As is the nature of this part of the offseason, there are those who are pleased with what Dallas did, and those who feel like there were some (maybe multiple) missteps when a more-preferred path was easily available to them. At its core the draft is a subjective exercise and at the risk of sounding cliche - we won’t know who is right about these picks for a few years until they are rather deep into their NFL careers.
But with the class complete, we are now able to take a general look at the roster since it is effectively set in terms of who will head on out to Oxnard for training camp in three months.
Here are three questions about the team that remain.
Is the plan for Tyler Smith to play left tackle then? If so what is happening at left guard? Or with Tyron Smith?
There were many Cowboys fans who thought that the team could take a player to start at left guard early on in the draft, but with an opportunity to select someone like TCU’s Steve Avila in the first round (obviously that would not have been the best value) the team passed.
But then the Cowboys passed on offensive line again in the second. And in the third. And in the fourth. It was not until Dallas made their selection in the fifth round that they selected North Carolina’s Asim Richards that they finally got on the board at this position, sort of. Richards is a tackle with guard flexibility so not even a pure guard.
This clearly means that the Cowboys are positive that their starting left guard is on their team, right? Is it Tyler Smith? If so then Tyron is playing left tackle, obviously. But what if Tyler is at left tackle? Then things are complicated.
While the focus on Saturday was obviously the team’s selections, it is worth mentioning that Mike Solari noted that the focus right now is for Tyler Smith to indeed play left tackle.
Coach Mike Solari confirmed to us his focus is for Tyler Smith to play tackle right now @1053thefan— Zach Wolchuk (@ZachWolchuk) April 29, 2023
Living in this world, who is the left guard then? It obviously is not Tyron, so who? Matt Farniok, maybe? Chuma Edoga, perhaps? The Cowboys have floated out the idea of Terence Steele and/or Josh Ball playing the position so maybe that wasn’t just fluff before the draft. And then there is of course the newly-drafted Richards.
The reason that this is so difficult to figure out is because of the presence of Tyron Smith. It is hard to compute the idea of him healthy and on the bench, but maybe the Cowboys feel like they are better served in the overall if he stays fresh for when truly needed. Or maybe he’ll play right tackle while Terence Steele plays left guard.
What is the plan at kicker?
The Dallas Cowboys did not draft a kicker and at the time of this writing have not signed one in undrafted free agency (see the entire UDFA haul right here). So what now?
Tristan Vizcaino is the best plan right now, but are the Cowboys seriously going to do that? All due respect to Vizcaino, this is hardly a spot that you want to gamble with, and we have seen a lot of logical decisions made this offesason so approaching this with such a cavalier disposition is a little out of place.
Do the Cowboys feel like they can find a veteran now that the draft is over (this question also applies to guard by the way)? The name everyone keeps bringing up is Robbie Gould and while that feels sort of too obvious to be true, it also feels sort of necessary now.
Does the team believe in a second-year resurgence from Jalen Tolbert?
Like with guard, there was an argument to be made that Dallas could/should have gone wide receiver very early in the draft. We know that they did not.
The Cowboys have signed a handful of wideouts in undrafted free agency, but they also spent their final draft pick on one in South Carolina’s Jalen Brooks. No disrespect to Mr. Brooks (I’ve never seen the movie myself), but spending a seventh-round pick at wide receiver is hardly devoting serious capital to it.
So why didn’t the Cowboys add a receiver then? Now technically they did spend one of their draft picks on a receiver by trading it for Brandin Cooks a few weeks back, but you can never have enough. Right?
CeeDee Lamb, the aforementioned Cooks, and Michael Gallup round out the starters, but after that there are some unproven commodities which means the Cowboys are one not-so-cool thing away from having to rely on Simi Fehoko, KaVontae Turpin, or Jalen Tolbert.
Is it possible that Dallas feels like Tolbert will have a much stronger second season with the team, especially now that the expectations are different? Antonio Callaway and Dennis Houston also present options worth naming, but it stands to reason that this was a combination of the board not falling the receiver direction and a level of trust/hope within Tolbert.