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Cowboys news: Analyzing each pick from Dallas’ 2022 draft class

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NFL: APR 28 2022 Draft Photo by Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys NFL draft picks 2022: Analysis for every selection - Todd Archer, ESPN

Breaking down each pick for the Dallas Cowboys in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Round 4, No. 129 overall: Jake Ferguson, TE, Wisconsin

My take: The Cowboys released Blake Jarwin earlier in the offseason and have Dalton Schultz on the franchise tag, so tight end was a need and Ferguson was an All-Big 10 pick last season. He can play on the line and was a productive pass-catcher with 145 receptions for 1,618 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Cowboys believe in two-tight end sets and now have a solid core with Schultz, Ferguson, Sean McKeon and Jeremy Sprinkle.

Round 5, No. 155 overall: Matt Waletzko, OT, North Dakota

My take: The Cowboys added their second offensive linemen in the draft with Waletzko in the fifth round after taking Tyler Smith in the first. At 6-7, 312 pounds, Waletzko started 29 of 32 games at North Dakota at left tackle. The Cowboys have said Smith will play on the left side at guard and tackle and last year’s fourth rounder, Josh Ball, will play on the right side, so Waletzko is a depth pick as the team believes they can never have enough offensive linemen.

Clark, Ridgeway highlight four 5th-round picks - Rob Phillips, The Mothership

Damone Clark and John Ridgeway could be late-round steals for the Cowboys.

Name: Damone Clark (No. 176 overall)

Position: Linebacker

College: LSU

Height/Weight: 6-2/239

The Rundown: For the second straight year, the Cowboys drafted a former LSU linebacker with upside. Last year it was Jabril Cox, who’s expected to compete for extensive snaps after undergoing ACL surgery last fall. Now Clark will have a chance, eventually, to earn a role once he’s healthy. He reportedly underwent spinal fusion surgery in March to repair a herniated disk. Although his timetable in 2022 is uncertain, the Cowboys clearly like his long-term prospects. He was a Dick Butkus Award finalist last year after leading the SEC with 135 tackles, the fourth-highest single-season total in LSU history.

Pros and cons of the Dallas Cowboys picking Arkansas’ John Ridgeway in the 2022 NFL Draft - Christina Long, Fort Smith Times Record

John Ridgeway is only the second Razorbacks player Jerry Jones has ever drafted.

The concerns

Ridgeway is big and surprisingly athletic for his size, but draft experts show concerns about a lack of polish in his technique. He’s a strong run-blocker, but his pass-rushing ability will need improvement in the NFL.

Final thoughts

Ridgeway needs his new team to invest in developing him at tackle or end and helping turn his raw traits into NFL-caliber play. He has the size to compete with NFL offensive linemen, but he’ll need better technique to go with it if he’s going to work into that possible starting role.

Cowboys ‘Absolutely’ believe rehabbing LB Damone Clark could play in 2022 - Mike Fisher, Cowboys Maven

Damone Clark may not need a redshirt year in 2022 after all.

LSU linebacker Damone Clark has been drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fifth round (No. 176 overall) of the 2022 NFL Draft - and while he does not figure to be playing until 2023, in the minds of most ...

The Cowboys insist they are not of that mind.

“Absolutely,’’ said Cowboys COO Stephen Jones on Saturday when asked about the possibility of Clark playing as a rookie.

Clark underwent spinal fusion surgery on Thursday, March 24, and will likely miss his rookie season in the NFL.

“All I needed was the opportunity,’’ said Clark, unbothered by once being projected as a second-rounder but slipping due to the surgery. “The opportunity presented itself, so I’m just grateful.”

How Jalen Tolbert’s versatility can take the Cowboys’ passing game to new heights in 2022 - Matthew Lenix, A to Z Sports

Jalen Tolbert could play a significant role for the Cowboys as a rookie.

Players that have position flex are valued high with the Cowboys. During his collegiate career, Tolbert played every position at wide receiver which is rare no matter how talented a player is. With that diverse skill set, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore now has a laundry list of options when it comes to the passing game.

CeeDee Lamb made his name known in 2020 from the slot. Before his list of injuries last season, Michael Gallup began taking reps in the slot during training camp. This gives the Cowboys three receivers who can line up at multiple positions if need be when adding Tolbert.

Potentially, the Cowboys could place Lamb and Gallup on the outside and let Tolbert use his size in the slot to be a matchup nightmare for smaller defensive backs, who would likely be a team’s second or third corner.

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