Mel Kiper Mock Draft has Cowboys swiping National Champion pass rusher
By Jerry Trotta
The Dallas Cowboys‘ playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers locked them into the No. 24 overall pick in the 2022 draft.
Given how many Cowboys have uncertain futures — starters Randy Gregory, Michael Gallup, Jayron Kearse and Dalton Schultz, to name a few, are set to hit free agency — the front office could adopt the familiar “best player available” strategy.
Just in the last two years, that method has helped Dallas net stars like CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons. That obviously isn’t to say they should draft a WR in the first round, but if the highest player on their big board fills a position of need, then by all means grab him.
With the 2022 order largely set aside from a few teams, the biggest names in the draft industry are starting to come out of hiding.
That includes ESPN expert Mel Kiper Jr., whose first mock draft of the offseason, published this week, is all the rage right now (subscription required).
When it comes to the Cowboys, Kiper identified Georgia pass rusher Travon Walker as the selection at No. 24 overall.
Would Georgia DE Travon Walker be a good fit with the Cowboys?
As we noted earlier, Gregory’s future will likely determine whether the Cowboys spend a first-round pick on a defensive end. At the same time, though, it never hurts to build for the future and even if Gregory is re-signed, Dallas’ starting edge rushers would both be entering their age-30 season.
Like Kiper said, “every team covets edge rushers,” and here’s why the veteran draft guru thinks Walker could be the pick for Dallas.
"” . . . Walker, whom (Todd) McShay recently called ‘one of the most underrated prospects in the class,’ stands out every time I watch the loaded Georgia defense. He can blow up tackles at the point of attack, and he has the physical traits to chase down ball carriers in the run game. At 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds, he has some scheme versatility at the next level.”"
Georgia’s championship defense is littered with first-round talents, but Walker had no problem standing out among the star-studded group. The young defensive end enjoyed a career year as a junior in 2021, posting 33 tackles (7.5 for loss), six sacks, 32 QB hits, two passes defended and a fumble recovery.
You know what Kiper said about Walker being able to “chase down ball carriers? Well, check out this incredible hustle play he made in the National Championship Game. It’s almost unfathomable how impressive it is.
Yup, we’ll take him on the Cowboys in a heartbeat.
Between his size, length, explosion rate off the snap and ability to win with quickness or power based on the matchup, Walker is everything you could want in a modern-day pass rusher. Like most young DEs, the Bulldogs star needs to add more secondary moves to his arsenal, but that will come with time.
Bottom line? If Walker ends up being the pick, fans will have very little to complain about, even if it means passing on a safety, cornerback or linebacker.