You can look at Dallas’ record last season (6-10) and assume the roster needs upgrades everywhere.
And that may well be true as the team plays Tampa Bay in the season-opener, but it doesn’t paint a complete picture.
Consider the following:
- Only one player along its offensive line played every game last season, left guard Connor Williams, while tackles La’el Collins (16 games) and Tyron Smith (14), and right guard Zack Martin (six) all missed significant time. Center Tyler Biadasz wound up starting four games as a fourth-round rookie.
- Dak Prescott started the first five games before fracturing his ankle. The team wound up using five QBs last season, including one start by seventh-round rookie Ben DiNucci.
- The defense was historically bad under since-fired defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, who tried to implement an entirely new system while dealing with pandemic restrictions.
So, Dallas loaded up on defense and added two offensive tackles in the offseason, including a fourth-round rookie in Josh Ball.
That makes predicting what Dallas does in the 2022 NFL draft somewhat problematic this early in the year.
You can probably rule out cornerback, at least in the first round, after the team drafted two on Day 2 in April. Likewise, the team drafted two defensive tackles, both of whom are expected to play this season. The same goes for wide receiver and linebacker, as the team is set at those positions (even if several players leave for free agency).
So what does that lead the team with?
Look for Dallas to draft a skill position player in the first round or any player at any position who unexpectedly drops, regardless of team need (ala CeeDee Lamb in 2019 or Micah Parsons in 2020).
Therefore, Dallas may decide to draft a safety, tight end or even a guard on Day 2. Here are three second-round possibilities:
- Safety Brandon Joseph, Northwestern: At 6-foot-2, 192 pounds, Joseph has the size the team is looking for at the position. Better yet, he’s also a turnover machine after trying for the national lead in interceptions as a sophomore last season. From Pro Football Network: “(Joseph) demonstrates excellent ball-tracking skills and possesses a pair of hands as secure as any defensive back in the class. His production isn’t simply a case of having the ball thrown to him; he routinely puts himself in a position to make a play. In addition to his ball-tracking skills and catchability, the Northwestern safety exhibits impressive body control.” Several evaluators peg Joseph as either a late first or a second-round pick.
- TE Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M: A 6-foot-5, 255-pound junior, Wydermyer is widely considered the best or second-best draft-eligible tight end in the upcoming draft, and he’s put up big numbers in his three years in College Station with 82 receptions for 989 yards and 12 TDs. Pro Football Focus ranks Wydermyer as its top tight end and No. 47 overall prospect, calling him “one of the best blocking tight ends in America.” PFF says Wydermyer had 15 broken tackles his first two seasons. One problem with the selection of Wydermyer: He might not be available in the second round, and even if he is, Dallas might have to trade up to get him.
- OG/OT Thayer Munford, Ohio State: Considered one of those “first-players-off-the-bus” types, Munford allowed just three pressures on 264 pass-blocking snaps last season, according to PFF, after giving up 24 the previous two seasons. But when the team lined up for its first game against Minnesota, Munford was starting at left guard – and he performed well there. Dallas likes versatility along its offensive line, and Munford would immediately slide in at left guard should Connor Williams leave via free agency.