When reviewing the Dallas Cowboys 2022 rookie class, the team can be fairly happy with how their draft turned out.
Most analysts thought Tyler Smith was a reach for the Cowboys at 24th overall. They cited he was a major project for Dallas and he had penalty issues along with other things. But after just one season, Smith showed why he deserved to go that early in the 2022 NFL Draft.
He played three positions along the offensive line (left tackle, left guard, and right tackle) and showed flashes of his potential all season long. NFL Draft analysts are even going as far as saying that if Smith was a prospect in the 2023 draft class he would be the first lineman off the board.
Then, the Cowboys drafted players like Sam Williams, Jalen Tolbert, Jake Ferguson, and DaRon Bland with their next four picks. Williams, Ferguson, and Bland definitely showed glimpses of what they can do when given the opportunity.
The only player drafted in the first five rounds that didn’t contribute to Dallas’ roster last season was Tolbert. He was the team’s third-round pick in 2022.
Tolbert played four seasons at South Alabama and shined in his final season there. He caught 82 passes for 1,474 yards and eight touchdowns. But when the Cowboys needed another weapon on the outside during the season, the rookie never showed up.
In his first season, Tolbert caught just two passes for 12 yards. He played just 89 snaps in his rookie season and was a healthy scratch in nine of the Cowboys’ 17 games. It’ll be interesting to see if he becomes a part of Dallas’ offense next season
But two rookies that will be receiving more playing time next season are Williams and Bland. After both players stepped up last year they’ll be a big part of the Cowboys’ defense next season, according to Mike McCarthy.
On Wednesday, McCarthy spoke to reporters at the NFL Combine and spoke highly about his now second year players Smith, Williams, and Bland:
"I don’t know Tyler Smith can play any better as a rookie. For him to accomplish what he accomplished …. He’s got a great foundation. Sam Williams and DaRon Bland are players that will improve and get more snaps..I look for all of them to take that jump.”"
Smith was fantastic in his first year and played almost every snap for the Cowboys. But what did Williams and Bland do as rookies that ensures they’ll get more playing time next year?
Here’s a breakdown of what Williams and Bland did in their rookie seasons.