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APC Community Mock Draft 2022: The Cowboys are on the clock at no. 24

After the Cardinals selected George Karlaftis at 23, the Cowboys are ready to pick.

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Penn State Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

As the APC Community Mock Draft continued yesterday afternoon, the Cardinals selected their replacement for Chandler Jones in George Karlaftis at 23. The Purdue edge rusher will be expected to make an impact right away and provide versatility inside and out for Arizona, though it was a particularly tight vote in his favor.

After Sean Payton retired this off-season, the Cowboys found themselves in another coaching conundrum. Rumors swirled about the team’s interest, but a comeback isn’t in Payton’s immediate future. Looking back, the silly speculation doesn’t hold a candle to the trouble that hit Dallas in free agency. The Cowboys cap sheet was in bad shape coming into the new league year, and they made several moves to give themselves breathing room. The team traded star wideout Amari Cooper to the Browns, cut La’El Collins, and were left at the altar by Randy Gregory, who backed out of a deal and signed with the Broncos instead. Gregory was a game changer for the Cowboys on numerous occasions in 2021 and is a difficult player to replace.

In addition, Connor Williams, the Cowboys’ left guard for the last four years, left for a new contract with the Miami Dolphins. Williams’ 2021 was riddled with penalties but he will still need to be replaced. The team did re-sign Dalton Schultz, Michael Gallup, and Malik Hooker, so it wasn’t all bad news. Beleaguered coach Mike McCarthy will lead the team once again, and there are plenty of holes the team needs to plug in the draft if they wish to contend this year.

While tackle could be the pick here, the Cowboys like what they have in Terence Steele, who looked lost as a rookie but showed major improvement last season. He’ll most likely man the right tackle spot. The loss of Connor Williams hurts though. The team has not addressed the position with any starting-caliber talent and will have to do so through the draft. Zion Johnson is available here and has the potential to be a starting guard who commits very few penalties.

The Cowboys’ wide receiver room is the perfect example of how fast things can change in the NFL. Heralded last year as one of the best in the league, the departure of Cedrick Wilson and trade of Amari Cooper has given the room an ugly makeover. Dallas did sign James Washington, but he will most likely be a depth piece. The young star CeeDee Lamb will lead this group as he moves into the WR1 spot. If Gallup returns within the first few games of the season, things do look better. Still, drafting a receiver like Jahan Dotson would round out this group and bring an element of explosiveness.

After the Randy Gregory snafu, the Cowboys need help on the edge. While Micah Parsons was fantastic on the edge, it won’t be a surprise if the team is hesitant to move him there full time. The Cowboys brought in Dante Fowler and re-signed Demarcus Lawrence, so things aren’t as dire as they could be. But Fowler likely won’t be able to replicate Gregory’s high-pressure rate from last year, and drafting an edge like Arnold Ebiketie could lighten the load on his shoulders.


Zion Johnson, G, Boston College

After starting his college career at Davidson and garnering attention at right tackle, Johnson transferred to Boston College for his junior year. Johnson thrived in the ACC and earned all-conference honors each year culminating in a first-team All American selection in 2021.

Versatility was his strong suit in college and a point of pride as he spent time at both tackle spots and guard, but he is best suited to play inside at the next level. Johnson showed off his explosiveness at the combine, posting an RAS of 9.74. That athleticism in combination with his 34-inch arms gives him an advantage with his first punch. He is likely a scheme-dependent player due to his struggles in space but has the ceiling to be a starting guard.

Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

Dotson had a stellar 2021. He was named third-team AP All American and second-team All-Big Ten after recording 91 receptions for 1,182 yards and 12 touchdowns. Dotson is undersized but plays big, showcasing the ability to fully extend and catch any pass remotely in his vicinity.

Physical corners will give him trouble due to his frame and that lack of physicality could prevent him from being a WR1. Still, Dotson is excellent at manipulating his route speed to get open and could put defenders in a blender early and often in his career.

Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State

A transfer from Temple, Ebiketie had big shoes to fill in 2021. The edge rusher was tasked with replacing Odafe Oweh and Shaka Toney’s production and came through for the Nittany Lions. He was named first-team All-Big Ten after recording 18 TFLs and 9.5 sacks. He is a skilled, explosive rusher with a strong first punch.

His length helps in this regard and allows him to keep fighting through blocks. He can get swallowed up in the run game and will need to learn how to use his length to be stronger there. Ebiketie can be a sub-package rusher from day 1 and has true All-Pro potential if everything goes right in his development.


Poll

Who will the Cowboys select at no. 24?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Zion Johnson, G, Boston College
    (115 votes)
  • 21%
    Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
    (43 votes)
  • 19%
    Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State
    (39 votes)
197 votes total Vote Now

The Cowboys are hoping this pick is the beginning of a streak of good luck after a horrible offseason. Whether they replace Randy Gregory on the edge or grab a weapon for their offense, it will determine the direction of the franchise in the present. Be sure to vote here and on Twitter (@acmepackingco) and check back later to see the Bills pick at 25.