Cameron Thomas would be the pick for the Dallas Cowboys at No. 25 in the 2022 NFL Draft, according to a mock draft published by The Athletic’s Dane Brugler on Tuesday.
The mock draft was Brugler’s first leading up to the 2022 NFL Draft in April.
Thomas, an edge rusher at San Diego State, would provide the Cowboys with more pass rush help and give them another first-round pick on defense, after taking Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Brugler acknowledged that the Cowboys took three front-seven defenders in the first 100 picks of the 2021 NFL Draft. But his analysis noted that ‘Whether lined up inside or outside, Thomas has been nearly unblockable this season for the Aztecs, currently leading college football with 72 pressures (just ahead of Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson and Alabama’s Will Anderson).’
The Cowboys have done a better job of getting to the quarterback this season. Parsons leads the Cowboys with nine sacks, followed by Randy Gregory with five. Gregory has missed the past few weeks with a calf injury but he could be back this week to play at Washington next Sunday. The Cowboys have also been without Demarcus Lawrence for most of the season, but he made an "electric'' return to the field in the Thursday win at New Orleans. And Parsons is the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for his "Barry Sanders-like'' talents as a defender.
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The Cowboys (8-4) have a lead in the NFC East and they have "pressure players'' in Parsons, Gregory and Lawrence.
But why not another one?
Brugler’s Top 5 included Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson going No. 1 overall to Detroit; Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux going No. 2 overall to Houston; Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal going No. 3 overall to Jacksonville: LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. going No. 4 overall to the New York Jets; and NC State offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu going No. 5 overall, also to the New York Jets.
You can reach Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.