Underrated Prospects Cowboys Must Prioritize in 2022 NFL Draft

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistApril 4, 2022

Underrated Prospects Cowboys Must Prioritize in 2022 NFL Draft

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    The offseason wins have been few and far between for the Dallas Cowboys in 2022.

    It started when Dallas traded away wideout Amari Cooper. Dallas got some valuable cap space, but the return—a 2022 fifth-round pick and a swapping of 2022 sixth-round picks—left plenty to be desired. After watching the Miami Dolphins get a third-round pick for DeVante Parker and a fifth-round pick, it seems even worse.

    The Cowboys also lost pass-rusher Randy Gregory and starting guard Connor Williams in free agency and released right tackle La'el Collins. Dallas did lock up Michael Gallup, extend DeMarcus Lawrence and franchise-tag Dalton Schultz while adding Dante Fowler Jr. and James Washington. However, it's hard to argue that the Cowboys are better (on paper) than they were at the start of March.

    Of course, a lot can and will change in the 2022 draft, wherein the Cowboys hold nine selections.

    While much of the media focus in the coming weeks will be on what Dallas does early, it's important to remember that a draft isn't won on the opening night alone. With this in mind, let's examine three prospects Dallas should consider in Round 3 or later.

Jaivon Heiligh, WR, Coastal Carolina

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    The Cowboys could well use an early pick on a receiver to help replace Cooper. Even if they do, though, they should take a long look at Coastal Carolina receiver Jaivon Heiligh later in the draft.

    Dallas also lost complementary receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr. in free agency, and Heiligh could be the perfect replacement. Capable of playing both on the perimeter and inside, he would be a versatile addition to a receiving corps that now features Gallup, Schultz, Washington and CeeDee Lamb.

    "Heiligh is a long, twitchy outside receiver who can play a handful of snaps from the slot because of his body control and feel for space," Nate Tice of the B/R Scouting Department wrote. "He has good hands and is very comfortable using his length to extend for throws away from his body."

    The Coastal Carolina product is the 88th-ranked prospect on the Bleacher Report Scouting Department's big board and should be available near the back of Round 3. This doesn't mean, however, that Heiligh cannot make an early impact.

    Last season with the Chanticleers, Heiligh tallied 1,128 yards and seven touchdowns on only 66 receptions.

Spencer Burford, OT, UTSA

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    The Cowboys have multiple needs around the offensive line and could take several swings at the unit in the draft.

    UTSA product Spencer Buford isn't polished enough as a pass-protector to be an immediate starter. However, he has experience at both tackle spots and on the interior. He's also a powerful run-blocker who fits with Dallas' desired physical identity.

    "Burford is highly effective as a run-blocker on the back side of zone runs," Brandon Thorn of the B/R Scouting Department wrote. "He bangs down and climbs to line up second-level targets off combo blocks and tracks down targets in the screen game and as a puller using his quickness, angles and alertness on the move."

    While the Cowboys couldn't count on Buford starting in Week 1, he would be a great depth addition for 2022 and perhaps a full-time starter down the road. The 117th-ranked prospect on the B/R board, Buford could be available on Day 3 and would be worth trading up to acquire—Dallas owns the 129th pick (Round 4).

Cam Taylor-Britt, CB, Nebraska

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    The Cowboys have a secondary capable of creating takeaways—Dallas led the NFL with 26 interceptions. However, the Cowboys could use depth in what was very much a boom-or-bust unit.

    Dallas ranked 20th in passing yards allowed and 18th in yards per pass attempt surrendered.

    If the Cowboys aren't inclined to target a corner early, they could take a middle-round flier on Nebraska's Cam Taylor-Britt. The 139th-ranked prospect on the B/R board, Taylor-Britt is a physical cover man who can also aid Dallas in run support.

    "Cam Taylor-Britt's toughness and physicality is on display every game he plays," Cory Giddings of the B/R Scouting Department wrote. "As someone who does his best work when playing the run game, Taylor-Britt embraces contact."

    Taylor-Britt might not be ready to start right away, but he would be a terrific developmental corner who could also contribute in obvious run situations. The Cowboys ranked just 23rd in yards per carry (4.5) allowed last season.