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Cowboys 2022 draft board has a decidedly ‘New York state of mind’

If the teams from New York City went by the Cowboys draft board, they are smiling today.

Sunset in New York City Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

If you’re the Cowboys front office right about now, you are probably pretty envious of the New York Giants. And if you cared about the New York Jets, you’d probably be envious of them, too.

Once again the Cowboys exposed part of their draft board, and once again we posted what we could find about it. (You can see more deciphering here.) The Cowboys early first-round rankings were pretty much in line with the conventional wisdom of this draft class with a few notable exceptions. Safety Lewis Cine was ranked 14th, much higher than most had him. And, of course, Tyler Smith was ranked higher than Kenyon Green and Zion Johnson, which is the whole reason we got a peek at the board. Jerry Jones just couldn’t resist.

The Giants had the fifth and seventh overall picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. So in some ways it was always a given that there would be jealousy over their draft haul from a Cowboys’ perspective. Drafting that high gives you access to many of the top names in a draft. In 2022, it appears the Giants scored the top two players in the draft if you are going by the Cowboys draft board.

Defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux was the top-ranked prospect on the Dallas draft board. He’ll now be lining up against the Cowboys twice a year as a member of the G-men. Following right behind in second place on the Cowboys board was offensive tackle Evan Neal. He’ll be blocking pass rushers from Dallas twice a year. It’s not often you see one of your rivals get the two top players on your draft board in a single year.

The Jets followed up by getting the Cowboys fourth and fifth ranked players in wide receiver Garrett Wilson and cornerback Sauce Gardner. Overall, New York franchises got four of the top five players on the Cowboys board.

While the Jets don’t really matter, the Giants improving themselves in that way has to create some concern for the Cowboys. Fortunately, they still have Daniel Jones under center and they are still dealing with the leftovers of the Dave Gettleman years in the Big Apple. They have a while until they can be back as contenders in the NFC East, but they are certainly on their way.

Besides the fact that New York franchises scored big if you go by the Cowboys board, there is one question this board leak left unsettled. If safety Lewis Cine was 14th on the Cowboys board, why did they pass over him for Tyler Smith? Okay, it was probably that Smith and Cine had similar grades so the Cowboys went with need. But it does fall consistently into the pattern of the Cowboys ignoring safeties.

Just how high would a prospect have to rank at safety before the Cowboys would draft him in the first round? And if the Cowboys had drafted Cine in the first round, what would the fanbase reaction have been like?