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Cowboys news: Jaxon Smith-Njigba visit news ramps up Dallas’ draft interest at WR

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NCAA Football: Toledo at Ohio State Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba scheduled to visit Cowboys - Todd Brock, The Cowboys Wire

Smith-Njigba would have a great case to be the best player left on the board if he’s there for the Cowboys at 26.

The 21-year-old Dallas native is considered one of the top wide receivers available, usually alongside USC’s Jordan Addison, Tennessee’s Jalin Hyatt, and Boston College’s Zay Flowers in most scouting reports. But former NFL scout and Reese’s Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy tweeted on Monday that “numerous teams” have Smith-Njigba ranked as the only wide receiver truly worthy of a first-round grade in 2023.

That fact alone might make the college junior a long shot for the Cowboys, who pick 26th overall. But his record-breaking career with the Buckeyes and sensational combine performance absolutely make him worth spending an official visit on.

Stellar players do sometimes fall unexpectedly on draft day: that is, after all, how the Cowboys ended up with CeeDee Lamb. That was such an unforeseen curveball that the Dallas staff hadn’t even done a pre-draft interview with Lamb when they turned in his card in 2020.

They apparently won’t be caught similarly off-guard with Smith-Njigba.


Could the Cowboys really wait until the third round to address their offensive line?


Alternative players at a similar/same position: iOL Jarrett Patterson (123), Notre Dame; iOL Chandler Zavala (187), NC State; OT Tyler Steen (97), Alabama.

I know we used the consensus board as a guide, but here I ignored rankings.

Emil Ekiyor Jr is a top 100 player for The Athletic’s Dane Brugler. Lance Zierlein of has him as the 14th-best offensive lineman which includes tackles, guards, and centers.

Similar to Chandler Zavala. Though he’s 187 on the consensus, Brugler has him 78th. I considered Zavala, but he had back surgery in 2021 and dealt with injuries throughout high school according to Brugler so I avoided him.

Interior offensive linemen were a little thin here, but not awful.

The injury to iOL Andrew Vorhees, USC at the combine really hurt the depth of this position in the middle rounds.

Odell Beckham Jr.’s contract details prove Cowboys played WR market perfectly - Jerry Trotta, The Landry Hat

The Cowboys traded for Brandin Cooks early in the offseason, and seem destined to add another receiver in this month’s draft.

In short, this is a massive gamble by the Ravens. Was it made to increase the likelihood of Lamar Jackson returning? Most likely, but that doesn’t mean giving $15 million guaranteed to a player who hasn’t logged a full season since 2019 isn’t a huge roll of the dice. But enough about Baltimore.

Their gamble just punctuates the fact the Cowboys played the receiver market perfectly and made the right call trading for Cooks, who’ll earn $12 million guaranteed from the Cowboys after Houston agreed to pay $6 million of his salary.

That’s a $3 million difference in guaranteed money and a potential $6 million difference in total earnings, and you can argue Cooks is the superior — and more reliable — player of the two former 2014 first-round picks. It’s worth noting, too, that Dallas has Cooks under contract for $8 million next season.

That brings us to Beckham’s injury history.

Entering his age-31 season, Beckham has a torn hamstring, an ankle fracture and two separate ACL tears to the same knee on his ledger.

Progress Report: Reps Key for Jabril Cox in 2023 - Staff,

Jabril Cox could have a larger role in Dan Quinn’s defense this season.

Needs Some Work: Like a couple of players we’ve run through during this series that could make an impact next season, Cox needs to get on the field consistently. A fully healthy offseason should go a long way in achieving that goal and there is still plenty to like. The Cowboys and fans alike know what they could potentially have in Cox in a larger sample size, though they just have yet to see it over a longer period of time.

His Best Work: One of the strengths of Cox coming out of LSU was his ability to defend in pass coverage at the linebacker spot. At 6’3 and 233 pounds he still has the athleticism to cover in space and could give the Cowboys another strong coverage linebacker along with Leighton Vander Esch and Micah Parsons when he’s not lining up on the edges. If not there, then his ability to translate that skill to special teams where he has seen the majority of his career snaps could also prove useful for what will be a reworked special teams unit in 2023.

Prospects for Cowboys to Avoid in 2023 NFL Draft - Kristopher Knox, Bleacher Report

How and when the Cowboys may address tight end in the draft is one of the biggest remaining questions of the offseason.

Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State

Dallas also needs a pass-catching tight end after losing Dalton Schultz to the Houston Texans in free agency. Schultz played on the franchise tag in 2022 and finished with 57 receptions, 577 yards and five touchdowns.

The 2023 class is both loaded with tight-end talent and deep at the position. If the Cowboys dip into the talent pool early, though, they need to find a tight end who can make an immediate impact.

Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave has the athletic upside needed to be a future NFL star. He ran a 4.61-second 40-yard dash at 6’6” and 253 pounds in Indianapolis. The issue is that his athleticism and size didn’t translate to production in college.

Despite appearing in 20 games, Musgrave finished his college career with only 633 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He hasn’t shown that he can be a high-volume pass-catcher, and it may take time for Musgrave’s frame to fill out.

“He will need to add weight and muscle in order to handle himself in traffic and over the middle of the field, however,” Derrik Klassen of the B/R Scouting Department wrote. “Hopefully a year or two in an NFL weight training system can do the trick and unlock his potential.”

Dallas should focus on tight ends more equipped to contribute in 2023, like Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer or Georgia’s Darnell Washington.

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