The Dallas Cowboys hit a home run in the 2022 draft, and fans are hoping they replicate a similar level of efficiency this time around.
First-round pick Tyler Smith was a roaring success, as he looks to be the franchise’s left tackle of the future when Tyron Smith hangs it up. The only blemish on the 2022 class sadly was third-round pick Jalen Tolbert.
Tolbert generated the most excitement amongst fans in the immediate aftermath of the draft, and understandably so given the state of the WR corps, Smith’s rawness as a prospect, and the career Tolbert put together at South Alabama.
When the dust settled on the 2022 season, though, Tolbert was outshined by second-round selection Sam Williams, fourth-rounder Jake Ferguson and fifth-round defenders DaRon Bland and Damone Clark.
Fans were quick to jump on Tolbert for not performing, but the player took full accountability and is using it as a learning experience.
Cowboys WR Jalen Tolbert is ready to bounce back in 2023
That’s an awesome clip from Tolbert.
If fans recognize how disappointing his rookie season was, how do you think the player feels? Though he fell to the third round (No. 88 overall), Tolbert was regarded as one of the best mid-round WRs in last year’s class.
While Tolbert only caught two passes last season and was inactive for 10 games, including the final five regular season fixtures and two playoff games, it’s important to note that several receivers drafted in the second and third rounds didn’t live up to expectations.
That includes Skyy Moore (No. 54 overall), Tyquan Thornton (No. 50 overall), Velus Jones Jr. (No. 71 overall), and David Bell (No. 99 overall).
That’s not to say we should normalize wonky production from talented players, but it’s well-documented that rookie receivers don’t always hit the ground running. There are obvious exceptions to the rule, like Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, Garrett Wilson, and Chris Olave, but those guys are former elite recruits who were dubbed first-round picks the moment they stepped foot on campus.
The talent is undoubtedly there with Tolbert. It’s just a matter of if the Year 1 learning curve will allow him to contribute next season.
The Cowboys added Brandin Cooks to pair with CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, and there’s potential for Dallas to add another receiver just a few weeks from now in the draft so the pressure is on for Tolbert to impress this offseason.
He’s certainly saying all the right things, and we’re rooting hard for him to turn it around next season after watching this clip.