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After Defense-Heavy 2021 Draft, Will Cowboys Focus on Offense in 2022?

In last year's draft the Cowboys picked six defensive players before finally adding help on . With the finally upon us, could Dallas be looking to put the same focused energy into the other side of the ball with this rookie class?

The Cowboys had an usual bevy of draft picks in the first four rounds of 2021; seven overall thanks to compensatory selections. It was no surprise when they went in the 1st Round, but instead of one of the cornerbacks that had long been projected we got LB .

No regrets, right?

Dallas' draft continued to surprise as the defensive players kept coming: CB , DT Osa Odihizuwa, CB , DE , CB Nahshon Wright, and LB . It wasn't until OT was drafted in the 4th round that an offensive player was added.

As a team with historically balanced drafting year to year, Dallas' 2021 class was an outlier. But if balance is their typical goal, could the Cowboys seek to find it by making this year's draft similarly one-sided towards offense?

The foundation for an offensively-focused draft has certainly been laid. The departures of , , , , and have pulled the OL, WR, and TE positions to the top of pre-draft conversations.

Many draft projections for 2022 have the Cowboys going with an interior offensive lineman in the 1st round and then a WR in the 2nd, or vice versa. If that is how it unfolds, it's not unreasonable to see a TE or OT being drafted in the 3rd round if there's a top talent who falls.

But whereas Dallas was deep at most of those positions last year and able to stand pat on current talent, the defense isn't nearly as well-stocked now. The Cowboys would certainly be justified to consider help on the or at early in this draft based on their needs.

The last time that Dallas had a one-sided draft was in 2017, going all defense the first two days before finally taking WR in the 4th round. But the drafts before and after were very balanced; 60/40 splits between offensive and defensive picks in the first five picks.

The glass-half-empty perspective for 2022 is that the Cowboys have a lot of holes to fill and opportunities to improve, which is accurate. But optimistically, that means Dallas can truly go “best player available” this week and focus on talent over needs.

That philosophy makes the Cowboys versatile and harder to predict. It gives them leverage in discussions and increases their of coming out of this draft with special players.

In the end, an offense-heavy may be a product of circumstance over any pre-draft strategy. But if Dallas lean on that side of the ball this week, filling their roster with young defensive prospects last year will certainly be a contributing factor.

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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Sam

Think I prefer to look at the team in terms of “trench” vs “peripheral” players, with considerable being given to whether or not the team is generally lacking in size inside or speed outside.

When it is both, you have problems.

Peripheral players sell tickets and get headlines, but IMO you can win with JAGS on the outside, when you are strong in the trenches.

I think this team needs more size inside offensively, and a commitment to utilize those assets in a much more determined way to be successful.

gary b

I agree. This team needs to build from the inside out. They have allocated enough resources to skill position players. A good OL will make everyone on offense look better.

Find a stud 1-tech that can dominate the LOS and find a G that can anchor and get some push in the run game. Then maybe a good LB in the 3rd, TE in the 4th and RB in the 5th.

gary b

My preference:

1st round- J Davis if he falls, which is unlikely

Or

OL Green/Johnson

Or

LB D Lloyd

2nd round- DT T Jones, G Kinnard, LBs C Harris or C Muma

3rd round- Whichever we don’t get in the 2nd or a stud slot WR if one is available.

4th round- TE

5th round- RB

VAM

For me, a fairly even mix. The obvious first need is LG, as they lost their starter there and the backup has been, let’s say, “uneven” so far. After that DT, as the run defense has continued to be a sore spot, despite the infusion of a number of recent additions. As they lost three WRs, including their number 1 this offseason, one would think a WR or two should be in the mix. Then with the uncertainty of the knucklehead “rapper” CB, they may dip in there. Then in no finite order RB, LB, DE, LT.

lonewolfz28

Then there is the lack of long term solutions at FS. Yeah, they have the oft injured Malik Hooker for this year and next. But, I’m not getting warm fuzzies about Mukuamu in general and at FS in particular.

I agree, way too many areas of need on both sides of the ball to be concentrating picks on one side or the other.

Besides, when you concentrate a bunch of picks on one side of the ball, or even worse, one position group, that means you may end up with a bunch of contracts coming due at the same time. You don’t want half your OL coming up for new contracts the same year. Same goes for DL, CB, WR, etc. That’s basically what happened at S, LB, and to some extent WR (made worse by shedding Cooper) this off season.

Combined with their perpetually tight cap space, it gets ugly quickly trying to keep a cohesive team together.

VAM

Hey Lone, good point about the contracts! I hope the FO looks at some of these comments, they may learn a thing or two. Seriously.

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