Cowboys' Worst-Case 2022 NFL Draft Scenarios

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2022

Cowboys' Worst-Case 2022 NFL Draft Scenarios

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    The Dallas Cowboys will enter the 2022 NFL draft hoping for the same fortune that they've enjoyed in the last two drafts. 

    The Cowboys watched franchise cornerstones fall to them in 2020 and 2021. CeeDee Lamb surprisingly fell to the middle of the first round in the former, and then Micah Parsons came to them at No. 12 in the latter. 

    Part of that is a credit to the way the team has drafted. But it's also true they only have so much control over how the draft unfolds. 

    There are plenty of scenarios that would benefit the team. Another player of Lamb or Parsons caliber falling all the way to No. 24 would be great. However, there are also a couple of ways the draft could go wrong for them. 

    Here are a few examples. 

Giving Up Too Much to Move Up

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    Greg M. Cooper/Associated Press

    Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has made it known the Cowboys are willing and potentially interested in moving up from the No. 24 spot, but only to grab one of a few players they covet. 

    Trading up often gets a bad rep. Smart front offices are praised when they trade down to acquire more picks, but good trades to move up the board go unnoticed sometimes. For instance, the Dolphins probably don't regret moving up in last year's draft to get Jaylen Waddle. 

    There is reason to have some trepidation when it comes to moving up, though. 

    For one, there's a big difference between trading up a few spots to the middle of the first and giving up multiple first-rounders to get in the top 10. 

    If the Cowboys really believe they are getting a difference-maker in the middle of the first, it's worth parting with a fourth-rounder or later to get that done. Giving up multiple future picks to get up in the top 10 is less prudent. 

Using the 24th Pick on Kenyon Green

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    Sam Craft/Associated Press

    One of the Cowboys' objectives in this draft should be to find the next left guard after losing Connor Williams in free agency. Williams' penchant for drawing penalties in 2021 overshadowed the fact that he wasn't a bad starter on the line. 

    There's a handful of prospects who could help on the interior and are worthy of a first-round selection. Tyler Linerbaum (scouting report) plays center but would still make sense as a selection. Meanwhile, Zion Johnson (scouting report) is the best pure guard in the class, and Tyler Smith (scouting report) should start at guard even if he may eventually develop into a tackle. 

    If the Cowboys just choose to go with Kenyon Green (scouting report) in that spot it would be a mistake, even if those three are off the board

    Green is just OK as an athlete. His relative athletic score of 5.85 included a downright bad shuttle run and a 26-inch vertical. 

    The Texas A&M product can still produce. He's ranked 40th on Bleacher Report's big board. It's just that taking an interior offensive lineman in the first round should only be reserved for elite prospects. Green doesn't fit that criteria and wouldn't return great value. 

Reaching on Christian Watson

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    With the departure of Amari Cooper and the current market for receivers, the Cowboys should absolutely be interested in a receiver with the 24th pick. 

    However, that doesn't mean they should reach for one who isn't worth taking in the first round. 

    Christian Watson (scouting report) is one of those prospects who started the pre-draft process as a relative unknown but has become a little too highly valued throughout the process. 

    That's because the series of drills, athletic testing and measurements that come with the Senior Bowl, combine and pro days are set up to favor a prospect like Watson. He's a 6'4", 208-pound receiver with 4.36-second 40-yard speed. 

    Of course, that's going to sound really appealing this time of year, but his film doesn't necessarily show a guy who is worthy of going in the first round. According to PFF, he dropped 16 passes in his career at North Dakota State and had trouble tracking the ball at times. 

    The Cowboys need players who can come in right away and make an impact with their first pick. Watson might not be that guy.