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Cowboys 2023 mock draft: Pre-scouting combine edition

Predicting the Cowboys 2023 draft ahead of the combine.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 05 Navy at Cincinnati Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The “Underwear Olympics”, better known as the NFL Scouting Combine, is set to kick off Sunday, February 26 and runs through Monday, March 6. This is the social gathering event of the offseason where potential NFL hopefuls will be competing in several events and go through medicals to hopefully boost their draft stock, and in so doing, convince an organization to spend one of their much coveted draft picks on them.

In the grander scheme of things, the combine is generally a tool to confirm what scouts and evaluators have seen from a certain prospect on film. Make no mistake though, it is a useful tool, and one that can have a significant impact on a prospects draft stock one way or another.

Today, we’re going to attempt to predict who the Dallas Cowboys may target with each one of their projected nine draft picks this year. We should have a much better understanding of what players and positions the Cowboys could be targeting this year after the combine by who they meet with at the event, but until then we will just have to do our best guesstimating.

1.26 - OG/C Steve Avila, TCU

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 24 TCU at SMU Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Steve Avila isn’t a name that has been associated with the Dallas Cowboys first-round pick very much so far in the early portions of the offseason, but could start gaining ground the closer we draw to the NFL draft. He’s currently slotted at No. 41 in Dane Brugler’s Top 100 rankings, so ideally Dallas would land him in a trade down scenario. However, considering his position flex and plug-and-play ability, he could easily slide into the latter part of round one.

Per Dane Brugler:

41. Steve Avila, G/C, TCU (6-3, 332)

The unsung hero of a TCU squad that advanced to the national championship, Steve Avila is a wide-bodied blocker and pulls rushers into his tractor beam with his ability to engulf at the point of attack. He needs added consistency to access his explosive power, but he has a strong base and legitimate position flexibility at guard or center.

2.58 - WR Tyler Scott, Cincinnati

Kennesaw State v Cincinnati Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Still somehow flying somewhat under the radar, Tyler Scott (5’11”, 185) is a WR prospect who is going to start to see his draft stock start to soar after blowing up the combine. He reportedly posted a 4.29-second 40-yard dash, a 40.5-inch vertical and an 11-foot broad jump in Cincinnati’s testing last offseason. Those numbers stand up to what he shows on tape and would no doubt add a much-needed explosive element Dallas’ passing game.

Per Dane Brugler:

It feels like there is a prospect compared to Tyler Lockett every draft cycle, but Tyler Scott has the legitimate upside to be a similar player in the NFL. A high school running back and track stud, Scott has outstanding speed and short-area suddenness to create his own separation. He is one of “my guys” in this year’s draft class.

3.90 - CB Darius Rush, South Carolina

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 20 Auburn at South Carolina

Darius Rush’s name has been abuzz ever since the Senior Bowl where he put on a show in front of everyone in attendance. He measured in a half-inch shy of 6’2” and 196 pounds with 32 34 inch arms and an impressive 79 34 inch wingspan. He also proved to be the fastest player in attendance clocking in at 21.65 mph on the GPS. He fits all the criteria Dan Quinn looks for in an outside CB and could be the solution opposite Trevon Diggs for the foreseeable future.

4.129 - RB Roschon Johnson, Texas

Texas v Kansas Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The 2023 RB draft class is one the deepest and most talented in recent memory. Rounds three and four seem to be the sweet spot when they start flying off the board and where Roschon Johnson is still hopefully available for Dallas, despite arguably being a Top 100 player this year. The 6’0”, 225-pound RB is a former QB who checks all of the boxes teams look for in a RB1 and could be the future of the position for the Cowboys regardless of what happens to Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott.

5.163 - LB Cam Jones, Indiana

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 11 Idaho at Indiana Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Leighton Vander Esch, Anthony Barr, and Luke Gifford could all possibly be leaving via free agency, leaving the Cowboys extremely thin at the position. Cam Jones (6’0”, 227) could not only add much-needed depth, but could possibly compete for starting job as a rookie. He is a hard-hitting tone-setter who plays with much more physicality than his size would suggest. His playing style and physical demeanor would fit nicely into Dan Quinn’s system.

5.170 - WR Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss

Mississippi State v Ole Miss Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

Mike McCarthy has shown a tendency to prefer bigger wide receivers during his time as head coach for both the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys and Jonathan Mingo (6’1”, 226) definitely fits the bill. He compares favorably to Eagles WR A.J. Brown - a fellow Ole Miss alum - from a size, speed, talent, and physicality standpoint. He could play a similar type of role with the Cowboys who are trying to find Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb more help.

5.176 - DT Brodric Martin, Western Kentucky Boca Raton Bowl - Western Kentucky v Appalachian State Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Where’s the beef!? With both Jonathan Hankins and Carlos Watkins potentially leaving via free agency, the Cowboys could be looking for another big-bodied, space-eating defensive tackle for the middle of their defensive front this offseason. Brodric Martin is an under the radar, sleeper candidate who could fill that void for Dallas’ defense. The 6’4”, 337-pound DT is an immovable force with impressive length (34 3/8 inch arms, 84 2/8 inch wingspan).

6.212 - TE Davis Allen, Clemson

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 24 Clemson at Wake Forest Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Even though Dalton Schultz is probably leaving via free agency, and both Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot showed promise to be the future the position, the Cowboys could be looking to add more depth at TE through the draft. Davis Allen is an intriguing Day 3 prospect who could push for significant playing time as a rookie. Whether it’s in-line or split out, Allen offers excellent size (6’5”, 246), length, and is an above-average athlete for the position.

7.246 - EDGE BJ Thompson, Stephen F. Austin

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 26 Stephen F Austin at SMU Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In DeMarcus Lawrence, Micah Parsons, Dorance Armstrong, and Sam Williams the Dallas Cowboys have good depth at defensive end heading into the 2023 season. But, that doesn’t mean they can’t add more, especially a developmental prospect with upside at this point in the draft. That is exactly what BJ Thompson is. He’s even caught the eye of Dane Brugler, who recently compared him to former Cowboys pass rusher Randy Gregory.

Per Dane Brugler:

I am very intrigued with Stephen F. Austin pass rusher BJ Thompson, who has flashes on tape that bring back memories of scouting Randy Gregory coming out of Nebraska. He is quick off the ball with outstanding speed and bend to give blockers trouble in space. He has a long, stretched-out frame (34 3/8-inch arms), but is thin through his hips and lower body (238 pounds at 6 feet 5).

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