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Cowboys news: Wide receiver remains a focus in the draft

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NFL: Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys Rumors: Zay Flowers to Visit DAL After Brandin Cooks Trade Ahead of NFL Draft - Tyler Conway, Bleacher Report

The Cowboys are still looking for ways to improve at receiver with Brandin Cooks already in the fold.

“I’m not just a slot (receiver),” Flowers told reporters at the combine. “ 75 percent of my snaps were played outside, and I think I can move around and play any position that they put me at.”

Dallas made a concerted effort to improve its receiving corps this offseason, trading for veteran Brandin Cooks. The team will also be hoping Michael Gallup returns to form after a miserable 2022 campaign. Returning from a torn ACL, Gallup managed just 39 receptions for 424 yards and four touchdowns.

In that sense, adding a receiver like Flowers to an already-established veteran trio might seem like a superfluous pick at No. 26. That said, Gallup and Cooks could both be gone after the 2023 season, and Flowers would be cost-controlled for the next four seasons.

10 more late-round 2023 draft sleepers for Cowboys to consider - Matt Owen, The Cowboys Wire

The Cowboys might not have to take a tight end at 26 to replace Dalton Schultz in the draft.

2023 Tight End sleepers

TE- Luke Schoonmaker, Michigan- 6-foot-5, 251 pounds

Schoonmaker spent most of his time with Michigan as an in-line tightend and is a “do it all” type of player. He’s an effective blocker, desceptively agile in open space and is a reliable receiver. His willingness as a blocker and ability to also be a solid receiving threat could be of interest for Dallas as a TE2 option. He won’t wow you with his athleticism but he moves well with the football in his hands and does a nice job of finding soft spots in coverage. Schoonmaker had 35 receptions, 418 yards and three touchdowns in 2022. He’s currently projected as a late third round prospect but his age (24) could cause him to slide into round four. Schoonmaker met with the Cowboys for a formal meeting at the combine.


How much will the draft shake up one of the best divisions in football from last season?


Unlike the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Commanders, Dallas solidified its coaching room.

Mike McCarthy has taken over play-calling and Brian Schottenheimer has replaced Kellen Moore as offensive coordinator. But the biggest achievement was retaining Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator.

The front office stepped up. They brought in key new pieces in Stephon Gilmore and Brandin Cooks via trade, restructured bloated contracts, and let go of players instead of overpaying them.

They retained some key players, added a few more in free agency, and are set up to draft the best players available instead of desperate needs.

The Cowboys will not have an easy schedule in 2023, but as of right now, they should be the clear favorites to win the division.

How Cowboys Can Replace Lost Production in ‘23 - Patrik Walker,

By keeping Jonathan Hankins but losing Carlos Watkins, the Cowboys could still use more depth at defensive tackle.

Carlos Watkins, DT —

2022 stats: 6 starts, 28 combined tackles, 1 forced fumble

Forecast: There was a lot of optimism that Watkins would return for the 2023 season in Dallas, but he instead opted to test the waters … in the desert … heading to the Arizona Cardinals on a one-year deal that will see him attempt to help solidify the interior of their defensive line under new head coach Jonathan Gannon.

No, Watkins’ numbers won’t floor you but anyone who watched his impact can then deny the presence of it, as evidenced in his classic “Thick Six” against the New Orleans Saints in 2021. His ability to both support the run and disrupt the opposing backfield as a rotational player gave the Cowboys all they needed in that role, and the torch will now pass to players like Chauncey Golston and Neville Gallimore — as two examples — to take the next step in their career in 2023.

3 Dallas Cowboys who could be traded during the 2023 NFL Draft - Maitland Rutledge, The Landy Hat

Jalen Tolbert has a lot to prove in year two if he wants to play a role in Mike McCarthy’s offense.

2. Jalen Tolbert, WR

One of the first things Jalen Tolbert said when he arrived in Dallas was that he was going to “change the culture”. This already raised some red flags among fans and it seems the front office has lost confidence in the former South Alabama Jaguar.

Drafted in the third round of last year’s draft, many expected Tolbert to be a breakout rookie for a receiving corps that was crying out for help after the Amari Cooper trade.

While Michael Gallup took that challenge as a rookie and ran with it, Tolbert did not. Coaches continued to discuss how he was struggling to grasp the offense during training camp last year and it showed in preseason.

With Gallup still rehabbing after his torn ACL, Tolbert made his first appearance in a regular season game in Week 3 against the New York Giants. In that game he was targeted twice and had one catch for four yards. While he appeared in eight games for the season, he would only tally one more catch.

The team trading for Brandin Cooks was a clear sign more help was needed at receiver. Dallas was not about to go into 2023 with a similar situation as last year. CeeDee Lamb is the team’s best receiver but a young guy like him still needs other weapons around him. When teams keyed in on Lamb and Dalton Schultz, who is now gone, Dak Prescott had few options. While Gallup hopes to be fully healthy next year, adding Cooks can take pressure off Gallup needing to be 100% from day one.

That does not mean Dallas should solely rely on just those three players, however. Injuries happen and so do double teams. Tolbert mentioned a month ago he is hoping to learn from his tough rookie year, but in the NFL life can come at a young player fast. The Cowboys moved on from Switzer after just one year and Tolbert is another player who is pretty expendable.

While he may be draft weekend trade bait for simply acquiring more late round picks or a role player, the option should be on the table for the Cowboys based off a disappointing rookie season.

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