While the NFL Draft always looks like a big party in its presentation, not everyone comes out of the weekend happy. Veterans on rosters throughout the league may feel very threatened by the addition of a fresh-faced rookie with a cheap contract. Which Dallas Cowboys could be feeling that way in 2022?
Yesterday we looked at some of the biggest winners from Dallas' draft; players whose prospects of making the team or having a significant role were strengthened and solidified by the 2022 rookie class. Today we're looking at who may have very well lost their roles, and even their roster spots, to the influx of new talent.
Here are the five biggest losers following the Cowboys' 2022 draft.
DE Tarell Basham
Basham saw a lot of snaps in 2021 thanks to absences from DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory. But things were already looking bad for Tarell after Dallas re-signed Dorance Armstrong and added Dante Fowler in free agency. Now that Sam Williams was also added in the 2nd round, the numbers are starting to look bad for the veteran.
The Cowboys are starting to develop a surplus of defensive ends. Lawrence is still the primary, Armstrong and Fowler are expected to fill the Gregory void, plus now there's Williams and Chauncey Golston as young depth who need snaps for future development.
This leaves Basham feeling like the sixth man in the group. With LB Micah Parsons also likely to see time as a pass rusher, Dallas may very well decide they don't need a sixth DE when they form their final roster.
It also doesn't help Tarell that the Cowboys can clear $1.75 million in cap space by releasing him. Even if it doesn't come until final cuts, that space goes into the rollover for 2023 and could ultimately be Basham's undoing.
WR Simi Fehoko
Sure, we didn't expect Dallas to come out of the draft without any help at WR. But getting Tolbert in the 3rd round seems to have rounded out the team's top-four receivers with the rookie, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and James Washington.
With Gallup expected to miss at least the first month of the regular season, Fehoko may get some playing time as a temporary WR4 but still has to compete with veteran Noah Brown for that role. Simi will need to display a major leap forward this summer if he wants to improve his footing on the depth chart.
G Connor McGovern
Nobody may have had a worse time during this draft than McGovern. Not only did Dallas find their new left guard with Tyler Smith in the 1st round, but the team even hyped up Matt Farniok as a candidate at center over the fourth-year veteran.
The bloom is definitely off the rose for the former 3rd-round pick. McGovern's brief time as the starting LG last year was bad enough that the Cowboys went back to Connor Williams despite the penalties and having no intent of re-signing him this offseason.
Dallas' choices and comments last Thursday night indicate they're not factoring Connor McGovern into their future plans, either. And given the near $2.5 million in cap space they could save by releasing him, McGovern may very well be fighting for his roster spot this summer against guys like Farniok and UDFA Alec Lindstrom.
DT Quinton Bohanna
Bohanna may have seen his roster spot disappear the moment Dallas drafted Arkansas' John Ridgeway in the 5th round. Dallas has room for so many developmental nose tackles and Ridgeway is the shinier new toy.
There was some excitement last year for what Quinton might be able to contribute as a big-bodied tackle in a group that sorely needed it. But the rookie struggled to make an impact and was giving up snaps to the undersized Carlos Watkins by the end of the year.
Dallas may very well keep both Bohanna and Ridgeway, perhaps moving on from Watkins or Trysten Hill instead at final cuts. But given the niche role of the nose tackle on this defense and the limited snaps for whoever has it, it feels more like the Cowboys drafted Ridgeway to upgrade their developmental spot and could be pushing Bohanna off the roster.
HC Mike McCarthy
Let's face it; Dallas drafted more on future potential than current contribution this year. Tyler Smith should boost the LG spot but is far from a finished product. Sam Williams may need some work before he can push Dorance Armstrong. LB Damone Clark probably won't even play in 2022.
Given the swirling rumors about Sean Payton and just the general hot seat that he seems to be on, Mike McCarthy can't be thrilled with his team's talent acquisition this offseason. Between a lack of aggressiveness in free agency and now a future-minded draft class, McCarthy has to be wondering if this team is being prepared for the next guy.
But getting to the playoffs is just a running joke now for this organization. The early exits are the issue and right now there's legitimate concern that the Cowboys aren't going to be anymore competitive this season. In fact, you could make the case that they may not even be as good.
That's bad news for the current head coach. McCarthy's on shaky ground and especially with Payton, a Jones family favorite and one of the “ones who got away,” lurking in the background. Mike needs a big year to solidify his place in the organization and, unfortunately for him, this draft class may not be able to contribute quickly enough to help him.