Cowboys 2023 NFL Draft Dallas plugs significant needs but fails to extract positional value from early picks

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The ' 2023 was like loading any streaming app on a smart TV device: initially fuzzy with an unclear picture before coming into a sharp, clear focus. Dallas secured consecutive seasons with 12 or more wins acro s the last two years (2021-2022), a run of winning not seen by the Silver and Blue since the glory years of the 1990s from 1992-1995 with Hall of Famers Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin leading the way.With that context, the Cowboys approached the draft not to make the highest-upside pick, but rather to fill their roster with players who could play roles Willie Herenton Jersey at their positional needs immediately in 2023. That approach could turn out well for them in the short-term and long-term futures.After a, it felt like Dallas had the opportunity to go all-in on the "best player available" approach, but that wasn't the route they pursued. Here is a breakdown of the Cowboys' 2023 draft cla s, starting with the bad news first (what they mi sed on) and finishing with the good news (what they succe sfully accomplished):ROUNDPLAYERSCHOOLPOSITION1 (26)MichiganDT2 (58)MichiganTE3 (90)TexasLB4 (129) Jr.San Jose StateDE5 (169)North CarolinaOL6 (178)Eric Scott Jr.Southern Mi si sippiCB6 (212)Kansas StateRB7 (244)South CarolinaWRMaximize value with first two picksIn a vacuum, adding Michigan defensive tackle and Michigan tight end means adding players who can help the Dallas Cowboys in 2023. The i sue, which is admittedly nitpicking, is the context of who was available at higher impact positions when the Cowboys made those picks. When Dallas was on the clock at 26 on Thursday night, a couple of uber-athletic edge rushers were on the board -- Clemson's (went 28th to the ) and Georgia's (went 30th to the ) -- in addition to one of the top cornerback prospects in the entire draft, Penn State's (went 32nd to the ).Three-time Pro Bowl defensive is 31 years old, carries cap hits of $17.1 million and $20.5 million acro s the next two seasons and has failed to record seven or more sacks or over 60 quarterback pre sures in each of the last four seasons (2019-2022). Selecting Murphy or Smith would've allowed for an incredibly athletic, young pa s rusher to learn from Lawrence and become All-Pro linebacker ' pa s-rushing partner for the next decade. That value is significantly higher than run-stuffing defensive tackle.Similarly, Porter Jr. would've been just as much of a justifiable selection at 26 overall given the value top-tier cornerbacks have in the pa sing league the has become over the last decade. The trade to acquire former Defensive Player of the Year was as shrewd one, but he turns 33 years old in September. Gilmore will likely be a high-end contributor for the Cowboys' secondary for maybe two seasons since his contract expires after the 2023 season. Porter Jr. being able to learn from the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year while being integrated into defensive coordinator Dan Quinn's scheme in 2023 and then taking over him on the outside full-time in 2024 (if he leaves in in free agency) or in 2025 and beyond makes too much sense. Once Gilmore's time is done in Dallas Ray Lewis Jersey , the Cowboys still have the same cornerback depth i sues that plagued them in 2022 behind .As for Round 2, there's one player that would've made more sense at 58 overall in Round 2 than Schoonmaker, and it's the one the selected with the very next pick: Florida offensive guard . Many viewed Torrence as this draft's most pro-ready guard and for good reason. He went 1,427 pa s-blocking snaps without allowing a sack in his collegiate career, the most pa s-blocking snaps in the entire nation without allowing a quarterback takedown over the last four seasons. Dallas has a clear need at left guard opposite , and this pick would've been a perfect one to solidify the offensive line in front of . As for Schoonmaker himself, they likely could've selected him in Round 3 given 2023 was the deepest tight end draft cla s in recent memory, and he's an older prospect who doesn't have a ton of upside as a pa s-catcher. Not going Torrence is additionally confusing considering Dallas was debating between defensive tackle and offensive guard in Round 1 as the video below shows. Cowboys here are debating between Michigan DT Mazi Smith and Syracuse OL Matthew Bergeron for the 26th pick on Thursday nightWatch Will McClay deliver the closing argument for Smith Kevin Gray Jr. (@KevinGraySports) O'Cyrus Torrence's college career statsStarts47Pa s Block Snaps1,427*Sacks Allowed0Pre sures Allowed21Pre sure Pct1.5%Addre s positions of need (defensive tackle, tight end, linebacker, defensive end, and running back) with young, cost-controlled talentAll that being said about the Cowboys' first two picks, they did come away from the the draft with a vastly superior roster entering 2023. Dallas' run defense was their Achilles heel in 2022, ranking 22nd in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (129.3), and the Mazi Smith pick clearly helps fix that i sue. Smith also gives Dallas a young, middle of the defensive line anchor for years to come while standing at 6'3, 337 pounds as a 21-year-old. The Cowboys needed a long-term replacement for , the 31-year-old defensive tackle who returned on a one-year deal this offseason, and they got it.With tight end departure to the on a one-year, $6.3 million deal in free agency, the Cowboys were left with 2022 fourth- Ebuka Izundu Jersey round pick (19 catches, 174 receiving yards, and two receiving touchdowns in career), 2022 undrafted free agent (11 catches, 103 receiving yards, and two receiving touchdowns in career), and 25-year-old (two catches and 11 receiving yards in career) at the tight end position. Schoonmaker fills the void as a pro-ready blocker and as a po se sion receiver. He won't wow you after the catch or with incredibly polished route-running, but Schoonmaker can be a nice big-body target over the middle who is an upgrade from Schultz as a blocker.The Cowboys' big victories in the 2023 NFL Draft were in the third, fourth, and sixth rounds. University of Texas linebacker DeMarvion Overshown was their best value pick of the entire draft, finding a long-term fill-in at linebacker for the aging, former Pro Bowler , whom they employed last season. Overshown is strong in pursuit when it comes to playing against the run, and he's a big hitter for his size at 6-foot-3, 229 pounds. He's a former safety who is a plus as run defender. Overshown is fast and enough (4.56 40-yard dash) to act as a capable quarterback spy on Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and 2022 NFL MVP runner-up as well as on dual-threat quarterback . A speedy, rangy linebacker is a Dan Quinn template at that position, strong Miami Hurricanes Jersey pick there.San Jose State defensive end Viliami Fehoko Jr. is a great rotation piece for Quinn's defensive line. He racked up at least 12.5 tackles for lo s in three times in his collegiate career and finished with nearly the same amount of TFLs (47.0) as he did college games played (48). The 2022 Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year also totaled over five sacks in each of his last three seasons, including a career-high of 9.0 in 2022. Fehoko doesn't have a top, high-end prospect build in terms of athleticism, but his strong pa s-rush technique could lead to an extensive NFL career.Selecting Darren Sporles Jr., Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn, in the sixth round was great for the Cowboys' team needs and , since his father Chris is the Cowboys' a sistant director of college scouting. Dallas needed a capable backup to spell , especially after his freak leg injury at the end of last season, and Vaughn can provide a similar big-play threat each team he touches the football despite his stature (5'6, 176 pounds).Overall, the 2023 NFL Draft was a safe, down the fairway approach that will aide the team's quest for their first Super Bowl in the 21st Century immediately, which is exactly what they had hoped.
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