As the Dallas Cowboys enter this offseason, the biggest question around the team is likely on how they can retain all 24 of their free agents. While we aren't breaking down the free agency situation in this piece, I give three players the Cowboys could select with their 24th pick in this year's 2022 NFL Draft.
Without further ado, here are the three players below:
1. Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
At 24, the Cowboys select former Georgia Linebacker Nakobe Dean, the 2021 Dick Butkus Award winner, which is given to the top collegiate linebacker.
With this selection, the franchise gives current starting Linebacker Micah Parsons a tag-team partner, and the duo instantly creates havoc for opposing teams.
As of right now, the only linebackers on the team guaranteed on next year's roster are Parsons and Jabril Cox, who is also currently recovering from a torn ACL.
Last year's starting Linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Keanu Neal are currently free agents, and the odds of both returning to the franchise are slim. It's likely the odds are higher the Cowboys bring back Linebackers Luke Gifford and Francis Bernard, who cost you less money and offer special-teams experience.
Getting back to Dean, he is someone who is a three-down player and is explosive in the open field. Additionally, Dean is someone who rarely misses tackles, is an effective blitzer, and provides solid run coverage.
Just imagine how fast Parsons was while on the field, and think of the scenario of having Dean, who may just be as fast or even faster.
If all of that doesn't convince you, here are his stats he had this past year:
- 72 total tackles (36 solo)
- 10.5 tackles for loss
- 6 sacks
- 2 interceptions
- 1 pass deflection
- 5 fumble recoveries
- 2 forced fumbles
Dean would save the franchise money and allow them to pay other players at key positions, but also in this scenario, if the Cowboys brought back either Vander Esch, Neal, or both, he would serve as a key piece alongside the group.
2. Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Before I start with my dialogue on selecting Treylon Burks at 24, I want fans to realize that there is a reality the wide receiver group could look troubling entering the 2022 NFL Draft. There have been recent rumors that current Cowboys Wide Receiver Amari Cooper could become a cap causality and is someone the franchise could trade for either picks, players, or a combination of both.
As mentioned earlier, the Cowboys have 24 free agents and four of them happen to be wide receivers. Out of the four, the only two that bring valuable game experience are Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson and if the franchise opts to bring Gallup back, he will be coming off an ACL injury.
Enter Treylon Burks, who comes in at 6'3, 225 pounds and is estimated to run a 4.3 to 4.4 40-yard dash.
Some NFL comparisons that have been thrown out to describe Burks have been A.J Brown. D.K Metcalf and Deebo Samuel, both of which are top wide receivers in the league.
Burks, who has heard those comparisons, addressed them in Pick Six Podcast hosted by CBS Sports NFL Draft Writer Josh Edwards. During the podcast, Burks said he is a player who can line up anywhere on the field and be a playmaker when he has the ball in his hands.
Additionally, Burks would instantly become your most athletic receiver on the team, be a big body who could win you those 50-50 balls, and step in as your WR2.
If we shift back to the idea of Cooper being released or traded, the Cowboys will save a total of $16 million and could use the money to bring back Gallup and Wilson.
In a piece written by Jess Haynie, ITS Senior Writer, he talked about whether the club should cut Cooper to bring back those two and showed that their contracts combined come close to the total money saved by Cooper's release.
Haynie also brought up that the front office could restructure Cooper's contract to free up $12.6 million, but with this selection, Burks fills a void that is left if the franchise were to move on from him.
Also, if the Cowboys brought back Gallup and Wilson, Burks could step up to the plate while Gallup recovers. Once he's back, the idea of those four as your core receivers would be fun to watch.
3. Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
Last, but not least the Cowboys select Penn State Safety Jaquan Brisker and make it back-to-back years of selecting a former Penn State player.
Before we go to Brisker's breakdown, it seems every year that the franchise's biggest problem is their safeties and cornerback rooms. I mean the last great safety and corner that rocked the star on their helmet would have to be Darren Woodson and Deion Sanders, but that argument is for another day.
This past year, the Cowboys signed three veterans at their safety position on prove-it deals, and out of three only Jayron Kearse had a strong season. Other veterans Malik Hooker and Damontae Kazee showed flashes, but it was Kearse who was making plays all over the field.
Now going back to free agency, all three are free agents, and odds are Kearse may be the only one likely to return but it will come at a bigger price.
With this selection, the Cowboys bring in a safety who is being graded as the number two overall safety behind Notre Dame Safety Kyle Hamilton. Brisker, who is physically gifted, could be someone that the Cowboys pair with Kearse to create a tandem of safeties who just make plays.
According to ESPN, Brisker racked up 63 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 5 pass breakups this past season, and well, you know the front office loves their athletes and it's a perfect match for the ‘Boys and Brisker.