The Cowboys’ biggest mistake from the 2022 NFL Draft
The Dallas Cowboys are now past the 2022 NFL Draft. To be fair, they had a pretty good haul, filling needs and adding depth players in positions that certainly need them. However, every team makes mistakes.
Although there’s no way to truly know how big of a mistake it was until we see how the Cowboys’ draftees play, there was a player that Dallas missed out on in Round 1. Instead of taking Tulsa OT Tyler Smith, the front office should have taken the prospect who ended up going two picks later: pass rusher Jermaine Johnson II.
Despite a really decent 2022 NFL Draft haul, the Cowboys made one really big mistake
There are three different and distinct ways to think about this. The first is from the perspective of strategy. When you look at the fact that they took a highly rated offensive lineman in Tyler Smith, 33rd ranked overall and fifth-ranked at his position by ESPN, you could say that the Cowboys took Smith when they had the chance.
However, with eight other linemen going off the board besides Smith before the Cowboys’ second-round pick, the Tulsa product likely would’ve still been on the board when the team was set to pick in Round 2. This is especially true when you think about the fact that some of those linemen were surprise selections (Cole Strange to New England, though you never question Belichick and especially about lineman) and not the exact OL position that Dallas wanted (centers).
Even still, it wouldn’t have taken a ton to move up had they needed to, and selecting Johnson in the first round would have been worth the capital moving up later to take Smith would have cost.
The second way to view it all involves their actual second-round pick. Perhaps Dallas passed on Johnson due to the splash-type nature of his production. Johnson only had one real elite year at Florida State, so they may have been afraid of getting burned by their first-round selection. However, they would take a “sack artist” with their actual second-round pick in De Williams, a guy that isn’t exactly said to be multiple as a run-stopper or defender but is said to be among the best out there at getting to the quarterback.
Taking a chance on a guy that’s described to be as one-dimensional right now could also burn them, so why not take the one that comes into the fold with an All-Pro type ceiling already? That though, like all great segues, leads into the third point.
Yes, the Cowboys had needs and holes to fill, to which they did a pretty good job with their selections. However, at the spot they selected in the first round, where several players are deserving enough of the selection, the best available approach was probably the best way to go there (as long as that best player available serves a need).
That would have certainly led to a Jermaine Johnson II selection. Again, the Cowboys didn’t make a bad pick with Smith, as his projection and playing style is a perfect fit for what the Cowboys need to do and how they need to play. Plus, Smith seems talented based on film and numbers and fills an immediate need.
However, passing up on a guy that could be one of the best players in the league might just be their only mistake of the draft. This is especially true given pass rushers and passers are the toast of the game. Tackles follow shortly after, but Smith is currently projected to start in the interior.