Today we have another new mock from Mel Kiper of ESPN. The term “new” is used loosely here because Kiper keeps going back to the same well. It’s something we have covered a few times here, and that is the determination of ESPN’s Kiper and Todd McShay to give the Cowboys a tight end in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
26. Dallas Cowboys
Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
Dalton Schultz left in free agency, and the Cowboys never replaced him. Let’s get Dak Prescott a talented safety valve here. Mayer is the best all-around tight end in this class; he’s not afraid to latch on to defenders and block. Don’t discount his receiving upside, either. He had 180 catches for 2,099 yards and 18 scores in three college seasons. He can be an outlet on crossers and hooks, and he’ll pick up first downs after the catch. Dallas also has scouted the class’ best wide receivers, so keep an eye out if one of the top guys drops.
Since we’ve covered this before, we’ll do a quick condensed version. The Cowboys have a couple of potential starting tight ends already on the roster in Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot. Tight ends rarely have a big impact in season one. The ability to find tight ends in later rounds is similar to running backs. And, perhaps more indicative, the Cowboys have only invited one tight end so far for a visit that could possibly go in the first round and that was Darnell Washington.
This feels like ‘Dalton Schultz left, so let’s mock a tight end’ thinking. Maybe Kiper has inside information and the Cowboys are leaning in this direction, but it does not feel like the best use of their draft resources at all.
On to round two:
58. Dallas Cowboys
Jonathan Mingo, WR, Ole Miss
I thought about a replacement for Ezekiel Elliott here, but Mingo would make an impact on the Dallas depth chart. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound receiver has a great mix of size and speed. He averaged 16.9 yards per reception last season, and he was mostly running short routes. He can break tackles once he gets the ball. He has experience playing both outside and in the slot. This makes two pass-catchers for the Cowboys, and you know Dak Prescott would be thrilled.
This sounds more like what the Cowboys should do. We know from their visits that they are very interested in wide receivers in either the first or second round of the draft. They have brought in Quentin Johnston, Zay Flowers, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Josh Downs, Jalin Hyatt, and Jonathan Mingo for visits. This is a very strong indication that somewhere in the first two rounds they would like to draft a wide receiver.
Mingo has been climbing boards and the Cowboys could mature him for a year behind CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup and Brandin Cooks if everything goes to plan, or if there is an injury he could see more playing time in year one. With Cooks possibly being a one-year rental, Mingo could move up in his second year.