The Dallas Cowboys will enter the 2022 NFL Draft with a lenghty shopping list, despite their pre-draft talk, after an uneven free agency that focused on keeping as many players as possible as opposed to signing outside help. The Cowboys found themselves losing starters at defensive end, wide receiver and left guard. Of those three, the consensus is that guard and wide receiver are the most likely positions the Cowboys could look to address early in the draft.
Dallas has a fairly strong track record of taking the best player available (BPA) in Round 1 but have deviated from that from time to time. Could this be one of those exceptions or will Dallas stick to their drafting playbook?
Dallas’ recent draft history shows there is a fairly large chance they let the draft fall to them and will not trade up, however, that remains a possibility depending on how the rest of the board plays out. In this mock draft, we will defer to the Cowboys normal draft protocol and will not entertain trading up or down.
1.24: Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College
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The Cowboys used 7 of their top 30 pre-draft visits on offensive linemen, approximately 23% of their visits on one unit. With a glaring hole at left guard the Dallas Cowboys are delighted to see their top two guards both on the board with Zion Johnson and Kenyon Green both available. Johnson, a 6-foor-3, 213-pound prospect with 34″ arms has played 1,496 snaps at left guard since 2019 as well as 786 snaps at left tackle. He put up 32 reps on the bench press at the combine and measured in the 80th percentile or higher in seven of the top ten categories at the NFL Combine.
From a measureables standpoint he looks the part and allowed just three sacks in over 2,000 snaps at Boston College and graded in the 81st percentile of all guards in run blocking in 2021 per PFF.
2.56: George Pickens, WR, Georgia
(Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
If there was ever a player that epitomized the Cowboys second-round draft philosophy, it’s Georgia wide receiver George Pickens. Pickens is a 6-foot-3, 195-pound WR with potential elite mixed with injury concerns and rumblings of character issues.
From a production standpoint he produced 90 receptions for 1,347 yards and 14 touchdowns in his time with Georgia and flashed big-play potential. There were questions about his speed heading into the draft after his ACL injury in 2021 but he answered those with a 4.47 40-yard dash at the combine. He has top-15 overall traits but a mixed bag of production along with some character concerns make his true draft range hard to pinpoint. He could be a first-round pick or find his stock falling towards the mid-2nd round.
Dallas has shown a pinchant for taking chances on players in Round 2 who may have question marks that pushed them down further than where their game film suggests, and Pickens fits the bill as a prototypical second round target for the Cowboys.
3.88: Jelani Woods, TE, Virginia
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Continuing the theme of fortifying the Cowboys offense, Dallas finds themselves with a need for tight end and Woods being the best player available at this spot.
The Cowboys utilized 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TEs and 2WR’s) on 24% of their snaps in 2021 attempt averaging 4.8 yards per carry and 8.6 yards per carry. With the departure of Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz playing on the franchise tag, the Cowboys find themselves with a question mark long-term.
The Virginia tight end stands 6-foot-7 and weighs 269 pounds. With 34″ arms and a 4.61 40, he has the size and athleticism to replace Jarwin. Woods caught 44 receptions for 598 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2021. A converted-QB who transferred from Oklahoma State, he is still a bit raw in his development as a route runner and has shown a tendency to body-catch, but his traits all rank in the top 80th percentile or higher in each major athletic category and his 61.1% contested catch rate ranked the highest of any of the four tight ends the Cowboys brought in for a draft visit.