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Cowboys cartography: Mapping how the 2023 NFL draft might fall

Let’s see what are the bountiful positions for the Cowboys to partake in during the 2023 NFL Draft.

NFL: NFL Draft
Let’s try to point the way forward.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It does look like the Dallas Cowboys are going into the 2023 NFL draft with a great degree of freedom. We will be debating BPA, and what positions the team can best use, for the next three plus weeks as we do mock drafts of names the Cowboys might send to the podium at the end of the month.

One of the true unknowns in all this is who will be available for Dallas when they go on the clock. Every team has their own ranking of candidates, which can vary wildly. We will never know what most of them are, although here at BTB we are always on the lookout for something to leak out. But there are plenty of sites that do their own rankings of players. These can also vary greatly. Still, we can do a little exercise to figure out some names that may be there for the Cowboys to choose from.

One ranking to use is at CBS Sports. To try and get some idea of how the team might go, here are the draft picks the Cowboys have and the players that board has as likely to be there for them.

Here are the picks:

This will only look at the first four picks, as things get more and more unpredictable in the latter half of the draft. It will look at eleven players in each round, centered on the Dallas pick. The spread allows for some players to fall a bit. To clarify, in round one, we’ll examine the players ranked 21 through 31. The focus in on the positions here more than the names. for a view of how the available talent might work out.

OK, here goes.

First round, pick 26

This is a line-rich stretch. There is one interior offensive lineman, two offensive tackles, two EDGE players, and one defensive tackle. That’s six of the eleven players in this range. This could be an excellent place to fortify the offensive line, although you can never have too much pass rush. Still, OL is one of the places the Cowboys could really benefit.

There is also one wide receiver and two tight ends that could be weapons to help Dak Prescott. The other two are a safety, which Dallas doesn’t like to draft high, and a cornerback, which is like pass rush.

Any of these positions would be useful for the team. One thing to note is there are no running backs or linebackers listed. That has a certain value in itself, pushing those positions back by default. For those who don’t like over-investing in those places, it is pleasing.

The guess is they will be looking harder at offense here. That side of the roster is just weaker than the defense, which is in pretty good shape.

Second round, pick 58

Here’s where you wonder if the team looks ahead when figuring out what direction to go in round one. This group of options is richer in defensive line talent, which argues for going offense in the first. From 53 to 63, there are four DT candidates and two EDGEs, plus two CBs. The team likes to alternate offense and defense with their first two picks, having done that four of the past five drafts. The offensive pickings here are slim, with only two TEs and an OT. This just looks like a great place to shore up the interior of the DL.

Third round, pick 90

Wide receiver is the most plentiful position, with four in this stretch. This could be a very good situation for the Cowboys to add some needed depth to that room, and there is a good chance to get a player who will be ready for a bigger role when Brandin Cooks’ contract runs out. There are also three EDGEs and another DT. Two OL and a S round out this group.

But WR really looks like a great way to go here.

Fourth round, pick 129

For the first time in this little exercise, we have a couple of RBs in the right range, and this is a great place to get one. There are also three CBs and a S that could reinforce the secondary, a couple of DTs, and a pair of IOL prospects. One WR finishes up this list.

This might be the ideal order for the Cowboys: OL (both OT and IOL would fit well), DT, WR, and RB. Of course, the actual way the draft plays out is guaranteed to be something entirely different from this projection.

Still, this could be a very favorable way for the draft to fall, with a lot of useful positions available at the first four Cowboys picks in the draft. While there are no burning needs this year, it is nice to see so many useful positions lining up according to the CBS board. It all has been set up by the very effective offseason moves by Dallas. It also points to the value of letting the draft come to them rather than trying to move around in the first four rounds.

We will not have to wait much longer to see how it really goes.

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