The evaluation process leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft is still in the baby stages, but each and every one of us still have favorite prospects we would absolutely love to see end up with the Dallas Cowboys. It’s part of the reason why the draft process is so much fun. Everybody gets to compare notes and share who they’d like to see wearing the star in the not-too-distant future.
With that in mind, here are some way-too-early favorites for the Cowboys to add on the defensive side of the ball. These selections are based on the Cowboys current roster needs and how each prospect fits the parameters the organization typically goes by. That’s to hopefully make it as realistic as possible, plus it makes it a little bit more challenging.
EDGE - Will McDonald IV, Iowa State
Like Sam Williams last year, Will McDonald is likely someone Dan Quinn would love to work with. The 6’3”, 241-pound pass rusher was highly productive in college (34 sacks) due to his natural tools, length (35” arms), wingspan (82 3/8”), and quick-twitch athleticism. He’s still little raw, but his ceiling is through the roof. He’d make an excellent designated pass rusher/backup with the Cowboys while he continues to develop.
Not many pass rushers have gotten past Darnell Wright this week, but @CycloneFB edge rusher Will McDonald has a few win against him.— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) February 1, 2023
McDonald has been using his speed effectively against’s Wright’s outside shoulder, which set up this nice inside counter. Good week for McDonald pic.twitter.com/sHbN1sQfVA
DT - Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin
Keanu Benton hands down should be one of the favorite defensive tackles in the entire 2023 draft class for the Dallas Cowboys. The 6’3”, 312-pound DT is exactly the type of interior defensive lineman they could use to significantly upgrade their defensive front. He has the versatility to play either the 1-tech or 3-tech in Dan Quinn’s scheme and he’s not only a stout run defender, but also has some juice as a pass rusher as well.
Violent & explosive hands from Keeanu Benton. Kid can move @ 312. pic.twitter.com/Su5dKwyACP— Ryan Fowler (@_RyanFowler_) January 31, 2023
LB - Dee Winters, TCU
Anyone who’s watched Dee Winters throughout his career at TCU shouldn’t be surprised he put on a show at the Senior Bowl. The 5’11”, 223-pound safety turned linebacker was dominant on the field in Mobile. He showed off his skill set as a rushing LB, in coverage, and against the run. With Leighton Vander Esch, Anthony Barr, and Luke Gifford possibly leaving in free agency, a LB with Winters’ all around skill set should be high on Dallas’ draft wishlist.
CB - Darius Rush, South Carolina
While Darius Rush has been overshadowed by his former teammate Cam Smith during their time at South Carolina, and will likely continue to be so throughout the draft process, the 6’1”, 196-pound CB has just as much upside at the next level. His size (6’1”, 196), length (32 6/8” arms) and wingspan (79 6/8”) fit the parameters Dan Quinn seems to like in his outside CBs. He could possibly compete for the starting job opposite Trevon Diggs from Day 1.
Love how smoothly Darius Rush flips his hips to get back in phase with the receiver after he crosses face. Have no doubts that the #Cowboys will be big fans of the South Carolina CB. pic.twitter.com/E2T5TgrVer— John Owning (@JohnOwning) February 5, 2023
S - Sydney Brown, Illinois
Sydney Brown (5’10”, 213) is someone that could step in and take over for Donovan Wilson from Day 1 as a rookie. He is a versatile safety prospect Dan Quinn can use in a variety of different ways whether it’s in coverage as a deep safety or more around the line of scrimmage as a blitzer/enforcer. Much like Wilson, he’s a tone-setter who is super competitive whether it’s dropping into coverage or coming downhill in run support.
Sydney Brown’s film feels/looks a lot like Talanoa Hufanga’s at USC— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) February 4, 2023
High energy, play speed always at MAX, can play top/down or as a box player. Excellent angles, you see his burst to close as a blitzer, pursuit man, or closing/attacking catch windows.
5yr starter. 3100 snaps. pic.twitter.com/sB0yCvlspp