB), David Anenih (Houston)
Alex Wright is still somewhat of a sleeper right now, but is gaining more and more attention the closer we get to the 2022 NFL Draft. He still really raw, but the 6’5”, 270-pound pass rusher has the raw tools and length teams are looking for in a developmental edge player.
David Anenih was one of the Dallas allotted 30 pre-draft visitors and for good reason. He’s still pretty underrated, but his talent is starting to gain more notice as of late. He is scheme diverse and can play as a 3-4 OLB or 4-3 DE and he’s super explosive for a 6’2”, 251-pound pass rusher.
DT - John Ridgway (Arkansas), Neil Farrell Jr. (LSU)
John Ridgway is arguably one of the best, if not the best, pure nose tackles in the entire 2022 draft class. He may just be a two-down player in the NFL because he doesn’t offer much as a pass rusher, but that could be exactly what the Cowboys need considering their porous run defense the past few seasons.
Neil Farrell is another intriguing interior defensive lineman. At 6’4”, 338-pounds, the former LSU DT is surprisingly athletic and disruptive for a player his size. He has an impressive 1st-step that puts opposing offensive lineman on their heels immediately, but still needs to improve in the run game to become a more consistent player.
LB - Quay Walker (Georgia), Troy Anderson (Montana State)
Quay Walker is arguably a fringe first-round player, but even still he’s not receiving the kind of attention he deserves. The 6’4”, 241-pound LB is a rangy player with sideline-to-sideline speed and would be a perfect fit if paired with Micah Parsons.
Troy Anderson is also arguably one of the top LB prospects in the 2022 draft class who isn’t receiving enough attention. The QB-turned-RB-turned-LB is one of the most versatile players in the entire draft and is one of the most athletic as well. He’s an intriguing prospect for the Cowboys because he could be utilized in many different ways.
CB - Marcus Jones (Houston), Zyon McCollum (Sam Houston State)
Despite just being 5’8”, 174-pounds, Marcus Jones is one of the more athletically gifted and physical cornerbacks in the 2022 draft class. He has elite speed, quickness, fluid hips, and has the ability to become one of the best punt and kick returner’s in the NFL.
Zyon McCollum is a tall, lengthy CB prospect who possesses elite athletic traits. He’s still a little raw and may need a year or two of development, but 6’4”, 190-pound CBs like him don’t grow on trees. He checks all of the boxes teams look for in an outside CB.
S - Kerby Joseph (Illinois), Markquese Bell (Florida A&M)
Kerby Joseph isn’t getting enough attention, despite being one of the better free safety prospects in the 2022 draft class. At 6’1”, 200-pounds, Joseph has the size of a prototypical safety and would be an excellent fit in Dan Quinn’s scheme.
Markquese Bell is a scheme diverse prospect who can play in the box or as a single high safety. He was one of the Cowboys allotted 30 pre-draft visitors, and as such, should be someone to keep an eye on in the later part of Day 3.