Mel Kiper Jr. bakes Cowboys’ risk into very low 2022 NFL Draft grade

Apr 28, 2011; New York, NY, USA; ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 28, 2011; New York, NY, USA; ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports /

Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. handled giving out ESPN’s official grades to all 32 NFL teams after the draft. We know that not everyone loves Kiper Jr. and his opinions, but let’s also remember that it was the ESPN analyst who happened to mock Tyler Smith to the Dallas Cowboys on the morning of the 2022 NFL Draft. He definitely knows more than the average football guy. While his last-minute premonition of Smith going to Dallas caused quite the uproar before the draft, his very low grade for the Cowboys’ overall draft haul isn’t making fans too happy either.

Of course, every single prospect from the first overall pick to the last is an unknown. We have no idea who will thrive in the NFL and who won’t. That’s why Tom Brady being the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft is such an incredible story. However, that doesn’t stop analysts from giving out grades. Sadly, Kiper Jr. had the Cowboys at the very bottom. Thankfully (although it’s more a consolation prize), Dallas wasn’t alone as they tied for the lowest grade with the New England Patriots. Both teams earned a C+ from Kiper Jr.

Although Dallas certainly used their draft selections to address a slew of positional needs, it seems the ESPN analyst didn’t fully understand all of the choices. Kiper Jr. understood that with six wide receivers off the board, the Cowboys were going to stick with an offensive lineman at 24th overall. He even respected Smith’s impressive tape, but he also mentioned that his technique needs a ton of work.

From there, the analysis got worse. Kiper Jr. said the selection of Sam Williams in Round 2 had him “scratching [his] head.” Why? Williams primarily rushes the passer, but Kiper Jr. doesn’t feel he offers any skill against the run, which the Cowboys need. He also felt Dallas took Williams too early. As far as Jalen Tolbert goes, the analyst believes that the wide receiver brings skills that Michael Gallup already offers to the receiver corps.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. gives the Cowboys the lowest draft class grade because there are “too many unknowns”

When it came to the fourth-round selection of Jake Ferguson and the fifth-round selection of Damone Clark, the analyst thought both went too high. He didn’t feel Ferguson offered much and felt taking a risk on an injured player with a fifth-round pick wasn’t worth it. Was there anything Kiper Jr. did like about this class? It seems like the answer to that is no.

Here are his final thoughts on the 2022 draft haul:

"“I think that’s it; this class just has too many unknowns. We don’t know if Smith can definitely be a good guard or that Williams can definitely be an every-down player. Tolbert has good hands but is still raw. This is a risky group.”"

Obviously, we hope all of these picks prove Kiper Jr. wrong. Only time will tell.

Next. How Are Experts Grading the Cowboys' Draft Haul?. dark