Love it or hate it, the selection of Mazi Smith addressed the Cowboys run defense issues, as well as ended a 30+ year drought of selecting a defensive tackle in the first round for Dallas. Was it the right move or should they have gone a different direction? Only time will tell.
In the meantime, the team still has work to do. With Day 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft officially in the books, they will now turn their attention to upgrading the roster on Day 2. With that in mind, we’ll take a look at who the draft analyst are mocking to the Cowboys in the second and third rounds with the 58th and 90th overall selections.
Dane Brugler, The Athletic
58. Dallas Cowboys: Sam LaPorta, TE, Iowa
One of the reasons the Cowboys passed on Mayer in the first round is the depth of this class’ tight end position. Another reason: the possibility they could land LaPorta in Round 2.
90. Dallas Cowboys: Kendre Miller, RB, TCU
After going defense in the first round, Dane is predicting the Cowboys fill a couple of needs on the offensive side of the ball on Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft. LaPorta should immediately compete with Jake Ferguson for the TE1 job, and Kendre Miller would make a nice complement to Tony Pollard as RB2 in 2024.
Ian Cummings, Pro Football Network
58) Dallas Cowboys: Zach Charbonnet, RB, UCLA
It’ll be fascinating to see how the Cowboys value RB talent in the 2023 NFL Draft, and who they ultimately come away with. Zach Charbonnet feels like a prospect whose style would mesh with Jerry Jones’ preferences. He’s a brawler with ample foot speed at 6’0″, 215 pounds, who churns through chum and bowls off tackle attempts with his contact balance.
90) Dallas Cowboys: Luke Schoonmaker, TE, Michigan
Luke Schoonmaker is a TE who could go much higher than expected. For the Cowboys in particular, who struck gold with an athletic blocking tight end years ago with Dalton Schultz, it’s easy to see why he’d be a fit.
Schoonmaker has incredibly smooth athleticism as a route runner at 6’5″, 250 pounds. He’s also one of the best, most versatile blockers in the class.
Like Dane Brugler, Ian Cummings also predicts the Cowboys going with TE and RB with their second- and third-round draft picks, although in reverse order. Zach Charbonnet is arguably the perfect complement for Tony Pollard in the entire 2023 draft class outside of Bjian Robinson, and Luke Schoonmaker is a similar player to Dalton Schultz and could be his immediate replacement.
Tim Lettiero and K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire
2.58: Cowboys select iOL Steve Avila, 6-foot-3, 332 pounds, TCU
Avila can play either guard or center at a high level and even right tackle in a pinch. He is a bulky and strong mauler, who can easily clear lanes for his running backs while being a severely underrated pass protector. There is room for improvement with his hand usage and using his leverage even better but the sky is the limit for the hometown kid.
3.90: Cowboys select WR Xavier Hutchinson, 6-foot-2, 203, Iowa State
Hutchinson is as consistent and reliable as they come. He doesn’t do any one thing spectacularly, but is a smooth athlete and has effortless body control. He is incredibly experienced with high-level production and five years of playing time, three of them with the Cyclones. He has over 250 career receptions to his name for nearly 3,000 yards. He is a prototypical X receiver but still has room to learn how to better use his size so he will need a year or two to develop.
The Cowboys continue to upgrade the trenches, but this time on the offensive side of the ball with the selection of Steve Avila. He is a versatile offensive lineman who has started at right tackle, center, and guard during his time at TCU, but would likely be a plug-and-play left guard as Connor McGovern’s replacement as a rookie in Dallas.
Xavier Hutchinson is a big, physical wide reciever who has been one of the most productive in the entire nation over the past several years during his time at Iowa State. He would bring some much-needed size to the Cowboys receiving corps and provide Dak Prescott another option in the passing game.
Alex Ballentine, Bleacher Report
58. Dallas Cowboys: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia (7.4)
90. Dallas Cowboys: Roschon Johnson, RB, Texas (6.9)
Much like the Mazi Smith pick in the first round, Kelee Ringo is another physical-freak type of athlete who could be the future opposite Trevon Diggs. He checks all the boxes Dan Quinn looks for in a perimeter cornerback, and then some.
Roschon Johnson is one of the more versatile running backs with prototypical size who would make a nice complement with Tony Pollard as a rookie in 2024. As an added bonus, he’s also a standout on special teams.
Chris Trapasso, CBSSports
Round 2 - Pick 58: TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame
Mayer isn’t a freaky specimen by any stretch. He’s a tremendous all-around player who catches everything and can get open.
No. 90: Dallas Cowboys - Eli Ricks, CB, Alabama
Wouldn’t this be something!? The tight end the Cowboys were rumored to be targeting at No. 26 in the first round ends up being their selection an entire round later with the 58th overall pick. Michael Mayer would be a plug-and-play starter as Dalton Schultz’ replacement.
Eli Ricks fits the prototypical parameters Dan Quinn prefers in his outside cornerbacks and provides some much-needed depth to the position with Trevon Diggs, Stephon Gilmore, Jourdan Lewis, and C.J. Goodwin all entering the final year of their contracts.
Lance Zierlein, NFL
Pick 58 - OL Cody Mauch, North Dakota State
Mauch fights and claws throughout the game and could provide Dallas with additional toughness at the guard spot, giving the ‘Boys the opportunity to move Tyler Smith to right tackle if they want to.
Pick 90 - RB Kendre Miller, TCU
Another OL/RB combo the Dallas Cowboys could consider on Day 2. Cody Mauch played left tackle at North Dakota State, but would likely be asked to kick inside to left guard with the Cowboys. And as we’ve said before, Kendre Miller checks all the boxes to be a really good complement if paired with Tony Pollard with the upside to be a RB1 in the not-too-distant future.
John Kosko, Pro Football Focus
58. DALLAS COWBOYS: WR NATHANIEL DELL, HOUSTON
Dell’s size won’t be for everyone, but he’s an easy separator with another gear to stride away from defenders. He had a monster 2022 campaign for Houston with 108 catches, 1,399 yards and 17 scores. Dallas needs a weapon to pair with CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks to give Dak Prescott more open looks.
90. DALLAS COWBOYS: EDGE BYRON YOUNG, TENNESSEE
Young is a wound-up dude off the edge. He’s just figuring out how to rush the passer but has the traits to develop with the 4.40-second 40-yard dash he ran at the NFL combine.
John Kosko predicts the Dallas Cowboys add another weapon for Dak Prescott in the passing game with his selection of Nathaniel Dell and he gives Dan Quinn another pass rusher to get after the QB in Byron Young. Both players would likely play a rotational/situational role early on as rookies considering the depth at both WR and EDGE right now.
Justin Melo, The Draft Network
58. Dallas Cowboys
Steve Avila IOL, TCU
Steve Avila is a plug-and-play guard who could be a starter as soon he hits the field with the Cowboys. He also has versatility to play right tackle and possibly replace Tyler Biadasz as the starting center next year if Dallas chooses not to re-sign him in free agency.
Steve Muench, ESPN+
58. Dallas Cowboys
Tucker Kraft, TE, South Dakota State
This is a deep tight end class, and Kraft would have come off the board earlier in most years. He has the talent to fill the substantial void created by Dalton Schultz signing with the Texans.
The jump up in competition from South Dakota State to the NFL may mean Tucker Kraft might not be able to immediately step in as replacement for Dalton Schultz, but his upside as a threat in the passing game as well as a blocker is as high as any TE in the 2023 draft class.