We’re getting closer and closer to the 2022 NFL Draft, and some clarity is starting to generate regarding the direction the Cowboys may opt to go with their picks. With that in mind, here is another mock draft. There’s a twist: most mocks try to predict what the team will do, this mock is based around what I would do if I were in control of the team.
Round 1, Pick 24: Kenyon Green, iOL - Texas A&M
There are a lot of ways the Cowboys could go with their first-round pick, but the consensus seems to be that at least one really good player will be available here. In this mock, they have their pick between both top linebackers, two receivers that would be great fits in this offense, and a few other defensive prospects.
However, there’s only one offensive lineman available that wouldn’t be a reach. Central Michigan tackle Bernhard Raimann, Boston College guard Zion Johnson, and Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum all come off the board before Dallas has a chance, leaving Texas A&M’s Kenyon Green as the last man standing.
Here is an argument for Green as the top interior offensive lineman in this class, even after a disappointing combine performance. Green is a force to be reckoned with at left guard and slots in as an immediate starter at a position the Cowboys have a pressing need at.
Some will want a receiver here, and we could have added Chris Olave or Treylon Burks, but this a pretty deep receiver class and Green seems to be the last interior lineman who can realistically start from day one.
Notable players available: Ohio State WR Chris Olave, Arkansas WR Treylon Burks, Penn State WR Jahan Dotson, Georgia LB Nakobe Dean, Utah LB Devin Lloyd, Michigan EDGE David Ojabo, Michigan S Daxton Hill, Minnesota EDGE Boye Mafe
Round 2, Pick 56: John Metchie III, WR - Alabama
Remember about this being a deep receiver class? That bears out here at pick 56, with Alabama’s John Metchie III coming to Dallas. Metchie is a speed demon who the Crimson Tide used to stretch the field vertically, in addition to being very difficult to tackle in the open field. He’d be a lock for the first round if not for a torn ACL in the SEC Championship Game, although Metchie appears to be on pace to participate fully in training camp.
Metchie’s draft stock hinges almost entirely on his recovery, but assuming he really is on track in that regard this is a blue chip prospect. In Dallas, the addition of James Washington takes some pressure off of him to play immediately, although he should be able to start right away. Metchie has the skill set to play both outside and in the slot, offering a ton of flexibility between him and CeeDee Lamb.
Even if the Cowboys don’t feel comfortable with his medical status, there are other receivers available here in Purdue’s David Bell and Memphis’ Calvin Austin. Metchie has the highest ceiling, assuming health, but the Cowboys should be in good position to find an impact receiver if they don’t do so in the first round.
Notable players available: Purdue WR David Bell, Memphis WR Calvin Austin, Alabama LB Christian Harris, Wyoming LB Chad Muma, Houston EDGE Logan Hall
Round 3, Pick 88: Sam Williams, EDGE - Ole Miss
Losing Randy Gregory still stings, and the Cowboys aren’t simply going to find another one like him. But they’ve done an admirable job of trying to fill the void with solid rotational players. Still, the team should look to find someone with high upside in this draft.
That’s why Sam Williams is the pick here at 88. You can find a full scouting report on him here, but Williams is an elite athlete with some great natural pass rushing abilities. He has room to grow and refine his techniques further, but Williams won’t be asked to be a full time starter this year in Dallas anyway.
With a year or two to develop and learn the scheme, Williams has all the traits and upside to grow into the type of player Gregory was this past year. That sky high ceiling is why Williams is the pick over some of the other names still on the board here.
Notable players available: Oklahoma EDGE Nik Bonitto, Ohio State EDGE Tyreke Smith, Montana State LB Troy Andersen, Wisconsin LB Leo Chenal, Ohio State TE Jeremy Ruckert, Coastal Carolina TE Isaiah Likely, Florida iDL Zachary Carter
Round 4, Pick 129: Chigoziem Okonkwo, TE - Maryland
The Cowboys need a second tight end after cutting Blake Jarwin, although it’s not a pressing need. Still, it won’t be a surprise if they select one at some point in this draft. Their first pick on the third day seems like a good time to do so if the talent is there.
Chigoziem Okonkwo was a prospect that was hard not to gush about in the scouting report. Okonkwo is raw in a lot of areas, but he has the athleticism to become a dangerous receiving tight end and the willingness as a blocker to develop well in that aspect.
Okonkwo is a little like Williams, which is to say an elite athlete who could develop into a really good player in a year or two. Like Williams, Okonkwo doesn’t need to be an every-down player in 2022, so his upside makes for a great value pick here.
Notable players available: Missouri CB Akayleb Evans, Cincinnati CB Coby Bryant, North Dakota OT Matt Waletzko, Rutgers WR Bo Melton, Cincinnati WR Alec Pierce, UAB TE Gerrit Prince
Round 5, Pick 155: Kellen Diesch, OT - Arizona State
As of right now, it looks like Dallas plans to start Tyron Smith and Terence Steele at tackle with Josh Ball as their swing tackle. Depth is lacking at the moment and Smith’s days are numbered with his age and injury history.
Kellen Diesch has two years of starting experience at left tackle for the Sun Devils, and before that he was a swing tackle at Texas A&M. He impressed at the combine with elite athletic testing, specifically in the agility drills. He still needs to add mass and get a little stronger, but Diesch would be afforded time to do just that in Dallas.
In the fifth round, Diesch is a developmental tackle with elite traits. He could be groomed to take over for Steele at right tackle, but he’s a better fit to potentially replace Smith. And in the meantime, he provides valuable depth.
Notable players available: SMU WR Danny Gray, Cincinnati S Bryan Cook, Wake Forest OT Zach Tom, Appalachian State LB D’Marco Jackson, Arkansas iDL John Ridgeway
Round 5, Pick 167: Sincere McCormick, RB - UTSA
Here’s where this mock draft really doesn’t try to say what Cowboys will do, but is a personal mock. Tony Pollard is entering the final year of his rookie contract, but more importantly, Ezekiel Elliott’s contract has an out next offseason that could save nearly $11 million dollars in cap space.
As such, it makes sense to get a player like Sincere McCormick from UTSA. McCormick is a strong, shifty running back who projects well into the type of offense the Cowboys like to run. He’s not someone who’s going to be a fixture of an offense or a workhorse back, but should be a really productive rotational back.
This pick comes with the idea of re-signing Pollard and designating Elliott a post-June 1st cut next year. McCormick’s abilities as an early down back pair well with Pollard’s explosiveness out of the backfield, and would offer Dallas a significantly cheaper running back room without a massive downgrade in rushing production.
Notable players available: Clemson WR Justyn Ross, Houston EDGE David Anenih, Arizona State CB Jack Jones, LSU LB Damone Clark, Iowa iDL Eyioma Uwazurike
Round 5, Pick 176: Mike Rose, LB - Iowa State
Stephen Jones doesn’t seem to think linebacker is as big of a need this year, seemingly expecting Jabril Cox to take on a starting role while Jayron Kearse also holds similar responsibilities in the box. Still, with only five linebackers currently on the roster, depth is lacking.
It was tempting to take LSU’s Damone Clark with the last pick, a likely Day 2 pick before getting spinal surgery. Knowing Mike Rose was still on the board, too, persuaded me against it. Rose is a really fun player. He’s the definition of tenacious and is one of those players who is going to find out if the other team wants to play that day. His lack of athleticism limits him, though, which is why he’s available here.
In 2022, Rose projects best as a core special teamer. But he could grow into a rotational linebacker role in Dallas, effectively taking the job Leighton Vander Esch filled this past year. He’d still offer special teams production too, something Vander Esch currently doesn’t.
Notable players available: Stanford iDL Thomas Booker, Ohio State iDL Haskell Garrett, UCLA iDL Otito Ogbonnia, Nevada TE Cole Turner, SMU WR Reggie Roberson, Oregon S Verone McKinley, Middle Tennessee S Reed Blankenship
Round 5, Pick 178: Thomas Booker, iDL - Stanford
The Cowboys’ interior defensive line has a long way to go still. There’s a lot of promise in Osa Odighizuwa and Neville Gallimore, and even Trysten Hill, but there’s room for more.
This year’s iDL class is pretty top heavy, and the Cowboys can’t afford to spend such a premium pick on the position with more pressing needs elsewhere. Thomas Booker at 178 is tremendous value, though. Booker blew almost everyone in his position class away at the combine, and he’s got great length and technical refinement for the position.
In Dallas, Booker would become a key cog in the defensive line rotation. He’s a plus run defender and offers solid pass rush juice as well. Stanford lined him up everywhere, so Booker can play alongside any of these other players, which only adds to his value.
Notable players available: Ohio State iDL Haskell Garrett, UCLA iDL Otito Ogbonnia, Nevada TE Cole Turner, SMU WR Reggie Roberson, Oregon S Verone McKinley, Middle Tennessee S Reed Blankenship, Texas A&M TE Jalen Wydermyer
Round 6, Pick 193: Damarion Williams, CB - Houston
For what feels like the first time this century, safety isn’t a pressing need for Dallas. They re-signed Jayron Kearse and Malik Hooker, both of whom played well this past year, and have Donovan Wilson as their third safety. However, Wilson is entering the final year of his rookie deal and neither Kearse or Hooker are signed through 2024.
That’s a reason to use this last pick on Damarion Williams, a cornerback who projects best as a safety at the next level. Dallas took Israel Mukuamu in the sixth round last year, another corner they’re switching to safety. Like Mukuamu, Williams has a lot ideal traits for the safety position, especially his ball skills and physicality.
As with the Kellen Diesch pick earlier, this is a selection made with an eye towards the future, which is how these later rounds go anyway. Williams has some really solid traits and the idea of grooming him and Mukuamu as the safety tandem of the future - especially while Kearse and Hooker are locking down things in the present - is a tantalizing idea.
Notable players available: Penn State LB Ellis Brooks, Texas CB Josh Thompson, USC CB Isaac Taylor-Stuart, Michigan State WR Jalen Nailor, Arizona WR Stanley Berryhill III, Georgia Tech S Juanyeh Thomas, Florida A&M S Markquese Bell