Dallas Cowboys (Round 2, Pick 56)
Nik Bonitto, EDGE
PFF Ranking: 37, Brugler Ranking: n/a, TDN Ranking: 68
Another curveball from the Dallas Cowboys comes with their second pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Despite confident (delusional) comments to the contrary, the Dallas Cowboys took a big step back on the edge when they replaced Randy Gregory with Dante Fowler (Dorance Armstrong will likely lead the rotation).
They wisely locked DeMarcus Lawrence up for the long-term but Tank is in the winter of his career and banking on him to be dominant and healthy all year is a risky proposition even with Micah Parsons offering support on the EDGE.
While EDGE is arguably the deepest position in the draft, the quality of top-end prospects is limited. And since top-end is what the Dallas Cowboys need to lead their rotation (Fowler’s spot on the roster is far from secured), EDGE is a priority early.
Nik Bonitto is a bit of a polarizing prospect. Some question him while others absolutely adore him. Many of the scouts I resourced here fall into the latter camp.
On the Dallas Cowboys Bonitto fits the RDE vacated by Randy Gregory wonderfully. Like Gregory he can line up wide-9 and rush from 2-point or 3-point stances. He explodes off the edge and on a per snap basis been the most productive pass-rusher in football.
At 6-3, 248lbs, Bonitto is decent sized with plus-level explosiveness on the EDGE. Like Micah Parsons, he can play EDGE in both a 3-4 and 4-3. He has first step quickness, gumby flex around the edge, and dynamic athleticism.
He’s not big and is seen by some as a OLB only but in pass-rush ability and motor alone, he should be able to do all the important things as a pass-rusher in any front. He’s going to divide people but if Dallas is looking for an elite play-maker to replace Randy Gregory and doesn’t want to use the first round to do it, this is a pretty good way to go.
If the Dallas Cowboys ever decide to move to more of a three-man front, they have the two most important pieces in Micah and Nik. And even staying in Quinn’s fluid 4-3, both player fit well together without overlap or redundancy.