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5 Biggest Winners From Cowboys 2022 Draft

Every draft brings a shift to the landscape that leaves some existing players feeling differently about their job security. Some come out of the draft in a better position than before and others even more threatened. Today, we're going to look at the five Cowboys who look like the biggest winners following Dallas' 2022 draft.

We all had thoughts before the draft of what positions might be targeted. Some got the attention we expected, such as and , while others didn't get touched until late in the draft if at all.

Granted, post-draft could still change things for some players. But as of today, based on where things stood before Thursday night compared to now, here are five Cowboys who saw their position on the team strengthened.

S Malik Hooker

The Cowboys didn't add any prospects until they started undrafted . That's good news for Hooker, who now appears to be going unchallenged as one of Dallas' starting safeties in 2022.

With his new contract only averaging $4 million per season and just 25% guaranteed, Malik's claim to a starting role was hardly certain. Had the Cowboys gone with a safety early in the draft then Hooker might've had a fight on his hands.

But now it appears Hooker and Jayron Kearse will walk into the first-team lineup this season. isn't a and would have to make a shocking leap to push Malik for that role.

At this point, the biggest threat to Hooker's job is his own body. The former 1st-rounder has battled injuries since entering the league and hopefully those days are behind him.

Cowboys TE Sean McKeon

TE Sean McKeon

Though Dallas did draft in the 5th Round, McKeon's been with the team for two seasons. An earlier pick at TE might've been bad for Sean's status but this gives him a strong opportunity to compete for the backup job.

While he went undrafted in 2020 McKeon has been protected on the 53-man roster for the last two years. And before you dismiss him as a former UDFA, remember that was starting in 2020 over before his Week 1 .

This isn't to say that Ferguson won't provide competition. This actually should be one of the more intriguing camp battles.

But had Dallas gone with a TE in the 3rd Round like many expected, that prospect would've walked in with some high expectations and almost guaranteed the TE2 role. Waiting until the 5th Round leaves things more open and allows McKeon's two years in the system to give him an .

LB Jabril Cox

The Cowboys didn't draft a until LSU's late in the 5th round. With LB seen as one of their biggest needs going in, this appears to be a strong endorsement for where the team sees as part of their future and hopefully his progress from last year's ACL tear.

Clark is dealing with his own injury and isn't expected to play at all in 2022. He was a Day 2 talent that fell after discovering he needs a spinal fusion surgery. This will be a “redshirt” season for Damone with the hope that he comes back next year and probably replaces .

A veteran could still be coming, but for now Dallas appears to be counting on Cox as a key contributor this season. Even if he doesn't start Jabril will need to be a big part of the LB rotation and especially the more that is tasked with rushing the passer.

Dallas' true faith in Cox will be seen in how they handle things between now and camp. But with the draft now behind him, Jabril can feel even more confident about his potential role with the Cowboys in 2022..

Rico Dowdle
Cowboys RB

RB Rico Dowdle

Like with Cox, Dowdle is having to come back from a season-ending injury. But given that it occurred in the , Rico has a great chance to return as RB3 and especially after Dallas didn't make any investments at the position during the draft.

Dowdle will certainly still have to compete for a roster spot. The versatility of players like and Sewo Olonilua could make them more valuable as potential fullbacks with emergency RB3 potential. Prospects JaQuan Hardy and new UDFA Aaron Shampklin are also in the mix, as is pure FB Nick Ralston.

If fully recovered, Dowdle provides snaps as a KR and in coverage duties. He's also flashed potential at running back and now has two years in the system to increase his perceived value.

Had the Cowboys spent any of their picks at RB it could've been closed the door on Rico and these other prospects. But Dowdle's presence may indeed be why Dallas didn't make that move.

DT Carlos Watkins

Another of the targeted positions in pre-draft analysis, DT didn't get any help until Arkansas' John Ridgeway in the 5th round. That may be bad news for Quinton Bohanna at the bottom of the depth chart but it was a welcome sight for and his role on the team.

Last year Watkins was the team's second-busiest DT, trailing only in total snaps for the season. Once came of IR there was a more steady three-way rotation between them, but Carlos remained relevant and that earned him a second one-year contract with Dallas this offseason.

If the pipe dream had happened last week, or even landing in the 2nd round, Watkins may not have even made it to training camp. But now Carlos should have the opportunity to remain a key part of Dallas' early-down . He started 14 games in 2021 and could easily return to that role now.

Jess Haynie
Jess Haynie
Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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