FRISCO, Texas —It's the time of year for a good self-scout.
As the Cowboys process a disappointing end to 2021, it prompts a lot of speculation about what lies ahead in 2022. This series looks to present, and hopefully answer, a lot of questions about what this team will look like in the coming year.
We spent the earlier part of this series discussing the veterans on this roster. We'll wrap it up by previewing the safeties in this year's rookie class, if the Cowboys should decide to – after all these years – address the position in the draft.
What Does This Draft Class Offer At Safety?
It's a really good year to need a rookie safety – provided you're picking at the top of the NFL draft. For the Dallas Cowboys, not so much.
The obvious and deserving headliner is Notre Dame's Kyle Hamilton, a 6'4, 220-pound freak who can run, hit and cover. Some draft evaluators project Hamilton as high as the No. 2 overall pick in this draft, while virtually everyone agrees he'll go somewhere in the Top 10.
That doesn't do much to help Dallas, stuck down at pick No. 24. So what about the rest of the class?
There are definitely options, but maybe not with a first-round pick. The name to know is Michigan's Daxton Hill. The 6'0, 192-pound prospect was first-team All-Big Ten last year for the Wolverine's College Football Playoff squad, and he boasts the versatility to play three or four roles on the back end. If there is another first-round safety taken besides Hamilton, it'll likely be Hill – and he does seem to fit within the Cowboys' range.
Beyond those two, there are several names to know in the Day 2 range. Georgia's Lewis Cine, Penn State's Jaquan Brisker and Baylor's Jalen Pitre all have fans throughout the draft community. Cincinnati's Bryan Cook and Illinois' Kerby Joseph, as well.
What's the range there? It's a good question. This year feels somewhat similar to last year in the sense that the Cowboys could be biting their fingernails hoping for players to fall. Brisker, Cine and Pitre all have the talent to go in the Top 50 picks, so it's no given any of them will be hanging around down at pick No. 56.
It's a good bet the Cowboys would've drafted Kelvin Joseph 44th overall regardless last year. It still couldn't have felt good to see UCF's Richie Grant and TCU's Trevon Moehrig taken right in front of them by Atlanta and Las Vegas, respectively.
Anything is possible. But sitting here in mid-March, the board doesn't align as well at the safety position as the Cowboys might prefer. All the more reason to cover themselves in free agency, one way or another.