NFL 1st round draft pick options for the Dallas Cowboys

With Randy Gregory heading to Denver, the defensive wing could be a position to score in the first round for the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Draft.

DALLAS – The 2022 NFL Draft is just around the corner and the Dallas Cowboys have probably focused on the short list of positions they could choose from. All the low-season maneuvers pointed to some places of need for the Cowboys.

Offensive line and wide receiver are favorites in the direction Dallas can go with the No. 24 pick. However, the defensive wing could be a position that gains important consideration.

After a short tussle with the defender, Randy Gregory finally tucked the ball home. The Cowboys re-signed Dorance Armstrong and signed veteran runner Dante Fowler to launch the passing race, but neither is considered a long-term starter-caliber response.

Last year’s third-round pick, Chauncey Golston, is also an option, but he didn’t show up enough during his rookie season to allow the Cowboys to overlook the position in the first rounds.

With that in mind, here are some of the options on the defensive side that could be there for the Cowboys in the No. 24 pick in the draft:

Jermaine Johnson, Florida St.

A few weeks ago, this was likely to happen, but now it looks like the Cowboys will have to change if they want to try Johnson, who became one of the real promotions during the draft process. Johnson only has one elite production season – 11.5 sacks in 2021 – but he has the size, speed and athletic ability to become a star at the next level.

There’s an explosiveness in Johnson’s first pass, and he also has the curve to dive in and turn the edge to get behind the quarterback. Johnson’s variety of fast moves is another positive for his emerging game.

Johnson could initially be overlooked as a top-pass prospect, but was positioned to be selected in the top half of the draft. It would be perfect for the Cowboys, but Dallas would probably have to be creative to get Johnson.

George Karlaftis, Purdue

Karlaftis moves well for a 6-foot, 4-inch, 275-pound man, and has good athleticism at locating quarterbacks. He also has the strength to attack offensive linemen.

His tirelessness is one of the highlights that could make Karlaftis have to deal with teams looking for a defensive end in the first round. Karlaftis is a strong top runner, but he also makes plays working until the play is dead.

Despite being one of the best defensive ends in the country, Karlaftis only had 4.5 catches last season and has work to do against the race. Karlaftis should receive serious consideration from the Cowboys if he moves on to the No. 24 pick.

Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State

Another fast-paced climb that saved his best season for his senior year, Ebiketie had a record 9.5 catches and 18 innings for the Nittany Lions defeat in 2021. Ebiketie has a quick first step and has some of the best corners in this class. . .

Ebiketie has the athleticism and contraction that are ideal for a pass runner, but he is still developing and recruiting him in the first round is a bet that will fulfill that promise.

The measurables and potential are evident with Ebiketie, which could be an interesting option for Dallas at 24, and could even be there later if the team chooses to change.

Boye Mafe, Minnesota

Mafe has the tools that many teams like in a cutting edge rusher. The former Golden Gopher has elite athletics, an explosive first step and good movement skills to be an option as a traditional defensive wing or as an outside support in a 3-4 lineup. In today’s game, that’s the kind of versatility the teams are looking for.

Mafe still doesn’t play against the race either, which is a problem, but it makes up for it with a relentless engine. Mafe will chase the ball until it whistles.

With 6 feet, 4 inches and 265 pounds, Mafe has improved his losing streak and his total catches in each of his four years in Minnesota, suggesting his best football is still ahead of him.

Negotiating and acquiring selections would be the ideal scenario if Mafe is her husband, but if he’s there at number 24, and the Cowboys like him, they won’t be afraid to make him the choice.

Nik Bonitto, Oklahoma

Bonitto was considered more of a second-round prospect for most of the draft process, but he has been climbing the draft tables and if the Cowboys change at the start of the second round, Bonitto could be a target. It may be a little smaller, but Bonitto has great speed, a quick first step, and a natural curve coming out of the edge.

Over the last two seasons, Bonitto has had 16 catches and 26.5 innings for a defeat for the Sooners. What Bonitto lacks in measurables, he compensates with high motor skills, athleticism and undeniable production.

Bonitto doesn’t fit the typical DE profile the Cowboys prefer, but he was a disruptive force in college and could be an effective pass runner under defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

Are you looking forward to seeing the Cowboys find a bookstore to play against DeMarcus Lawrence in the NFL Draft? Share your opinions with Ben on Twitter @BenGrimaldi.

NFL 1st round draft pick options for the Dallas Cowboys

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