Three needs stood out above the rest for the Dallas Cowboys heading into the 2022 NFL Draft: offensive line, defensive line, and wide receiver.
An eventful offseason that saw starters Amari Cooper, Randy Gregory, and La’el Collins depart town opened up holes on the roster. The Cowboys addressed multiple positions of need throughout the seven rounds.
Dallas added an offensive lineman in the first-round, a pass rusher in the second-round, and a wide receiver in the third. That certainly qualifies as addressing important holes.
For a team that didn't have any musts heading in, the Cowboys sure did an amazing job of using their three most important picks on the biggest holes in their roster.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) April 30, 2022
There was some pushback on the first two selections, however. The Cowboys grabbed Tulsa offensive lineman Tyler Smith at No. 24 overall. Then, Dallas added Ole Miss edge rusher Sam Williams at No. 56. Based on pre-draft consensus rankings, the Cowboys could have gotten better value out of both selections.
Nonetheless, the Cowboys went out and identified prospects that they believe can fill critical roles on the team. Smith is expected to fill in at left guard early in his career with the potential to slide out to left tackle down the road.
The Cowboys emphasized pass protection in draft.
Smith is a raw prospect that might take some time for the Cowboys to develop; however he does feature intriguing upside thanks to impressive athletic ability. That points to an exciting ceiling along the offensive line.
Furthermore, the Cowboys appeared to have added a pair of players, including Smith, that should be able to protect Dak Prescott. After last season’s struggles, the Cowboys prioritized beefing up the trenches.
Between Smith and fifth-round selection Matt Waletzko, the Cowboys added two linemen that combined to give up just two sacks on the collegiate level. Dak Prescott has to be thrilled about those additions to the line that is protecting him.
Similarly to Smith, Waletzko is an athletic prospect that has the potential to develop into a contributor along the offensive line. Dallas clearly valued traits and upside in the draft.
The Dallas Cowboys have a proven and successful history of developing offensive linemen. Based on the stat above, Dallas may have added two more important quality blockers through the 2022 draft.
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