It’s the time of the year everyone has been waiting for...draft day. Such an event has become so popular that they even made a movie about it. If you’re a draft junky like yours truly. then such a film will certainly draw interest even though it, like all movies, challenges reality with some over-the-top series of events.
While I don’t want to play spoiler for those who haven’t seen it yet (it’s almost 10 years old, seriously, you haven’t watched it yet?), we did want to draw attention to one storyline of interest. In the movie, Cleveland Browns general manager, Sonny Weaver Jr. (played by Kevin Costner) trades up with the Seattle Seahawks to acquire the No. 1 pick in the draft. It is suspected that pick is to be used for Wisconsin star quarterback, Bo Callahan. This creates a little stir in the clubhouse as it upsets the Browns current veteran quarterback, Brian Drew, who is coming off an injury.
We’ll stop there for those who haven’t seen it, but it did make us wonder, what first-round pick could the Dallas Cowboys select that could number the days for a veteran player at that same position? We went into the tank for a bit and came up with three players who could be on the hot seat if a brand-new star rookie joins the team. To keep with the Brian Drew line of thinking, we’re looking at replacing key offensive starters who are coming off some type of injury.
WR Michael Gallup
The Cowboys overestimated Gallup’s projected contribution last season after suffering a knee injury at the end of 2021. The wide receiver group suffered as a whole as nobody not named CeeDee Lamb could create any separation. The team took action this offseason by trading for a proven veteran separator in Brandin Cooks. And judging by the list of college players the team has met with, all signs point to them re-loading at wide receiver in this weekend's draft.
A player like Zay Flowers or Quentin Johnston could suddenly create a logjam at wide receiver. The team just exercised Lamb’s fifth-year option and we’d have to believe that he’ll be around for the long haul. The recently added Cooks is under contract for the next two years. What could it mean for Gallup if the team added another receiver, particularly one who had star-level potential?
Gallup has four years left on the five-year deal he signed last offseason and the front office just restructured some of his money, so he’s not going anywhere right away, but it could make things interesting next offseason, especially if he doesn’t take a big step forward and show that he’s the player he once was before the injury.
RB Tony Pollard
While the team did franchise tag Pollard this offseason to prevent him from entering free agency, that tag only comes with a one-year promise. After that, all bets are off in terms of where his future lies. The Cowboys did part ways with veteran running back Ezekiel Elliott meaning there is an opening for RB1 on this team after 2023, but will that go to Pollard?
There’s a lot of talk about another Texas star running back Bijan Robinson being a potential first-round get for Dallas. There is certainly a lot of debate amongst Cowboys Nation on whether or not that’s a good idea, but should the team pull the trigger on a running back early, it wouldn’t seem likely that they would then turn around and re-invest in Pollard next offseason.
And it might not even take an early draft resource to create that same dilemma as a fresh-legged rookie back could open the door for a more financially sound backfield in 2024. All signs are pointing to the Cowboys drafting a new running back this weekend, but when it happens remains a mystery.
OT Terence Steele
The Cowboys scored when they signed undrafted free agent Steele a few years ago as he’s been a fixture along the offensive line ever since. His surprise rise up the depth chart allowed the team to move on from veteran tackle La’el Collins. Steele was having himself a nice season before a knee injury put him out of commission for the year.
Steele is healing up nicely and is expected to be a go for the upcoming season. The team placed a second-round tender on him so he’s under team control for at least one more season. All indications are that he’ll be a piece of this team’s future, but would that change if the Cowboys ended up with a player like Darnell Wright at pick 26?
The instant reaction may be “of course not” as we all know Tyron Smith is on his last leg, so there’s a tackle spot needed that we believe will go to last year’s first-round pick Tyler Smith. But then again, what if a player like Wright is too good to waste on left guard and it would be more financially sensible to have Tyler and Darnell protecting the edge and not throw additional money at Steele, which in all likelihood won’t be cheap?