With the draft now nearly a week behind us, it is time to start evaluating this rookie class. The Cowboys drafted four offensive players in the 2022 class. Two offensive linemen, a wide receiver, and a tight end. Surprisingly, this group of guys might see playing time faster than you think. That being said, let’s break down which of these offensive rookies will challenge the depth chart this year.
Tyler Smith was the Cowboys’ first-round pick this year. Selected with the 24th overall pick, I think Smith is going to step into playing time immediately. On the day one grade piece, I mentioned that Smith truly is only competing with Connor McGovern for a spot. Smith played tackle at Tulsa but is a plug-and-play lineman. Dallas needed depth for the offensive line and Smith fills that need.
Smith was given a 93.9 run-blocking grade in 2021. That is the highest run block grade ever by a player from the AAC. It will take time for Smith to become an All-Pro talent but I think he is going to see the field quite a bit in year one. He needs to have a good training camp and preseason to prove he is adjusting to the NFL and is ready for a bigger role. Eventually, I think he will be the replacement for Tyron Smith at left tackle. Until then, look for him to split snaps with McGovern and maybe fill in for Tyron if he needs a break on certain plays.
The next offensive rookie that will challenge the depth chart is third-round pick, Jalen Tolbert. Tolbert is the only wide receiver picked by Dallas this year. Luckily for Tolbert, he is stepping into the Cowboys’ wide receiver room at an opportune time. With Michael Gallup likely out to start the season, Dallas will have an open spot. Sure he will have to compete with Noah Brown for that spot but I think Tolbert has the intangibles to earn a starting spot until Gallup returns.
The main role Tolbert would have if he starts would be that slot receiver much like a Mecole Hardman. A quick, agile receiver who is a deep threat but can make a possession catch when needed. Tolbert might not have the route tree experience but he for damn sure has the athletic ability. It excites me that Dallas has brought in another deep ball threat. More options for Dak means more touchdowns and that is what Tolbert can do. Give him time to develop in camp and pre-season and I would bet he finds himself starting in some way come week one.
Lastly, we have the lone tight end pick the Cowboys made. Ferguson is also entering a favorable playing situation. Dallas released Blake Jarwin opening up a roster spot in the tight end room. With Dalton Schultz set up to be the starter, Ferguson I think will immediately become TE2. It is no coincidence that Dallas loves to run two tight-end sets. With Jarwin gone, Ferguson fits into that second tight end spot for those sets.
While Ferguson is not a speedy tight end, I have mentioned before that he is a possession guy. That Jason Witten, ten-yard hitch route type player. He can be a reliable touchdown threat if used correctly. His 1,618 yards and 13 touchdowns last year should excite Kellen Moore. However, he is not an ideal blocker but I think Ferguson will fit in well considering Dalton Schultz is not the best blocker either. Both can improve that together and become a scary tight-end duo. Look for Ferguson to step into a big role in this offense quickly this year.
Which depth chart spot do you think the new Cowboys offensive rookies will take over? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion.
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