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Cowboys 2022 Roster Projection: Post-Draft Edition

The 2022 NFL Draft is in the books and many undrafted free agents have already found homes. Based on the current state of their roster after these events, how are the looking as they restock and retool for next season?

With nine newly drafted rookies and plenty more UDFAs freshly signed, Dallas has a lot of new factors to consider in this early projection. And with Stephen Jones already stating that the team isn't done in yet, which is consistent with recent history, more talent will likely added over the next few months before .

But if the season did start tomorrow, what could the Cowboys be putting on the field?

Offense Depth Chart (23)

With Prescott proving he was back to good health last year, only one missed game after the major 2020 injury, Dallas can afford to skip on a third QB this season if they want. If the new practice squad rules stay in effect it's much easier to keep an emergency guy there than securing him with a roster spot. Cooper Rush and should have a good battle but I'll stick with Rush for now.

It could be that Rico Dowdle, Ryan Nall, and other backs will all be fighting for the same roster spot. But with their added ability to contribute on special teams, Dowdle and Nall have a paths to both make the team. Using Nall as a lead blocker could also be a boost to the running game, which hasn't looked as good since became a Raider.

Michael Gallup probably starts the year on injured reserve or the Physically Unable to Perform list, which means he doesn't count in the math here. Adding Jalen Tolbert in the 3rd round gives the Cowboys a much-needed boost for Gallup's absence and hopefully enough to get by. This is one spot where another veteran free agent won't surprise me.

Jake Ferguson likely bumps off the roster for blocking purposes and more upside as a receiver. He should have a nice battle with Sean McKeon for snaps and opportunities behind franchise player Dalton Schultz.

The Cowboys got their new left guard, for this year at least, with Tyler Smith in the 1st round. He may eventually slide over to replace Tyron Smith but for now he'll provide a big talent boost next to him. Matt Waletzko will join Josh Ball as young depth at the tackles. And after Stephen Jones said that Matt Farniok could push Tyler Biadasz as starting , it sounds like last year's 7th-round pick will at least be the backup in 2022.

Defense Depth Chart (26)

  • DE: DeMarcus Lawrence, Chauncey Golston
  • DT: Carlos Watkins, Osa Odighizuwa, John Ridgeway
  • DT: Neville Gallimore,
  • DE: Dorance Armstrong, Sam Williams,
  • LB: Jabril Cox, (IR/PUP)
  • LB: Micah Parsons, ,
  • LB: Leighton Vander Esch, Devin Harper
  • CB: Trevon Diggs, Kelvin Joseph, Nahshon Wright
  • CB: Anthony Brown, , DaRon Bland
  • S: Malik Hooker, Israel Mukuamu
  • S: Jayron Kearse, Donovan Wilson

The addition of Sam Williams is probably bad news for Tarell Basham. With Micah Parsons part of the pass-rushing mix as well, Basham and Dante Fowler are likely competing for the same roster spot at defensive end.

John Ridgeway could bump to the practice squad as the new big-boned tackle. But Carlos Watkins is hardly guaranteed a spot as a veteran journeyman, plus Trysten Hill's window to catch on in Dallas is nearly closed. Defensive tackle is going to be a fun position to watch this summer as only Gallimore and Odighizuwa are clear locks.

Damone Clark will likely spend the entire year in a reserve status as he recovers from spinal fusion surgery. I could easily see another veteran added before we get to camp, but if Dallas sticks with young prospects then 6th-round pick Devin harper and UDFA Aaron Hansford are who I think fill out the . Hansford could be one of the best steals of the UDFA group, having a 4th-round grade from NFL.com's Lance Zierlein.

Kelvin Joseph's future appears safe for now, leaving the CB group stable for next year. Rookie DaRon Bland won't have much competition for the sixth spot but has to hope there will actually be six corners on the roster (seven if you count ).

Safety is another spot where I could see one more veteran addition for depth. Our old friend Darian Thompson is a free agent and also remains unsigned, meaning either can probably be had for cheap. That would likely cost Bland his spot at CB before hurting either Wilson or Mukuamu. There are also some intriguing developmental prospects like Tyler Coyle from last year's UDFA crop and newly-signed Markquese Bell.

Special Teams (4)

  • ST: C.J. Goodwin
  • K: Jonathan Garibay
  • P: Bryan Anger
  • LS: Jake McQuaide

While C.J. Goodwin is officially listed as a cornerback we all know why he's really on the roster. While he's as good as anyone in the league on special teams, Goodwin is now 32 and Dallas could save $1.5 million off the cap if he's released. He will definitely have to fight for this job in July-August against younger and cheaper options.

Unless the Cowboys add a veteran kicker sometime before camp, give me UDFA Jonathan Garibay out of Texas Tech. His college numbers are much better than Chris Naggar's and his 62-yarder last year shows he has range to go with accuracy.

The veterans Anger and McQuaide are roster locks barring injury. Anger got a nice new deal after his Pro Bowl punting in 2021 and McQuaide's consistent work as long snapper was part of that performance as well. If anyone else is brought in this offseason it will be as nothing more than a camp body.

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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DDthinks

I really like Hansford. But seems like there are questions about his ability to diagnose and play through traffic against the run. And Harper sound like all athlete but significant development across the board needed before trusting him to get significant defensive snaps. Unless one is kept as strictly special teams only, I would expect only one of them to make the roster with the other hopefully getting through to make the practice squad. I would be very curious to know whether Goodman is at ANY risk of losing his spot, as good a coach as Fassel is, he does seem to be very needy in sticking with guys he already knows and trusts.

DDthinks

Goodwin, not Goodman (I blame Better Call Saul for the mental block).

Tyler

It looks like you have an extra player on offense. Twenty-five total minus Michael Gallup is twenty-four. Who do you cut?

Tyler

Nevermind

RC

Don’t sleep on TJ Vasher. He has different skills than the rest of the WRs. Even if you have to keep him as a tight end.

lonewolfz28

Vasher can barely handle the requirements at WR. Some of the knocks on him coming out were lack of focus/bad drops and lack of strength. At 6’5″, 210lbs, there’s no way you line him up at TE, at least not inline, anyway. He’d have to put on some serious muscle to have any chance. He’s pretty much a jump ball receiver.

GhostProtocol

You can count the number of times this team used a fullback on one hand. Any player like Nall or Olonilua or the like will have to be special teams stars. If the new Smith does indeed get the starting nod at LG, then McGovern will continue in the Hulk package as the psuedo-FB. I don’t see the benefit of carrying that true FB simply for the sake of saying you have one. And to suggest McCarthy likes his fullbacks makes me giggle. Quick, name one from his Green Bay days (E.Bennett was a HB). Ignoring the FB position also provides room for another WR to cover Gallups’ time?

I think I would like to see Grier beat out Rush as well.

lonewolfz28

John Kuhn.

The problem with using McGovern at FB is 99 times out of 100, it’s going to be a run and the D knows it. The right FB has versatility, whether it’s blocking on runs, blocking on passes, running on short yardage, outlet receiver in the flat, motioning to inline TE, motioning to Slot receiver, ST’s, etc. Olonilua, Ralston, and Nall have that versatility. Zeke can play as a quasi FB at times, just don’t expect to motion him to inline TE.

An option may be to go back to using a TE as an H-Back. I know Ferguson (college), Schultz, and Ralston (college TE) all have experience in that role. I wouldn’t be surprised if McKeon and Sprinkle also have that experience.

A more creative solution would be to use Noah Brown to motion into or out of the backfield, like they used to with Ty Montgomery.

Using McGovern should be a last resort, don’t care if they know you’re going to run it type situation.

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