3 second-year Cowboys players to look out for in 2022

Cornerback Kelvin Joseph #24 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Cornerback Kelvin Joseph #24 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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With the 2022 NFL Draft around the corner, we wanted to take some time to reflect on the players the Dallas Cowboys drafted in 2021. Last year, the Cowboys selected 11 players to join the squad. There was the crown jewel of the class in Micah Parsons whose rookie season may be one of the best first-year campaigns in NFL history. There were guys like defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa who stepped up when getting increased playing time due to injuries. But, there were also names like Josh Ball who never played a snap in 2021.

In this article, we want to talk about three players from last year’s draft class who have the potential to have a breakout season in 2022. These players either didn’t get enough playing time, got injured, or weren’t able to make enough impact for some other reason last year. With several changes to the roster, these three Cowboys will have a chance to prove themselves and step up this upcoming season.

Keep in mind that we didn’t include names like Parsons and Odighizuwa because we felt those players did make their names known in 2021. That doesn’t mean those two won’t have great years in 2022, though.

3 2021 draft picks that Cowboys fans should look out for in 2022

Cowboys, Jabril Cox
Oct 31, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jabril Cox (14) is carted off with an injury during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports /

3. Jabril Cox, Linebacker

Ahead of the 2021 season, Jabril Cox was expected to have a great year. That sentiment continued after the release of linebacker Jaylon Smith. As a fourth-round selection by the Cowboys, Cox was seen as a steal for his talent in 2021. The former LSU Tiger had one of the best coverage pedigrees in the entire class.  In his time at North Dakota State and LSU, PFF gave him coverage grades of 87.4, 85.2, and 83.5.

The potential was real for Cox. Unfortunately, the rookie linebacker suffered an ACL tear in the Week 8 victory over the Minnesota Vikings just when he was starting to get more defensive snaps from Dan Quinn. The injury happened during one of his many special teams’ snaps.

Even before the release of Keanu Neal and the re-signing of Leighton Vander Esch, the Cowboys were excited for the LSU product to finally get his chance to prove himself in 2022. But with the release of Neal, the likelihood is that Cox will get to start alongside Parsons next season.

Plus, the team seems to have immense faith in him. At the NFL’s annual meetings in Florida last month, Stephen Jones was asked why the team didn’t make a deal with veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner. Part of his answer was his faith in the recovery and talent of Cox. Here’s what Jones said:

"“We feel great that he’s the right fit for what (coordinator) Dan (Quinn) wants to do defensively. Should be a big plus for us this year. He’ll probably fill right in where Keanu left off.”"

If he can stay healthy, 2022 will be a great opportunity for the linebacker. He will certainly get increased snaps and will hopefully pick up right where he left off before his injury.