FRISCO - For all but four teams in the National Football League, the 2021 season is over and sights are set on the 2022 NFL Draft. The Dallas Cowboys' season came to an abrupt end but the promise of young talent helps soften the blow.
Much of the draft selection order is set and the mock drafts are plentiful. Sports Illustrated has taken a deep dive into a mock draft that addresses the breakdown of each team's picks and their scouting reports.
With the 24th pick, SI predicts that the Cowboys will draft Texas A&M defensive tackle DeMarvin Leal.
"Leal was moved all over the defensive line in 2020 for the Aggies defense, which hints at one of his biggest strengths, versatility. His size suggests he will move to an interior role on the defensive line, but he has shown to be proficient in every technique"
Leal elected to forgo his final season in College Station. The San Antonio native recorded 133 total tackles, 25 tackles for losses, 13 sacks, and an interception in three seasons. In his final season, Leal led the team in tackles for losses (12.5) and finished tied for second in sacks (8.5).
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“Versatility” may be a key word here. It works with last year’s first-rounder Micah Parsons. Can it work again?
By the way, ESPN's long-time draft analyst Mel Kiper has Dallas selecting defensive end Travon Walker out of Georgia.
Whether the Cowboys decide to use their first-round pick to bolster their defensive line remains to be seen. The uncertainty surrounding the futures of impending free agents will also have a large impact, including; Randy Gregory, Dalton Schultz, Michael Gallup, Connor Williams, Leighton Vander Esch and Jayron Kearse.
The 2022 NFL Draft will take place from April 28-30 in Las Vegas. The Jacksonville Jaguars have the first pick and SI's mock draft has Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal being selected No. 1 overall (+260 odds on FanDuel) to help protect quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Round 1 will be held on Thursday, April 28. Rounds 2 and 3 will be held on Friday, April 29, and Rounds 4-7 will be held on Saturday, April 30.
And the Cowboys, with no more games to play, are about to get very busy.