clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dallas Cowboys mailbag: Early draft questions for 2023

People have questions about the Cowboys, and we strive to provide the answers.

NFL: APR 28 2022 Draft Photo by Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Every week, we will be taking questions on Twitter about Dallas Cowboys players and other questions surrounding the team. So let’s get right into it.

@ElizabethRichardson: In the draft how do you know what we need if players are in question (LVE, Pollard, Schultz)?

Brandon: The front office, the scouts, and the player personnel department constantly communicate throughout the season. Once they have their end-of-season meetings, it might have already been decided what the Cowboys want to do with Dalton Schultz, Tony Pollard, and Leighton Vander Esch. Will McClay and Stephen Jones talk about how Dallas uses free agency to fill holes on their roster so they can draft the best player possible when they are on the clock. For example, the Cowboys had a glaring hole at wide receiver last season after trading away Amari Cooper. They signed James Washington to a one-year, low-cost deal while drafting Jalen Tolbert. Even though Dallas has the players listed in question free to sign with any team, they’ve already prepared for it.

Mike: It’s true that we don’t completely know the roster situation for next season, but there are still some glaring needs regardless. Wide receiver is a roster weakness the Cowboys need to go in the draft looking to stabilize, especially with them moving to a west coast offense. Maybe the most glaring position the Cowboys need at this stage is cornerback. The position need here is two-fold as Anthony Brown is questionable to play again at Dallas and the same with Jourdan Lewis. But also next season Trevon Diggs is up for contract talks and will be seeking big bucks. By drafting a defensive back early the Cowboys can develop a corner to play alongside Diggs this year, as well as protect themselves should the worse happen with the Diggs contract. In terms of need, drafting for tight end, offensive guard and linebacker are still unknown. We have to wait and see what they do in retaining the talent before knowing what the draft plans are for those positions.

@RafaelRodriguez: Who do we target in free agency?

Brandon: The most significant positions of need on the roster are cornerback and wide receiver. The wide receiver market is not filled with flashy names either outside of Odell Beckham Jr. Personally, Dallas should sign OBJ in free agency and then draft a cornerback because the depth in the draft at that position goes deep with quality players. Dallas struggled when the Cowboys were without a solid No. 2 to Trevon Diggs and CeeDee Lamb. With reports that Jalen Ramsey may be available, that would be an expensive route to fill a need in the secondary. Before trading for a player like Ramsey, he has to be compared to the corners in the draft. Is it worth giving up picks and financial capital to one of the league’s best at that position, or are they better corners in the draft that can be taken at No. 26?

Mike: Personally I think the Cowboys should look at the defensive tackle position. It takes time to develop defensive tackles and drafting one will certainly help the Cowboys. But for that pick to come to fruition would mean waiting two to three years. By getting a player that is seasoned and has the bulk to play the position in the NFL would make the Cowboys defense formidable, and best of all reduces a need in the draft. Players set to be free agents like Sheldon Rankins from the New York Jets or Dalvin Tomlinson from the Minnesota Vikings would really bolster the line and make the Cowboys defense a top three defensive unit. Aside from that, the most important free agent singing would be their own guys set to hit the open market like Leighton Vander Esch, Connor McGovern or Donovan Wilson.

@KarenDarling: Will we let Zeke walk and draft a RB?

Brandon: The answer might come soon enough. Stephen Jones mentioned they needed to talk with Ezekiel Elliott and his representatives about adjusting his contract. Many of these conversations happen during the combine when everyone from the league comes together. That includes agents, scouts, ownership, and occasionally current players. If they decide to cut Elliott, it might be similar to what happened with DeMarcus Ware, where he was released before the start of free agency, allowing him to maximize his market before big names were signed. Regardless, if Dallas has Zeke and Pollard come back, they still draft a young running back because too many good ones could become eventual starters into the fourth round.

Mike: My guess here on Ezekiel Elliott is the Cowboys will try to hold on to him. No team is really going to trade for him either, so for now Zeke is here unless we hear what plan the team has for him. After the scouting combine we will know more about what is going on with Zeke and where he plays next season.

@SteveBarker: On day one of the draft how likely is the chance they [Dallas] trade out of round one for extra day 2 picks?

Brandon: If the value of picks is there from another, then the Cowboys will trade. It happened in the 2021 draft, where they could pick up a few of the Eagles’ picks and still drafted Micah Parsons. However, when the Cowboys usually drafted in the back half of the first round in the past, they typically stayed put and picked the best player available. Byron Jones, Taco Charlton, Leighton Vander Esch, and Tyler Smith were all picked without moving around. There will be an outstanding player sitting there for the Cowboys at No. 26 that will be drafted. Even if the outside media believes the pick is too high (Tyler Smith), the front office deserves the benefit of the doubt after nailing most of the first-round selections of the past ten years.

Mike: Extremely unlikely is the short answer. Jerry Jones absolutely hates trading away his first-round picks and he said those exact words the last time he did that to get Amari Cooper on the roster. The value on first-round picks isn’t just high for the potential or quality player teams get, it’s also the fifth-year option that makes first-round picks so important. Trading down in the first is fine but trading out of the first for more picks is a tough sell and also a tough buy. To trade takes two teams and these general managers know how much capital they have to sell off to get back in the first. Plus the Cowboys have nine draft picks this year, so trading up on day two or early day three would be more likely depending on who they value at the time.

Be sure to check @kenfigkowboy and @brandoniswrite on Twitter for the weekly post, asking you for your questions for the weekly mailbag

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Blogging The Boys Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Dallas Cowboys news from Blogging The Boys