The Dallas Cowboys sat back and watched a wild first round of the 2023 NFL Draft unfold on Thursday night. According to reports, the Cowboys had a chance to move down, but in the end they stood pat at 26 and selected Michigan defensive tackle Mazi Smith.
For the first time in over a decade, the Cowboys invested premium capital in a run-stuffing defensive tackle. Smith was labeled as one of, if not the, best run-stopper in the entire draft class and will surely help the Cowboys improve against the run next season.
Smith fills a need, but the Cowboys have multiple other positions they’ll need to address in the final two days of the draft. With that in mind, here are some of the best players still available as we prepare for the start of the second round.
Plenty of tight ends are still available
Coming into Thursday night the consensus around the Cowboys was that a tight end would be the pick at 26. To the surprise of many, when Dallas got on the clock only one player at the position, Dalton Kincaid who went to Buffalo the pick before, had been selected, giving Dallas their preference of the remaining tight ends.
Ultimately, the Cowboys passed on adding a pass-catcher at pick 26, but it seems extremely likely they will target one early on day two. Four tight ends who were constantly linked to Dallas during the draft process are still on the board, and it would be shocking if one of them does not end up a Cowboy.
- Michael Mayer - Notre Dame
- Sam LaPorta - Iowa
- Luke Musgrave - Oregon State
- Darnell Washington - Georgia
Watch out for a potential trade up into the 35-40 range as the Cowboys look to secure a tight end.
Talented offensive linemen still a possibility
After addressing their defensive line in round one, the Cowboys could opt to improve their offensive line in rounds two or three. If they decide to do so, there are plenty of talented, versatile offensive linemen who would be a great addition.
- Steve Avila - TCU
- Joe Tippmann - Wisconsin
- O’Cyrus Torrence - Florida
- Cody Mauch North - Dakota State
- Matthew Bergeron - Syracuse
- Dawand Jones - Ohio State
Almost all of these players could slide in and immediately start at left guard, giving the Cowboys the flexibility to keep last year’s first-round pick Tyler Smith outside at left tackle.
We know the Cowboys are very fond of Avila, so keep an eye out for a potential move up in round two if he slides a bit.
Impact defenders in the secondary
One of the more surprising stories of day one was Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. falling out of the first round. As recent as a week ago, the 22-year-old corner was projected to go as high as pick 15, and seemed like a lock to go at the latest in the twenties.
Porter Jr. falling out of round one completely was shocking, and the Penn State product headlines a talented group of defensive backs that are still available at the start of round two.
- Joey Porter Jr. - Penn State
- Tyrique Stevenson - Miami
- Julius Brents - Kansas State
- Kelee Ringo - Georgia
While the Cowboys look to be in pretty good shape at the cornerback spot in 2023, Trevon Digg’s eventual contract situation and Stephon Gilmore’s age could make adding a young corner a smart investment.
Porter Jr, Brent, and Ringo all have ideal size for a corner in Dan Quinn’s defense and would be excellent additions.
A second run on wide receivers?
After not having a single wide receiver selected in the first 19 picks, we saw four-straight wideouts go from picks 20-24.
While the A-caliber receivers may be off the board, there are still plenty of talented pass-catchers available setting up a potential run on wideouts at the start of the second round.
- Josh Downs - North Carolina
- Jalin Hyatt - Tennessee
- Jonathan Mingo - Ole Miss
- Cedrick Tilman - Tenneseee
- Marvin Mims - Oklahoma
- Tank Dell - Houston
Dallas met with Hyatt and Mingo before the draft and it would not be surprising if they targeted one of the two wideouts at No. 58 if they decide to stick and pick.
Before day two finally kicks off, here are the 10 players the Cowboys will likely consider in rounds two and three.
1) TE Sam LaPorta
2) TE Michael Mayer
3) G Steve Avila
4) TE Luke Musgrave
5) TE Darnell Washington
6) LB Drew Sanders
7) WR Jonathan Mingo
8) RB Zach Charbonnet
9) LB Trenton Simpson
10) RB Kendre Miller