FRISCO (Texas) — Dallas CowboysJerry Jones, Jerry Jones' general manager and owner of the draft, answered the question in the other way. The 2022 draft class would have been a disaster before any nine players practiced.
Is it possible for the Cowboys to be better?
“As much as we improved the team last year,” Jones said after the NFL draft concluded on Saturday. “I’m not exaggerating. You say, ‘My God, you had Micah [Parsons] leading the way there.’ I think we’ve got that kind of improvement from when we started the draft sitting right here.”
Parsons was 12th in the 2021 draft. The Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro were awarded to the linebacker. He set a Cowboys’ rookie record with 13 sacks. He was named the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year. He turned around an ineffective defense.
The Cowboys have also improved during an offseason when they traded receivers Amari Cooper, Offense tackle La'el CollinsFree agency was a disaster for several key contributors, including defensive end. Randy GregoryGuard Connor WilliamsBoth the receiver and sender Cedrick Wilson. Were they able to improve enough to keep the NFC East in their sights? With a 22.2-point margin of victory on average, the Cowboys were 6-0 against the division. Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Commanders New York GiantsHave a lot of work to catch up.
The Cowboys’ class is not sexy the way it was when they got Parsons in the first round last year or when they lucked into receiver CeeDee LambBefore selecting corner, the 17th overall pick was made in 2020 Trevon DiggsIn the second round.
It can’t be that sexy when the first-round pick is at No. 24th overall and was Tulsa's offensive lineman Tyler Smith. However, the class can still be very effective.
The Cowboys won’t put Smith’s name in ink as a starter at left guard just yet, but it’s at least in pencil.
“The No. 1 thing is, he’s a big, athletic, physical man that’s going to play in a big, athletic, physical league,” vice president of player personnel Will McClay said.
Second-round selection Sam Williams can help replace Gregory’s six sacks and quarterback pressures from last season after the linebacker had success (12.5 sacks in 2021) against first-rate SEC competition. Third round pick Jalen TolbertAlthough he might have come from a small school in South Alabama, the receiver rushed for 1,474 yards in 2021. These numbers are similar to what? Michael GallupColorado State, where he was trained before the Cowboys selected him in the third round.
Gallup will miss at most a few games as he heals from a torn anteriorcruciate in his left knee. Tolbert, however, will have the opportunity to catch valuable snaps of Lamb and Tolbert. James Washington.
The Cowboys won the fourth round. Jake FergusonBlake Jarwin was replaced by a tightened end room. Two-TE sets were a success for the Cowboys last year. They averaged 6.4 yards per play. Ferguson can improve that. Dalton Schultz, Sean McKeon Jeremy Sprinkle.
Just don’t call it a draft for need.
“Absolutely not,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said.
Jones said the Cowboys entered the draft without any “musts,” but they certainly had questions.
Smith was the Cowboys' top-rated offensive lineman when they selected him in the first round. Williams was a top-rated second-round pick and the Cowboys almost selected Tolbert at No. 56 overall in Round 2. They felt that a receiver would be more likely to go to No. 88, rather than a pass-rusher.
“I would say those positions that were [blinking] to us when we were picking, I think it was just sorting through when was the best time to get these players,” Jones said. “Whether the best guy right off the bat is the lineman, take him. If it would’ve been the pass-rusher, then take him. But I think we did a really good job of working through our board.”
On the draft’s third day, the Cowboys had at least a fourth-round grade on each of their first five picks, according to Jones. Fifth-round linebacker Damone ClarkHe was a third round grade, but he fell due to a spinal fusion that will keep him off-the field for at least some of the season. He could be the most valuable find in the class if he is fully fit and healthy in 2023.
Smith is fifth-round tackle Matt WaletzkoThe 2021 fourth-rounder Josh BallJerry Jones stated that the Cowboys won't need to add a veteran backup swing tackle. Cornerback DaRon BlandSixth-rounder Devin Harpercan make a significant contribution to special teams. The Cowboys’ fourth fifth-rounder, John RidgewayHe brings the Cowboys the size (6-foot-6, 325 pounds) they need for defensive tackle.
“That’s the best I’ve ever seen us work it in a draft room with a combination of how we ended up with these players,” Jones said.
This is the Cowboys’ third draft class with Mike McCarthy as coach. Three Pro Bowlers (Lamb and Diggs) were produced in the first two drafts. The third class included three starters (DT), as well as three Pro Bowlers (Parsons, Diggs, and Parsons). Neville GallimoreC Tyler BiadaszDT Osa Odighizuwa) with some questions remaining on some other 2021 draftees like CB Kelvin Joseph, DE Chauncey GolstonCB Nahshon Wright.
“Draft and develop is the bloodline, lifeline of how you want to build your team inside and out,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy believes the 2022 class has staying power even though it may not be immediately star-worthy.
“We drafted nine players. Yeah, yeah, we got a lot better here the last few days,” McCarthy said. “That’s very important. These guys, I think are obviously very talented, all are very good fits for how we want to play.”