With the 129th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected defensive lineman Viliami Fehoko from San Jose State.
Fehoko’s body type will require teams to decide whether they want him to play base end in a 4-3 defense or ask him to add weight so they can use him as a hybrid end/tackle in a 3-4. He plays with a nose for the football and a chippy attitude. He’s been productive in both phases over the last two seasons, but we will see if that translates against better competition. While he’s not as anchor-based as teams might like due to his lack of leverage, he has a nasty spin counter that could be effective as a sub-package rusher. He’s strong, tough and active with the talent to become an NFL backup.
Fehoko plays with a hot motor—he does not stop attacking offensive linemen. Whether versus the run or pass, he plays with a relentless mindset. His hands are and remain active during reps with multiple punches thrown. I appreciate the play strength and physicality he plays with at the point of attack in the run game. He has the physical strength to anchor, stack, and shed blocks on the edges. Fehoko has an understanding of the different run-blocking concepts and how to win against them. He does a good job with his hands defeating zone blocks to remain clean and upright as he flows with the football.
As a pass rusher, his productivity has increased over the last three seasons. Fehoko has multiple hand counters and moves to win. He has an understanding of not overrunning the play and getting out of the quarterback’s reach on outside rushers. Instead, he retraces his steps or spins back inside to catch the quarterback as he attempts to step up in the pocket. There are flashes of a two/double-handed swipe to reduce the hitting surface for the offensive lineman and knock their hands down altogether.
- Round 1, pick 26 - DT Mazi Smith (Michigan)
- Round 2, pick 58 - TE Luke Schoonmaker (Michigan)
- Round 3, pick 90 - LB DeMarvion Overshown (Texas)
- Round 4, pick 129 - DE Viliami Fehoko (San Jose State)
- Round 5, pick 169
- Round 6, pick 212
- Round 7, pick 244
Cowboys Day 3 needs:
OG: The Cowboys lost Connor McGovern, last year’s starter, and have yet to really replace him in the lineup. Tyler Smith could be the guy if they wanted, but they might prefer him at tackle, especially given Tyron Smith’s injury history, and Terence Steele’s injury recovery.
RB: Dallas begins life without Ezekiel Elliott (unless they re-sign him). With Tony Pollard as RB1, the Cowboys could use a complement, especially with Pollard on a one-year deal.
WR: The team brought in Brandin Cooks giving them a solid top three, but depth is an issue. It hurt them last year, they will want to reinforce the position for 2023.
CB: You can never have enough, and Stephon Gilmore may be only here for a year. They need to make a move to fortify depth and look to the future.