Round 2, Pick 59: Steve Avila, Guard, TCU
In the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Cowboys surprised many with the selection of Tyler Smith out of Tulsa. Despite skepticism from Dallas fans across the country, Smith played very well as a rookie at multiple positions for the Cowboys, appearing to be the long-term answer at left tackle for the franchise.
With Tyler Smith as the future at left tackle, Terrence Steele locking up the right tackle position, and one of the league’s best at right guard in Zack Martin, Dallas is really looking for a left guard (and potentially a center, depending on the play of Tyler Biadasz in 2023) for the future.
With Tyron Smith returning for yet another year for the Cowboys, any offensive lineman that the team brings in may not play right away, with the Smiths manning the left side of the line (Tyron at LT and Tyler at LG), but it is clear that Tyron is on the way out, and Tyler is on the way in at left tackle, so left guard still must be a priority for Dallas.
Steve Avila from TCU, a school that the Cowboys are very familiar with, seems to be an optimal match. He has great size (6-foot-3 and 332 pounds), positional versatility (experience at right tackle, right guard, center, and, most recently, left guard), and an impressive blend of power and athleticism.
Whether he plays right away or not, and whether his future is at left guard, center, or any other position, Avila is truly one of the best offensive linemen in this draft class. I could honestly see him going to Dallas in the first round, but in this mock draft, the Cowboys are able to snag him in the second, making him a potential huge bargain.
Round 3, Pick 91: Devon Achane, Running Back, Texas A&M
Devon Achane has just about everything that you look for in an NFL running back, except size. He is just 5-foot-8 and 188 pounds, but he is an outstanding runner and would fill a potentially huge need for the Cowboys.
The biggest thing that stands out about Achane is his speed and burst. When he hits the open field, he is GONE. This is clear on tape and was backed up by the fastest 40-yard dash time by any running back at the Combine.
When you watch Achane, he has all the attributes. He has great vision, quick acceleration through the hole, shiftiness in the open field, and blazing speed to finish the play. He is also very effective in the passing game as a receiver (and as a blocker).
The Cowboys placed the franchise tag on standout back Tony Pollard, but if they do not plan on reaching a long-term deal with the dynamic running back, Achane would be the perfect replacement.