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NFL Draft predictions by Cowboys fans delivered surprising results

We asked Cowboys fans to predict who the Cowboys would draft this year. The results are surprising...

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - San Francisco 49ers v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

We know the Cowboys traditionally whittle down the 450 or so draft-eligible players to 130 or so names that adorn their final draft board, and which the war-room cameras have learned to studiously avoid in recent years.

A week before the 2022 NFL Draft we posted a BTB draft prediction contest. The challenge was fairly straightforward: we asked our members to submit a list of up to 30 players, irrespective of round, that they thought the Cowboys would draft or sign as undrafted free agents. Each correct name predicted, be it a draft pick or a subsequent UDFA signing, was awarded one point

We kicked things off with predictions from three of our front page writers, with mixed results:

David Howman: 5 (Tyler Smith, De (Sam) Williams, Damone Clark, Devin Harper, Marquese Bell)

Danny Phantom: 2 (De (Sam) Williams, Jake Ferguson)

OCC: 2 (De (Sam) Williams, Devin Harper)


Ed note: Since the ballots were for Sam Williams, we included that reference so it would line up with the votes. In the future we will call him De Williams per his request.


BTB members flocked to the prediction post in droves, and 76 predictions were submitted, of which all but two hit on at least one draft pick/UDFA, a pretty impressive number. But before we go into the individual scores, here are the hit rates for each rookie:

Round Player Position Correct Picks in Percent
1 Tyler Smith OL 16 21%
2 De (Sam) Williams DE 65 86%
3 Jalen Tolbert WR 9 12%
4 Jake Ferguson TE 10 13%
5 Matt Waletzko OT 2 3%
5 DaRon Bland CB 10 13%
5 Damone Clark LB 10 13%
5 John Ridgeway DT 14 18%
6 Devin Harper LB 15 20%
UDFA Markquese Bell S 38 50%
UDFA Isaac Taylor-Stuart CB 1 1%
UDFA Alec Lindstrom OC 3 4%
UDFA Jonathan Garibay K 1 1%
UDFA Malik Davis RB 1 1%

De (Sam) Williams showed up on 86% of the submissions. We’ve run this challenge from 2013 to 2017, and again this year, and those 86% are the best result ever achieved by a Cowboys draft pick, better even than Xavier Woods (81%) in 2017. Here’s an overview of some of the top hits so far:

2016: Xavier Woods (81%), Chidobe Awuzie (56%)

2016: Ezekiel Elliott (80%), Dak Prescott (76%)

2015: Byron Jones (80%), Chaz Green (67%)

2014: Zack Martin (64%), DeMarcus Lawrence (60%)

2013: Travis Frederick (51%)

That’s an impressive result for Williams. All other results pale next to him, with Markquese Bell (UDFA) showing up on the second-most submissions.

The Cowboys have never been particularly subtle about their draft plans. At the end of March Jerry Jones said, “Famous last words: We’ll get [an offensive lineman] unless Lamb or Parsons is there.” It just turned out that the draft fell in such a way that the linemen most had expected the Cowboys to pick didn’t make it to 24, but Tyler Smith did.

And in round two, if you were surprised by the Williams pick, you are part of a very, very small minority.

Anyway, the draft is over, and to the winner the spoils: This year’s title as Cowboys Draft Whisperer goes to BTB members cowtownNcowboysfan and RockChalkCaliBoys Fan who both got six picks right.

In addition to David Howman, Trent03, and ijumpedthegun each got five picks right, 13 more participants finished in third place with four correct picks.

Hat tip to CJ_85, who was the only one to get all picks in the first four rounds right.

Here are the results for all participants.

Name Smith Williams Tolbert Ferguson Waletzko Bland Clark Ridgeway Harper Bell (UDFA) Other UDFAs Total
cowtownNcowboysfan 1 1 1 1 1 Lindstrom 6
RockChalkCaliBoys Fan 1 1 1 1 1 Davis 6
David Howman 1 1 1 1 1 5
Trent03 1 1 1 1 1 5
ijumpedthegun 1 1 1 1 1 5
The Trenches 1 1 1 1 4
CJ_85 1 1 1 1 4
mgdaniels515 1 1 1 1 4
Craig Money 1 1 1 Taylor-Stuart 4
sproutscafe 1 1 1 1 4
Name Smith Williams Tolbert Ferguson Waletzko Bland Clark Ridgeway Harper Bell (UDFA) Other UDFAs Total
Mets & Cowboys 1 1 1 1 4
randyd 1 1 1 1 4
Burung Maleo 1 1 1 1 4
timani 1 1 1 1 4
DannoUKfan 1 1 1 1 4
Lurking Ninja 1 1 1 1 4
Chad Loveland 1 1 1 1 4
MaddCowboy 1 1 1 1 4
TK19 1 1 1 3
TLG1970 1 1 1 3
Name Smith Williams Tolbert Ferguson Waletzko Bland Clark Ridgeway Harper Bell (UDFA) Other UDFAs Total
BigBad Joe 1 1 1 3
Thoughts for your Thoughts 1 1 Garibay 3
MatthewBW469 1 1 Lindstrom 3
sandyf 1 1 1 3
DarKnightX 1 1 1 3
YumaCactus 1 1 1 3
Zach Young 1 1 1 3
Cowboys Win 1 1 1 3
RPOssuck 1 1 Lindstrom 3
MizouCowboy 1 1 1 3
Name Smith Williams Tolbert Ferguson Waletzko Bland Clark Ridgeway Harper Bell (UDFA) Other UDFAs Total
bdk76 1 1 1 3
Christoph42 1 1 1 3
Coach_Seay 1 1 1 3
CowboysCowboysCowboys 1 1 1 3
Psycho Bred 1 1 1 3
RoSHa6 1 1 1 3
camrin55 1 1 1 3
ddthinks 1 1 1 3
Danny Phantom 1 1 2
OCC 1 1 2
Name Smith Williams Tolbert Ferguson Waletzko Bland Clark Ridgeway Harper Bell (UDFA) Other UDFAs Total
savard18 1 1 2
daddydoesdisney 1 1 2
GWB1234 1 1 2
Vondoo22 1 1 2
dallasfan365 1 1 2
TheBoysRBack 1 1 2
Boys94 1 1 2
D-Bomb 1 1 2
cowboysdreamer 1 1 2
shellcore 1 1 2
Name Smith Williams Tolbert Ferguson Waletzko Bland Clark Ridgeway Harper Bell (UDFA) Other UDFAs Total
dsmith8605 1 1 2
Tennessee_Jed 1 1 2
Selmeci77 1 1 2
Oregon Cowboys Fan 1 1 2
Ar0 1 1 2
ZVPlatinum 1 1 2
sonofafarmer 1 1 2
Diws 1 1 2
DFWsports 1 1
vinquat 1 1
Name Smith Williams Tolbert Ferguson Waletzko Bland Clark Ridgeway Harper Bell (UDFA) Other UDFAs Total
dtor13 1 1
Jsh1185 1 1
QuackedUp76 1 1
Mets Beers 1 1
AzCowboys 1 1
CapitalCityCowboy 1 1
unbiasedanalysis 1 1
Yoko Romo 1 1
The Clapper 1 1
Jonathan Stern 1 1
Name Smith Williams Tolbert Ferguson Waletzko Bland Clark Ridgeway Harper Bell (UDFA) Other UDFAs Total
txinf 1 1
cjbrit 1 1
SHDad 1 1
Boke9924 1 1
jarntt22 0
MicCougar66 0