Cowboys 2022 NFL Mock Draft: Roundup of B/R Staff, Kiper and Expert Picks
The 2022 NFL draft is a little more than a week away, and the Dallas Cowboys are poised to address key needs and replace offseason departures.
Amari Cooper, La'el Collins, Cedrick Wilson Jr., Connor Williams and Randy Gregory are all 2021 contributors who are no longer in Dallas.
The Cowboys are armed with nine total selections, including the 24th pick in Round 1. Every pick will be important, but heading into the draft, fans are most curious about how Dallas handles the first round.
It's impossible to know who will be available at No. 24, whom Dallas is targeting or whether the Cowboys will trade out of that spot. However, we can get a feel for what Dallas might do by dissecting the expert predictions. That's precisely what we'll do here, beginning with the pick from the Bleacher Report Scouting Department.
B/R Scouting Department: Zion Johnson, G, Boston College
The B/R Scouting Department mock draft was crafted by a group of experts—Brandon Thorn, Brent Sobleski, Cory Giddings, Derrik Klassen and Nate Tice—and based on what the group believes teams will do, not its prospect rankings.
Trades were not a part of the B/R mock.
The Scouting Department's pick for Dallas was Boston College interior offensive lineman Zion Johnson. It's a logical choice in the wake of Williams' departure and represents solid value. Johnson is the 20th-ranked prospect on the B/R board.
"This would be a dream pairing for a team in the Cowboys with unmatched success drafting at the position," Thorn wrote. "With a hole at left guard, they'd get the highest-rated guard, who happens to be most comfortable on the left side."
While Johnson might not make it to No. 24 in a different draft, there's a reasonable chance that he will be available for the Cowboys. According to ESPN's Matt Miller, early-round positional runs could push linemen down the draft order.
"One source I spoke to this week expected notable names to be available 'into the teens' as quarterbacks and wide receivers dominate the top 15," Miller wrote.
If Johnson is there at No. 24 come April 28, Dallas could be quick to pull the trigger.
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.: Arnold Ebiketie, DE, Penn State
Mocks from ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. have become a draft-season staple, and his most recent includes predictions for the first two rounds. Kiper's mock also allows for trades, and his picks are based on a combination of prospect rankings, team needs and insider buzz.
Kiper looks to the other side of the ball and has the Cowboys taking Penn State edge-rusher Arnold Ebiketie. Again, this is a sensible choice, as Dallas lost Gregory in free agency. He was the only player besides rookie phenom Micah Parsons to top five sacks for the Cowboys in 2021.
Here's what Kiper had to say about the pick:
"Todd McShay is getting tired of me talking up Ebiketie, but I'm a fan. I wanted to find a fit for him in Round 1. The Temple transfer really improved last season, putting up 9.5 sacks. He has a powerful lower body and knows how to use his hands. The Cowboys have to find a way to replace Randy Gregory, and Ebiketie could help. They could also target a guard or wide receiver here."
Ebiketie isn't one of the biggest names in the rookie edge-rusher pool—those are Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux, Aidan Hutchinson of Michigan and late-rising Georgia product Travon Walker. However, he's a supremely talented prospect and the 27th-ranked player on the B/R board.
Kiper has Dallas taking Washington State offensive tackle Abraham Lucas in Round 2 (56th overall). He seems much higher on Lucas than the B/R Scouting Department, which has him as its 182nd-ranked prospect.
The Athletic's Bruce Feldman: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
The Athletic's Bruce Feldman takes an interesting approach to the mock draft exercise. While he does predict what he believes a team will do, he first speaks to coaches, college football insiders and NFL sources to form his opinions—and he includes relevant quotes as part of his mock.
Kiper noted that picking a receiver would make sense for the Cowboys, and that's the route Feldman took in his mock. He has Arkansas wideout Treylon Burks going to Dallas at No. 24, saying:
"The Cowboys could use another edge-rusher, but I'm not convinced they would go for someone like Minnesota's Boye Mafe here. Could they go for an O-lineman here, in versatile prospect [Kenyon] Green? Ultimately, they get receiver help and jump on Burks, a big, physical talent with huge hands from Jerry Jones' alma mater."
On source touted Burks' versatility to Feldman: "They did a ton of stuff with him. He's a huge dude who bullies people. He also tracks the ball well. He's pretty raw, and he was playing in a funky offensive system, but he's such a good, pure athlete."
This feels like a luxury pick; the Cowboys have a talented trio of pass-catchers in Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb and tight end Dalton Schultz. However, Dallas did part with both Wilson and Cooper, so it's not an illogical choice by any stretch.
Burks, who tallied 1,104 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns last season, is the 15th-ranked prospect on the B/R board. If Dallas can land him at No. 24, it would be getting a great value.
This makes it three mocks, three players and three positions in Round 1, reinforcing the idea that Dallas is a wild card on opening night.