After the 2022 NFL Draft was completed, ESPN analyst Mel Kiper broke down the Dallas Cowboys overall draft and gave them an A-. Kiper wasn’t impressed by the Cowboys draft efforts beyond their first pick — the tackle Tyler Smith, who was selected from Tulsa. After a series of draft picks the analyst considers “unknown potential”, Kiper gave Dallas a final grade of “C-plus”.
Dallas’ draft was in a way defined by the wild first round that took place before they even reached the podium. Kiper and others thought that the most important area to draft was for their offensive and defensive line as well as the receiver position. Their draft plan was a bit more focused after losing Dallas talent like Randy Gregory and Amari Cooper.
Dallas didn’t have any options for skill positions because six receivers had already been taken. They selected No. 24 as their first round pick. 24 selected tackle Tyler Smith, a 6’5″‘, 324-pounder with questions about his technique as an offensive lineman. Kiper supported the decision but acknowledged the possibility that Dallas might have chosen a player not ready to develop.
Kiper stated that Smith needs to work hard on his technique but you can clearly see why he got in Round 1. Could he be a left guard in Year 1, and then move to one of the tackle spots in subsequent years? This might be the best way to get him onto the field.
According to Kiper, there were many questionable players in the draft and no one that made sense for Dallas’ needs.
“The Sam Williams (56) pick left me scratching my head. All he does is rush the passer. He isn’t good against the run. I would have taken him on Day 3,” began Kiper. “Jalen Tolbert (89) fills a need at wide receiver, but the more I think about it, the more I see some redundancy in what Michael Gallup already brings this offense. Jake Ferguson (129) is just a backup tight end based on what I saw on tape. He went too high. Linebacker Damone Clark (176) might turn into a good player, but he recently had spinal fusion surgery, so it’s really tough to use a fifth-round pick on an unknown injury.”
Kiper was disappointed by the inability to make big moves from Jerry Jones and Dallas. Their draft selections made it clear that they were focusing on the late rounds of run-stopping concerns. Dallas had four picks in the fifth round. Two of these were used to select Damone Clark (run-stopper) and John Ridgeway (passenger). Dallas lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs after their season was over. The 49ers ran the ball against a Dallas defense that had been impressive in the regular season.