The Cowboys are coming off a season that was lauded with expectations and were on a roller coaster of a ride for the majority of the season. There were glaring holes that need immediate fill from both sides of the ball. Fortunately for Dallas fans; the Jones family loves to build the team through the draft. It's not likely they'll be aggressive in pursuing their top targets on their draft boards but looking at this class this may pay off for them.
In my mocks, I won't play with trade scenarios as this doesn't fit a normal strategy for the Cowboys, instead I'll focus on their picks and determining who will be picked in the respective rounds.
The Cowboys draft needs are as followed:
- Wide Receiver
- Defensive Interior
- Left Guard/Tackle*
- Running Back
*This position varies on where the Cowboys look to insert Tyler Smith
Let's take a look at the Day 1 prospects!
Jordan Addison - WR - USC
Photo Cred: Keith Birmingham
- 6" ft, 174 lbs, 40-time: 4.39 (unoffical)
In my opinion, if Addison were to fall to the Cowboys at the 26th pick, this should be an automatic selection for them. Addison is a former Biletnikoff winner and consensus All-American in 2021 and received first team honors at Pittsburgh (2021) and USC (2022). Outside of lacking a clear-cut CB2 - opposite to Trevon Diggs - Dallas lacked a clear WR2 behind CeeDee Lamb.
The Cowboys were dead-set on making Lamb their WR1 that they forgot to ensure that they had a WR2 to cover his production as well. Noah Brown performed admirably, but is definitely not the answer to the Cowboys WR woes. Michael Gallup was still recovering from his ACL injury, while he showed sparks, he seemingly disappeared down the stretch and received little to no targets. Dallas added TY Hilton late in the season in hopes to get a better option, whom showed sparks as well, but long term Hilton won't be able to provide this to the Cowboys.
Addison brings a lot to the table that Dallas misses from Amari Cooper. Addison is a candidate to "hit his head on the goal post" anytime he steps on the field as he has a knack of getting open and most of all creating separation from his defenders. He has a sufficient route tree and isn't limited to just deep threats; this can use polishing but he's likely third amongst rookies with his route running ability. He can make defenders miss once he has the ball in his hands and is hard to take down. If Dallas intends on running a similar offense they ran this year, Addison will fit exactly what they are looking for.
Joey Porter Jr - CB - Penn St
- 6'2" ft, 194 lbs, 40-time: 4.47 (unoffical)
Next up is a glimpse at the first need that the Cowboys will prioritize, if Addison is not available. Joey Porter Jr, currently, is projected to land with the Cowboys. Mind you, this is pre-draft rankings and I strongly believe with an above average combine this will propel Porter's stock and make him less likely to be available. However, if the Cowboys are staring at him at the 26th pick and Addison has been selected - he's a no brainer selection.
When Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis went down, we all hoped that Kelvin Joseph would take a step in the right direction; however, after getting shredded by the Jaguars, these pipe dreams have dissipated. While Joseph is certainly a better athlete than the latter he's likely going to lose his job over his inability to play the position he was drafted to play. With Brown coming off an injury and being an unrestricted free agent, I'm finding it had to believe that he'll be re-signed by Dallas. Lewis is another cap casualty I can see the Cowboys parting ways with as they look to give Wright and Mukuamu more playing time.
Porter fits the defensive scheme perfectly as he's a strong man-to-man corner, has great instincts and ball hawk ability and has improved his footwork and 1-on-1 coverage in the past year. Unlike Diggs though, he won't be one to track down wide receivers and close gaps at his whim. He'll need to use his technique and size to jam receivers at the line and match them stride for stride. Fortunately, landing in Dallas would benefit Porter as locking up a defender for at least 5-6 seconds will give this pass rush ample time to get to the quarterback.
Deonte Banks - CB - Maryland
Photo Credit: Greg Fiume
- 6'2" ft, 205 lbs, 40-time: 4.50 (unoffical)
As noted, at the moment, Joey Porter Jr is slated to fall to the Cowboys at this position; I'm fairly certain that the NFL combine will boost Porter's stock and move him from this spot. In that event, Cam Smith would be my next "go-to" run to the podium selection.
He's a corner that fits the type of defense that Dan Quinn runs as his physique is unquestionable, so much so that multiple outlets have him ranging from 6ft to 6ft 4in and weighing between 188-215lbs. He's very physical and can excel in man coverage, which Dallas severely lacked opposite of Diggs. Like Diggs, he has a nose for the football and may give up a big play here and there while he looks to track the ball and use his speed to make up ground.
Smith is already drawing early comparisons to fellow South Carolina Alumni, Jaycee Horn, and 2nd team All-Pro corner A.J. Terrell. If Dallas is able to land this Smith to pair with Diggs and budding starter Bland, this can provide the defense with yet another weapon at Quinn's disposal.
Broderick Jones - LT - Georgia
Photo Credit: Gary Crosby Jr.
- 6'4" ft, 310 lbs, 40-time: 4.8 (unoffical) Bench Press: N/A
Up next is the less sexy pick in Broderick Jones. Jones would, potentially, provide the Cowboys a long term answer to their Left Tackle concerns. Tyron Smith is a future Hall-of-Famer as there's no question, however, Smith hasn't played a full season since 2016 and over the seasons it's proved that this position isn't as easily fillable. This past season Tyler Smith and Jason Peters found themselves alternating playing Left Tackle. While Peters is certainly not a long term answer (also a free agent) and Smith is more suited for Guard, this is where Jones can offer his services.
Jones is widely considered to be the best athlete amongst the other offensive linemen in - here's a video of him balling - he's an elite protector and has ability to maul players quickly, possess high football IQ, vice grip-like hand strength, and a phenomenal finisher. Due to his basketball background, Jones has jaw-dropping speed for his size - this has allowed him to play tight end at times. One of the most impressive stats to Jones' credit is that he didn't surrender a single sack this past season, playing in the toughest conference in the FBS.
If it were to come down to choosing between Nolan Smith and Jones, it's my estimation that the Cowboys will pick Jones as elite Left Tackles are a bit harder to come by. Either pick at the end of the 1st round has the makings of a steal for the Cowboys provided they do not flub the opportunity to capitalize.
- Jaxon Smith-Njigba - WR -Ohio St
- JSN is an "if-only" pick at the moment. There are a few mock drafts that have him sliding into Dallas' lap at 26, but I'm doubting that he'll be an option. He'd be a surefire selection if he falls to the Cowboys as Jerry Jones will never want to repeat when he passed up on Randy Moss.
- Nolan Smith - EDGE - Georgia
- The likelihood that Smith drops all the way to Dallas is unfathomable, as he has potential to be a day one starter and requires less polishing and more fine tuning to be an elite rusher. In order for him to drop this low, I suspect it would take a less than stellar combine.
- Bijan Robinson - RB - Texas
- Runningbacks do not hold the same value as they once did as their "shelf life" isn't as extensive as other skill positions. That said, Bijan is regarded as the best back since Saquon Barkley. While Bijan doesn't address any immediate need for Dallas having him on the field would make Ezekiel Elliott a bit more expendable as Bijan is a hyper-athlete and taking him at 26 would be a steal.
As it stands, I'm not sure that any of the top WRs or CBs are going to fall to the Cowboys. It's very possible that Nolan Smith or Bijan Robinson will be available at this pick and the Cowboys may trade away the opportunity to draft one of these individuals in lieu of additional draft compensation. There's also a strong possibility that the Saints may trade in to draft Tanner McKee from this spot.
Sticking to my previous annotation; Deonte Banks would be my selection at this pick or taking an early reach for Tyrique Stevenson or Kayshon Boutte as a first round pick.
Round 2 & 3 »