DALLAS — The 2022 NFL Draft is in the books, which means instant opinions are flying around more rapidly than winged monkeys at the Wicked Witch of the West's castle.
NFL.com's Chad Reuter gave the Dallas Cowboys a B grade for their overall body of work throughout the three-day, seven-round event.
Dallas started out Day 1 with a C-plus as they selected Tulsa guard/tackle Tyler Smith with the No. 24 overall pick in Round 1. The Cowboys may have used too much draft capital to take a talent like Smith who needs a little work to adapt to the pro game.
However, the Cowboys earned a B-plus grade on Day 2 as they chose Ole Miss defensive end Sam Williams (Round 2, No. 56) and South Alabama wide receiver Jalen Tolbert (Round 3, No. 88). Both picks help the Cowboys solve for roster situations that could come up in the next two to three years.
Day 3 saw Dallas pick Wisconsin tight end Jake Ferguson (Round 4, No. 129), North Dakota offensive tackle Matt Waletzko (Round 5, No. 155), Fresno State cornerback DaRon Bland (Round 5, No. 167), LSU linebacker Damone Clark (Round 5, No. 176), defensive tackle John Ridgeway (Round 5, No. 178), and Oklahoma State linebacker Devin Harper (Round 6, No. 193). The Cowboys earned a B grade for the final and busiest day of the proceedings.
"Smith could be a dominant run blocker if he’s able to improve in his patience and technique as he matures — or he could become a first-round offensive lineman who does not reach his potential," Reuter wrote. "Williams is a pass-rush talent, but there are off-field issues in his history. The Cowboys got good value in Tolbert, who could become a downfield threat."
The Cowboys picks seem to be the first step of a three-year plan to get younger and improve the quality of the roster rather than quick fixes that address immediate needs. Of the nine selections, Smith appears to be the only one who might jump in and take snaps as a starter as he will battle fourth-year Connor McGovern for the job at left guard. Williams and Tolbert could develop by the end of the season into reliable contributors, but the signings of Dorance Armstrong and Dante Fowler address Randy Gregory's departure as does James Washington's arrival patch the absence of Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson.
In order to stay competitive, the Cowboys need to keep having above-average drafts. Last year's draft was boosted heavily by the standout season linebacker Micah Parsons had. While there doesn't appear to be a superstar among the nine new faces, they nevertheless will help Dallas reload the roster as they endeavor to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in back-to-back seasons since 2006-07.
Do you think a B is a fair grade for the 2022 Cowboys draft class? Share your draft grade with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.