In the latest Cowboys mock draft, premier talent is added across the roster. Will this be enough to put Dallas over the top?
Another great regular season for Dallas, another embarrassing playoff defeat. The Cowboys had multiple chances to pull away and never look back last Sunday. Unfortunately for the passionate fan base, seventh-round rookie Brock Purdy pulled out the victory instead.
Horrible interception luck followed Dak Prescott during the regular season, but the two that he threw vs. San Francisco were inexcusable. So, after an impressive 12-win season, where does Jerry Jones and Co. go from here?
As much flack as Prescott gets, I firmly believe he is a top-ten quarterback in the NFL. Thus, I see him as capable of taking the Cowboys where no one has since the Aikman days.
The Cowboys won’t have the cap space to add multiple starting-caliber players, especially when looking at all the impending free agents. Tight end Dalton Schultz needs a new deal after a breakout 2022 season. The same is true for running back Tony Pollard.
Leighton Vander Esch witnessed a resurgence at linebacker, proving to be a perfect foil to Micah Parsons. The trenches and secondary will also be losing a couple of key contributors to free agency. With limited funds, it will be interesting to see who Dallas opts to bring back.
Cowboys Mock Draft: Addressing the Secondary, Beefing Up the Trenches, and Adding Weapons for Dak Prescott
The good news? Dallas boasts a full slate of 2023 NFL Draft picks, with a few comp picks on day three to add more bullets to the chamber.
In this mock draft, the Cowboys add to the trenches. The front office also finds two youthful wide receivers to pair with CeeDee Lamb. Furthermore, immediate contributors at safety and cornerback help reshape the secondary. Is this enough to finally put them over the top?
Round 1, Pick 27: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State
Emmanuel Forbes possesses the best ball skills at cornerback in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Mississippi State superstar is the FBS record holder for pick-6s (6) and owns an impressive 14 career interceptions in only three seasons.
Trevon Diggs has blossomed into a star in the league, but imagine having a ball-hawking cornerback on each side of the field. Forbes would single-handedly transform the secondary as a rookie.
Round 2, Pick 59: Cody Mauch, OL, NDSU
Cody Mauch was born to play in the trenches. The former Bison standout is a dominant presence in the run game, and with his deceptive footwork, Mauch profiles as a superb pass protector with proper development.
With Dallas, the 24-year-old brings youth and durability to an offensive line unit that desperately needs both. Mauch can play guard early in his career before eventually kicking outside to form a bookend with youngster Tyler Smith.
Round 3, Pick 91: Keeanu Benton, DL, Wisconsin
The Dallas defense struggled mightily at stifling opposing rushing attacks. Wisconsin’s Keeanu Benton can change that. Benton is a gap-stuffing defensive tackle who flexes the versatility to play anywhere from 0-tech to 3-tech.
The Cowboys are losing Johnathan Hankins this offseason, leaving a massive hole on the line. Benton can start from day one and is a prospect that will improve exponentially as he adds more pass-rushing chops to his repertoire. Not a bad haul so far in this mock draft.
Round 4, Pick 129: Jammie Robinson, SAF, Florida State
Safety is another area of need for the Cowboys this offseason. Jammie Robinson is a hard-hitting defensive back from Florida State. The former Seminole is never shy to come up and lay out an opposing ball carrier.
He is best suited for zone coverage early on. Robinson can be too stiff and ‘clunky’, but he reminds me of a poor man’s Jalen Pitre. Dallas would be thrilled to get a fraction of that type of play from a rookie.
Round 5, Pick 162: Tyjae Spears, RB, Tulane
Tony Pollard’s future with the team is uncertain. The star running back is headed to free agency, but a fractured fibula vs. the Niners calls into question what his next move will be.
The Cowboys are cash-strapped, and if they do not move on from Ezekiel Elliot, it is hard to justify another expensive contract in the backfield. Instead, Tyjae Spears features a comparable skillset to Pollard. Spears could be the ‘2’ in a 1-2 punch as a rookie before taking over the lead-back role in 2024.
Round 5, Pick 170*: Luke Schoonmaker, TE, Michigan
Like Pollard, the Cowboys have a tough decision to make with starting tight end Dalton Schultz. Schultz played on the franchise tag in 2022, so Dallas may slap it on him again.
Rookie duo Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot have shown potential as TE2 and TE3 on the roster, but Luke Schoonmaker brings a much higher ceiling to the position.
With Michigan, Schoonmaker set career highs across the board in 2022. He showcased extraordinary versatility, proving to be a focal point as a blocker and receiver for the Wolverines. Schoonmaker is still refining his technique as a route runner, but the potential to be a fantasy football (and real-life) star is there.
Round 5, Pick 176*: Dee Winters, LB, TCU
Dee Winters would go earlier than No. 176 if it were up to me, but the consensus big board still has the TCU defender available in the middle of day three. Dallas benefits from the drop. Winters is one of the best locker room leaders in the 2023 NFL Draft.
He is a high-character guy, which will help him win over Mike McCarthy. Winters is rangy and does well as a zone defender. However, he gets neutralized by blocks in the run game from time to time. Dallas takes the chance in round five in hopes that Winters improves in this area.
Round 6, Pick 212*: Jonathan Mingo, WR, Ole Miss
The Cowboys have a capable wide receiver room, but Noah Brown and TY Hilton are impending free agents. Additionally, Michael Gallup looked like a shell of himself in 2022. On the bright side, CeeDee Lamb ended any questions regarding his viability as a WR1, but he needs help.
Jonathan Mingo is the first of two receivers to wrap up this mock draft. The Ole Miss receiver is chiseled from stone and checks every box from a physical standpoint. Mingo is equally as raw as a route runner, so it might take a couple of months for him to hit stride. His upside is worth betting on.
Round 7, Pick 246: Jadon Haselwood, WR, Arkansas
The final selection of this Cowboys mock draft is Jadon Haselwood. Strong hands, adequate size, and an underrated route tree make the Arkansas pass catcher a potential steal in round seven.
The primary reason for Haselwood tumbling down the draft board is his lack of top-end athleticism. He is essentially the inverse of Mingo. Pairing the two together with CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Jalen Tolbert forms a promising group going forward.