Quick, name the last impact player that the Cowboys got from the 5th Round of the NFL Draft. Did you think of one? How far back did you have to go? No matter your answer, I'm sure it illustrates the reality that Dallas hasn't had a win from the 5th Round of any draft class in a long time. With four rookies coming from that round in 2022, hopefully the team's fortunes are about to change.
You have to back to 2008 and CB Orlando Scandrick for a clear win from a 5th-Round pick. Scandrick quickly emerged as a key roleplayer on defense and started from 2013-2017. He was a major contributor for three of Dallas' best modern-era seasons in 2009, 2014, and 2016.
Has anyone since Scandrick even been remotely successful? You tell me.
- 2009 – DB Michael Hamlin, DB DeAngelo Smith, K David Buehler
- 2010 – No picks
- 2011 – DB Josh Thomas
- 2012 – WR Danny Coale
- 2013 – RB Joseph Randle
- 2014 – WR Devin Street
- 2015 – DE Ryan Russell
- 2016 – No picks
- 2017 – No picks
- 2018 – QB Mike White
- 2019 – CB Michael Jackson, DE Joe Jackson
- 2020 – DE Bradlee Anae
- 2021 – WR Simi Fehoko
Rough stuff; barely any of these guys made a dent in Dallas. Some didn't even make the team as rookies, and only a few of the discards (Josh Thomas, Mike White) made any noise elsewhere in the NFL.
Joseph Randle might've been something if he wasn't a looney toon. The talent was there, but unfortunately personal issues galore cut his career short.
But clearly, the Cowboys have gotten back next to nothing from their 5th-round picks over the last 13 years. The jury is still out on Simi Fehoko, of course, but the receiver only dressed for five games and had zero targets, catches, or anything else in those appearances.
Almost as if they're actively trying to break the curse, Dallas selected four players in the 5th Round of the 2022 NFL Draft. That's four opportunities to hopefully get their first win from that round since Scandrick.
OT Matt Waletzko, CB DaRon Bland, LB Damone Clark, and DT John Ridgeway are the latest contenders in this endeavor. Some have more opportunity than others to make an immediate impact, but all could eventually find their way into meaningful roles.
Waletzko has the best opportunity of the bunch. Right now he and Josh Ball are in a two-man race to be the swing tackle for 2022. If Dallas doesn't add a veteran OT before camp then many feel it's Waletzko's job to lose, with Ball being seen more as a right tackle only.
Ridgeway probably has the next-best opportunity with the Cowboys needing some help up front on defense. Nobody currently has a claim on the nose tackle position and being a pure run stuffer, and Ridgeway fits that bill both in size and attitude.
Clark is the most talented player of the pack but will likely spend most, if not all, of his rookie season rehabbing from neck surgery. If he is able to come back all the way and play up to his potential, Damone could very well be a starting LB for Dallas in years to come. He might've been a 2nd-Round pick last April if not for the medical issue.
Bland fits the physical mold that the Cowboys now like in corners; 6'2″ and 200 lbs. He will struggle to contribute early with so many bodies at CB but in the next few years, with Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis both likely moving on soon, there will soon be more wiggle room on the depth chart.
Just getting a steady, reliable backup out of any of these players would be a successful outcome from the 5th Round. Getting a guy like Orlando Scandrick, arguably Dallas' best cornerback some seasons, would be a major win.
Unfortunately the Cowboys have gotten neither from the 5th Round for a long time. They've greatly improved the odds this year with four possibilities. Hopefully one of these rookies comes through and helps breaks the cycle.