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Jerry Jones reveals Dallas Cowboys draft board; Lewis Cine, not Tyler Smith was best player available at No. 24

Andrew Buller-Russ
Dallas Cowboys
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones seems to have a thing for revealing his organization’s draft board, having done so in 2010 and 2013. Well, he’s back up to his old tricks, flashing his draft board once again shortly after the 2022 NFL Draft concluded.

We know America’s Team opted to select Tulsa offensive lineman Tyler Smith with the 24th pick in the first round, which was a bit of a surprise in itself. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com had Smith graded as a second-round prospect, along with several other draft analysts.

In some cases, teams may try and trade down, looking to get more value out of their draft class if a player they covet is expected to be drafted later on. Not the Cowboys, or at least not this year.

Many teams like to tout how they take the best player available approach when preparing to make their draft picks, yet we know this year anyway, that wasn’t the Cowboys’ modus operandi.

Lewis Cine was the top player available when Dallas was on the clock

Thanks to the backlash the franchise has taken from possibly making a reach with their first-round selection, Jones wanted to prove, he in fact went with the data. His reasoning was to show reporters that Smith was indeed the top-rated offensive lineman available on their board at the time.

As mentioned earlier, Jones likes to show off. So much so, he thought it would be wise to reveal the Cowboys’ draft board to the media. This must have been part of the plan heading into the press conference, as Jones brought with him a piece of paper and proceeded to hold it up, showing the front to the media for all to see.

Stephen Jones, Jerry’s son, who works as the executive vice president didn’t appreciate this, telling Jerry “Don’t show them that.” while laughing.

While Jones’ claims that Smith was the top-rated lineman available were proved true thanks to what he showed, it also revealed much more. Mike Leslie of WFAA Jon Machota of The Athletic were able to piece together the puzzle, coming up with 34-of-39 names on the paper Jones displayed.

The most interesting note perhaps was that Georgia safety Lewis Cine was actually the top-rated player who was still available at No. 24. Cine ultimately was selected 32nd overall by the Minnesota Vikings. The Cowboys are expected to once again start Malik Hooker and Jayron Kearse at the safety positions, but an argument could be made that safety was at least a secondary need as well.

Yet, clearly their desire to land an offensive lineman outweighed any other plans. In fact, the Cowboys themselves had Smith graded as a second-round prospect, but instead couldn’t wait to add him to their roster with the 24th pick.

Related: Grading the Dallas Cowboys draft 2022

Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal were the Cowboys’ top-rated players in 2022 Draft class

Syndication: The Record
Art Stapleton/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

This one has to sting for the Cowboys. Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal were the top-graded prospects on their board coming into the draft. Both ended up with the NFC East division rival New York Giants, where they get to face them twice per season for the next four-to-five years at the least, barring trade.

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Aidan Hutchinson was next, as the No. 3 prospect on the Cowboys’ board. Here is the complete list, as made available by The Athletic and Pro Football Talk.

  1. Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon: drafted fifth overall by the Giants.
  2. Evan Neal, OT, Alabama: drafted seventh overall by the Giants.
  3. Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan: drafted second overall by the Lions.
  4. Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State: drafted 10th overall by the Jets.
  5. Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati: drafted fourth overall by the Jets.
  6. Derek Stingley, CB, LSU: drafted third overall by the Texans.
  7. Travon Walker, DE, Georgia: drafted first overall by the Jaguars.
  8. Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame: drafted 14th overall by the Ravens.
  9. Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State: drafted sixth overall by the Panthers.
  10. Drake London, WR, USC: drafted eighth overall by the Falcons.
  11. Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia: drafted 13th overall by the Eagles.
  12. Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State: drafted ninth overall by the Seahawks.
  13. Lewis Cine, S, Georgia: drafted 32nd overall by the Vikings.
  14. Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama: drafted 12th overall by the Lions.

Here are the players the Cowboys had with a second-round grade:

  1. Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State: drafted 11th overall by the Saints.
  2. Tyler Smith, OL, Tulsa: drafted 24th overall by the Cowboys.
  3. Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah: drafted 27th overall by the Jaguars.
  4. Daxton Hill, S, Michigan: drafted 31st overall by the Bengals.
  5. Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State: drafted 36th overall by the Jets.
  6. Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M: drafted 15th overall by the Texans.
  7. George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue: drafted 30th overall by the Chiefs.
  8. Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College: drafted 17th overall by the Chargers.
  9. Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas: drafted 18th overall by the Titans.
  10. Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington: drafted 39th overall by the Bears.
  11. Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa: drafted 25th overall by the Ravens.
  12. David Ojabo, DE, Michigan: drafted 45th overall by the Ravens.
  13. Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State: drafted 16th overall by the Commanders.
  14. Jermaine Johnson, DE, Florida State: drafted 26th overall by the Jets.
  15. Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida: drafted 23rd overall by the Bills.
  16. Arnold Ebiketie, DE, Penn State: drafted 38th overall by the Falcons.
  17. Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington: drafted 21st overall by the Chiefs.
  18. Quay Walker, LB, Georgia: drafted 22nd overall by the Packers.
  19. Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia: drafted 28th overall by the Packers.
  20. Logan Hall, DE, Houston: drafted 33rd overall by the Buccaneers.

While Smith is expected to receive early playing time on the “left side” of the line as Jones noted in the press conference, now that we can see their draft board, following along with several other prospects, such as Cine will be a fascinating tale.

Related: Winners, losers from 2022 NFL Draft: Eagles thrive, Chicago Bears let down Justin Fields