Top 4 options for Cowboys to select at No. 24 in 2022 NFL draft

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The Dallas Cowboys have drafted more All-Pro players than any other team in the league since 2010 with nine. Six of those were the first-round selections: Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, Ezekiel Elloitt, and Micah Parsons. Two others, Sean Lee, and Trevon Diggs were in the second.

The Cowboys, mainly led by Will McClay, know how to draft better than most teams, especially nailing their early picks, however they’ll have a long wait if they plan to stick and pick at No. 24. Anything can happen during the draft, but here are some of the top options who are believed to be available around that time, and who the team will likely draft when the card goes up.

Treylon Burks, WR Arkansas

The Cowboys created a need at receiver when they traded away Amari Cooper to keep from having to pay him what now seems like a bargain at $20 million per year. Burks, the big-bodied playmaker out of Arkansas will definitely be an option as a replacement for Cooper.

Burks is a different type of receiver than Cooper was. Burks is truly the exact opposite. He doesn’t beat a corner because he knows the correct thing to run against the defense he is facing and runs the route precisely. Burks doesn’t have to be open to win any play, what he lacks in separation he makes up for with contested catch ability. Whether on deep balls, or just a slant route he will position himself correctly and make catches while being well covered.

What separates Burks from the rest of the first round receiving options is his ability after the catch. He was so adept at making plays with the ball in his hands that Arkansas routinely played him at running back, prompting comparisons to Deebo Samuels. He is just very difficult to bring down. The versatility doesn’t stop there either, because while at 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds Burks is built like a boundary receiver, he plays his best in the slot. At Arkansas he played 681 snaps in the slot, compared to only 149 outside. The pairing of him and CeeDee Lamb would allow Dallas to be interchangeable at the slot and Z receiver positions.

Zion Johnson, IOL Boston College

The bad play of the Dallas offensive line helped derail the offense, and the season overall for the Cowboys. The team couldn’t move guys up the middle or block a four-man pass rush consistently with either Connor Williams or Connor McGovern at left guard. Once McGovern took over as the starter, the team completely abandon their most efficient runs, which were to the outside to Tony Pollard.

Johnson will impact all those areas in a positive way, but especially in the pulling game where his athletic ability can be showcased. Johnson had a relative athletic score (RAS) of 9.74 which all time ranks him 33 out of 1,219 total offensive guards ranked since 1987. He ran a 4.46 short shuttle and a 7.38 three cone drill which shows his ability to move even at his size. Pair that with the explosion it takes to have a 32-inch vertical, a 9-foot-4 broad jump, and the power to press 225 pounds 32 times and the raw ability is unquestioned.

On tape he might not have dominated the way fellow first round prospect Kenyon Green did at Texas A&M, but it still was top of the class as well. Johnson uses his length and grip strength to win most one-on-one battles in the trenches, and even showed the ability to get movement on defensive tackles in the run game.

Johnson is a perfect pick at 24, the position value doesn’t wow teams, but landing a plug-and-play starter for the next dozen years who rarely is penalized and nearly never misses games is exactly what one is looking for from a late first-round pick.

Chris Olave, WR Ohio State

Olave is built in a lab for what Will McClay likes in the first round. He is from a big school, plays a premier position, has the size the team prefers, and he also has excellent traits to be a star at the position. Add to that, reports say quarterback Dak Prescott likes Chris Olave and he will definitely be an option if he gets to 24.

Olave is an Amari Cooper prototype; a smooth route runner who moves so precisely and is so savvy that his speed was underrated. Running a sub 4.4 forty-yard dash wasn’t expected of him, but he can separate not only with how well he runs routes but with his speed as well.

Olave will need to win that way too because he isn’t gonna break tackles like Burks. He will get his big plays from the team spreading the field so he can run more freely or with play action deep shots and double moves.

Olave is more of a one-trick pony.

He played 872 of his 1,019 snaps on the outside, and he isn’t consistently good at getting releases against press coverages, so he will be locked into the Z receiver role for most of his snaps, but he has everything one needs to be elite in that position.

Kenyon Green, IOL Texas A&M

Looking at how Cowboys are likely to stack their board considering needs, and the types of players they like to draft early, Green is likely the top candidate for them at No. 24.

Just like last season with the cornerback position, Dallas has left a specific spot with a clear and glaring need. LG must be addressed in the top 100 with an immediate starter. Kenyon Green has been the best guard available all the way up until an amazing testing period from Zion Johnson vaulted him into that conversation.

On tape Green is a top 10 prospect. He uses his excellent lower body strength, and capability to stay low in his stance to generate movement in the run game. That same strength, plus his excellent knee bend provides a terrific anchor. A power game that has been missing from the Cowboys offensive line since Ronald Leary left will return with Green at starting LG.

Green has much more potential though considering he moves much better than Leary, so he could pull more effectively, and be better in the screen game as well. He is great at feeling what is around him and directing the pass rush of his opponent. Green has the versatility to play both tackle spots as well. His last year at Texas A&M he was forced to play both left and right tackle as well as both guard spots too. Whatever position Dallas needs, Green can likely fill in there.

You can find Mike Crum on Twitter @cdpiglet or at Youtube on the Across the Cowboys Podcast.

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