The NFL draft is an exercise of opinions and the Dallas Cowboys, for whatever reason, like to tease us with what their draft board looks like. Just like in 2016, the Cowboys gave us their top-34 players in the draft, which The Athletic posted on Tuesday.
Per Dallas’ draft board, there were only 14 first-round grades in this class and all but one of them was drafted before the Green Bay Packers were on the clock with the 22nd overall pick: Georgia safety Lewis Cine. According to the reigning NFC East champion, here’s what the draft looked like when the Packers were on the clock for their first selection in the draft, along with players’ overall ranking in the class:
13) Lewis Cine, safety, Georgia
17) Devin Lloyd, linebacker, Utah
18) Daxton Hill, safety, Michigan (also available at 28)
19) Breece Hall, running back, Iowa State (also available at 28 and 34)
21) George Karlaftis, edge rusher, Purdue (also available at 28)
24) Kyler Gordon, cornerback, Washington (also available at 28 and 34)
25) Tyler Linderbaum, center, Iowa
28) Jermaine Johnson, edge rusher, Florida State
30) Arnold Ebiketie, edge rusher, Penn State (also available at 28 and 34)
32) Quay Walker, linebacker, Georgia
33) Devonte Wyatt, defensive lineman, Georgia
34) Logan Hall, defensive lineman, Houston
In theory, the “best player available” per the Cowboys at the Packers’ top three selections would have been Cine, Michigan safety Daxton Hill and Iowa State running back Breece Hall, respectively. Obviously, positional need is not put into context with this board, as the Cowboys themselves chose Tulsa offensive lineman Tyler Smith over their highest-rated available player, Cine.
What’s most interesting per Dallas’ board is that none of Green Bay’s three selections were “value picks,” as linebacker Quay Walker (taken 22nd) was ranked 32nd in the class, defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt (taken 28th) was ranked 33rd in the class and receiver Christian Watson (taken 34th) did not make the cut.
With that being said, there were few other options for the Packers to go with if they were going to select players at the positions they did with the selections that they did. Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd was ranked higher by the Cowboys (17th overall) than Walker, but there were no interior defensive linemen available at 28th overall ranked higher than Wyatt and no wide receivers were left on Dallas’ top-34 after Arkansas’ Treylon Burks was picked by the Tennessee Titans at 18th overall.
Again, the draft is just an exercise of opinions and there’s as good of a chance that the Packers are correct about their draft as there is that the Cowboys are right about Green Bay’s selections. Per Dallas’ leaked 2016 board, Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith was the sixth-best player in the draft overall and Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook was better than eventual Pro Bowler Dak Prescott.
You’d rather be lucky than good on draft day, but at least the Cowboys’ historical transparency gives us some context on what other teams might think about the Packers’ 2022 haul.