With the 2022 season in the rear view, the focus for the Dallas Cowboys is now improving from what was a successful 12-5 season that ended in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Super Bowl drought for America’s Team currently stands at 27 seasons, which seems like an eternity due to the stretch that the team had in the 90’s by winning three Lombardi Trophies in just four seasons. If the Cowboys franchise cannot get over the hump by the end of the 2025 season, then it will officially mark 30 years since the last Super Bowl victory. Thankfully, the team has three seasons to play before that mark becomes a reality.
Speaking of reality, it isn’t far-fetched to believe that Dallas is pretty close to finally breaking through and winning the whole darn thing. Coming off back to back 12-win seasons, and progressing from the wild card game to the divisional round in as many years seems to have the team trending in the right direction.
The Cowboys front office has been performing well during the NFL Draft in recent years, and many of those players drafted are currently still on the roster. To take it a step further, Dallas is currently tied for the sixth-youngest roster in the league as the average age on the roster is shade under 26. Based on age and recent performances, the Cowboys Super Bowl window is very much open. They are seemingly just a few players away from taking that next step from playoff contender, to Super Bowl contender.
Unfortunately for Dallas, their franchise quarterback Dak Prescott has been bit by the injury bug which has resulted in him missing action in some capacity over the last three seasons. This kind of development can hinder the hopes and dreams of potentially winning the big one exponentially. Fortunately, while Prescott missed games due to a fractured thumb, backup quarterback Cooper Rush guided the team to a 4-1 record and kept the Cowboys firmly in contention during the franchise quarterback’s absence. With Rush playing well this past season, franchises across the NFL will have taken notice and due to this, his free agent market has grown. With former Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore now in Los Angeles, Rush could possibly be reuniting with Moore and serving as the backup to Justin Herbert.
If Rush heads out to L.A. or to another team not named the Dallas Cowboys, then drafting a quarterback to backup Dak Prescott becomes an even more important need given his recent injury history. Typically when drafting a quarterback with the intention of being the backup, spending early draft capital isn’t necessary. When Day 3 comes during this year’s draft, don’t be surprised to see Dallas picking up a developmental quarterback.
If they decide on drafting a quarterback on Day 3, here are three intriguing options to keep an eye on throughout the draft process.
1. Tyson Bagent, Shepard University
Bagent, who hails from Division II Shepard University in West Virginia, is looking to become the first quarterback from a D-2 school to be drafted since Chris Greisen in 1999. If the name Chris Greisen sounds familiar, it is because during the 2010 and 2011 seasons he was signed to the Cowboys active roster. Bagent had a very prolific college career and won the Harlon Hill Trophy in 2021. This trophy is the Division II equivalent to the Heisman Trophy. During this season he threw for 5,000 yards and 53 touchdowns. He would follow up in 2022 to throw for 4,580 yards with 41 touchdowns, and just eight interceptions. Although he did not win the Harlon Hill Trophy in back-to-back seasons, Bagent was a finalist in 2022. In his college career, he would finish with over 17,000 yards passing, 159 touchdowns to just 48 interceptions. He would leave Shepardstown with a completion percentage of 69.
Aside from the tremendous numbers, Bagent possesses a good arm and is very accurate with the ball. He isn’t much of a scrambler, but can shuffle in the pocket as needed to buy his receivers time to get open. Although he isn’t known for his scrambling ability, he is very accurate throwing on the run.
Here is a clip of how nice of ball he throws when he sticks to his technique.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times:— Ryan Decker (@RyanDecker_) January 31, 2023
Tyson Bagent is getting drafted in April. Case closed
What makes him a Day 3 pick comes down to the level of competition he played in college. He will also need to be coached up on being more consistent with his delivery and his footwork. Sometimes he will unnecessarily throw a pass from an odd angle when it’s not needed which is reminiscence of former Cowboys quarterback Ben DiNucci.
If he can be coached up, there are plenty of tools in his bag to become a quality backup quarterback at the NFL level.
2. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA
Thompson-Robinson, unlike Bagent, was a known commodity as a highly-recruited prospect coming out of high school. He held offers from the traditional powerhouse programs like Alabama, Georgia, and LSU. He ended up staying out west as he committed to UCLA. During his college career, he would tally over 10,000 yards with 88 touchdowns to just 36 interceptions.
DTR is a tremendous athlete who also possesses good arm strength. He has good ball placement which makes for a much more catchable ball for his wideouts. Thompson-Robinson does some of his best work when he improvises, and can throw accurately from various arm angles. Speaking of accuracy, he has worked hard to improve in that area as he increased his completion percentage by over seven points from 2021 to 2022.
Check out this clip as you will see some of the tools you look for in a quarterback.
DTR throwing with timing, touch, and anticipation while getting hit pic.twitter.com/oWeLreWUsr— Billy M (@BillyM_91) February 3, 2023
What makes DTR a developmental prospect is his inconsistent technique when delivering the ball. He occasionally will throw off his back foot which leads to some of his passes lacking the zip needed to make it to its intended target. His technique also can be a detriment to his aggressive nature which leads to some turnovers that certainly could’ve been avoided.
Given that Thompson-Robinson possesses tremendous athletic upside, he has all the skills to become a quality player in the NFL. He just needs to be coached up, and break some of those bad habits that he has at the moment.
3. Max Duggan, TCU
Last but not least, we have Max Duggan. Duggan, like Thompson-Robinson, was a known commodity coming out of high school and was also recruited by the big names like Georgia, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. With multiple scholarships in hand, he decided to play his college ball at TCU. After four seasons with the Horned Frogs, Duggan threw for 9,618 yards with 73 touchdowns, and 28 interceptions. He finished his college career with nearly 2,000 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns as well.
In case you were pondering the Cowboys interest in Max Duggan, check out this little nugget from Jerry Jones:
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that Max Duggan has “stood out” to him among all of the QB’s at the Senior Bowl this week.— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) February 3, 2023
Jones said yesterday that he is committed to drafting a QB in this year’s draft.
Duggan played his college ball just 19 miles away from AT&T Stadium pic.twitter.com/KvPfMfFHQS
Duggan is a very good athlete who can make plays with both his arm and his legs. When throwing the ball, he is pretty accurate at all three levels. Whether it is in the pocket or outside the pocket, Duggan is dynamic with the ball in his hands. That dynamic style resulted in being the runner-up for this year’s Heisman Trophy as well as the winner of the Davey O’Brien Award. Duggan was the first TCU quarterback to win the Davey O’Brien Award, which just so happens to be the Alma Mater of Mr. O’Brien’s.
Here is a look at how he has been doing at the Senior Bowl.
Although Max Duggan had a great 2022 season, there as reasons as to why he is looking more and more like a Day 3 selection and it is due to some of his inconsistencies. In order for Duggan to have a chance to be productive at the next level, he will need to be coached up on his throwing mechanics and footwork. He will also need to learn to go through his progressions much better, and stop relying so much on his legs. If he continues to use his legs at a high clip, then chances are his career will be short lived because he does not possess the size needed to take as many hits as he has in college.
After having a productive college career, there is a lot to like about Duggan’s game. If he is able to be coached up, then there is a chance that his potential could be untapped and a fruitful career could be ahead of him.