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2023 NFL mock draft: ESPN gives Dallas Cowboys help at offensive line and in secondary

Mock draft season is here, and we have another one for the Dallas Cowboys from ESPN.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys fans are focused squarely on offseason activity which includes the likes of free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft. The latter was a heavy focus of the league this past weekend with the Senior Bowl happening and as soon as the Super Bowl is over attention will shift to the NFL Combine.

With the Senior Bowl officially in the rearview mirror, it can now be used in assessing draft prospects which is all part of the process.

ESPN’s latest mock draft has the Dallas Cowboys picking up at help along the offensive line and in the secondary

When it comes to the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys can go in just about any direction with the 26th overall pick. Almost everything is on the table.

One of the things that seems least likely would be Dallas drafting say a quarterback (ducks) or running back at 26 overall which is what made ESPN’s mocking of Texas running back Bijan Robinson to Dallas feel so unlikely.

The worldwide leader dropped a new mock on Monday, one done by Matt Miller, and this feels much more realistic. What’s more is it is two rounds long!

26. Dallas Cowboys: O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida

One of the top performers during Senior Bowl week was Torrence, my top-ranked player in Mobile. The 6-foot-5, 337-pound right guard was dominant in one-on-one drills throughout the week, showing an aggressive ability in the run game. But what was most impressive during the week was his ability in pass protection, where his length showed up as pass-rushers were unable to consistently get around him. The Cowboys’ offensive line is in flux, but the addition of Torrence would allow Tyler Smith to play left tackle full time while improving the team’s overall offensive line play. The Gators’ big man allowed just one sack in 2022.

58. Dallas Cowboys: Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah

Finding a starting outside cornerback opposite Trevon Diggs — standout rookie DaRon Bland played primarily in the slot — should be on Dallas’ short list for the offseason. Phillips had six interceptions in 2022, and he has the toughness and instincts to excel playing inside or outside cornerback at 5-foot-10 and 183 pounds. No, he doesn’t have ideal NFL size, but his on-the-ball production over the past two seasons prove he can make an impact.

Obviously free agency takes place before the draft and what happens there will impact things, and the potential return of players like Tyron Smith, Connor McGovern and/or Anthony Brown will be a factor in determining exactly how big the need is at guard and in the secondary. But given the way that Dallas has operated, it would not be shocking to see them pigeonhole themselves by leaving their roster exposed at certain spots entering the draft.

The idea of drafting Torrence seems to rest the most on what happens in the months leading up to it. Obviously if Tyron Smith is back then Tyler Smith is not the unquestioned starter at left tackle which would lower guard on the priority list a tad, but if Tyron is gone (and if McGovern is as well) then the need becomes paramount.

Selecting Phillips in the second round would mean that Dallas was taking a corner in that particular round for the third time in four years. Trevon Diggs is obviously a hit, one who will enter contract negotiations this year, but Kelvin Joseph is a big time miss. The consequences for missing are sometimes to try again and if Anthony Brown is gone, or still recovering, the Cowboys are going to need help in the secondary which was evidenced by them bringing in all sorts of players near the end of the season.

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