The Dallas Cowboys have been a team with a rich draft history, and the Cowboys looked to build on it with the 2023 NFL Draft. With a number of talented prospects available, the Cowboys had the opportunity to bolster their roster and build for the future. So let’s talk about how they did.
Overall, the Cowboys had a solid draft, selecting players who should be able to contribute to the team in the near future. The value for most of these picks are not ideal in most evaluators eyes, however the Cowboys have always felt comfortable trusting their board and taking who they feel is right for them, regardless of the backlash.
Round one: Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan
The Cowboys selected defensive tackle Mazi Smith out of Michigan. Smith is a massive player, who has freakish athletic ability and fits exactly into what Dan Quinn is building with his defense. He’s a dominant force on the defensive line, and should be able to help the Cowboys improve their porous run defense immediately.
While Smith is a good selection and will fit well into this team, many view it as a bit of reach and will be compared throughout his career to other players many coveted that the Cowboys bypassed to select him.
Draft Grade: B-
Round two: Luke Schoonmaker, TE, Michigan
In the second round, the Cowboys selected tight end Luke Schoonmaker out of Michigan. Schoonmaker is an athletic player with good size and athletic ability. He’s a solid blocker and receiving option who should be able to help the Cowboys passing attack along with Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot. With the departure of Dalton Schultz in free agency, the Cowboys felt the need to add depth to their tight end position and was linked to do so for months before turning in the card on day two.
Schoonmaker may produce for this Cowboys offense and he could turn into a solid piece to the team, but most feel this pick was aggressively early and much like round one, the problem isn’t with the player, it’s with the value.
Draft Grade: C-
Third round: DeMarvion Overshown, LB, Texas
The third round saw the Cowboys select linebacker DeMarvion Overshown out of Texas. Overshown is a supremely athletic player who started his career at safety before transitioning to the linebacker spot. He’s a player who leans on his athletics abilities and should be able to help the Cowboys defense and special teams units immediately. With the departure of Anthony Barr, the Cowboys needed to add depth to their linebacking core, and Overshown should be able to provide that.
Again, a common theme with this draft is the value just hasn’t matched up to consensus. Overshown is a solid pick but the Cowboys may have been able to get him a round later if they were patient.
Draft Grade - B+
Fourth round: Junior Fehoko, DL, San Jose St
In the fourth round, the Cowboys selected defensive lineman Junior Fehoko out of San Jose State. Fehoko is a run stopper who has the potential to be a key piece to this defensive line. He’s in the 99th percentile for run stoppers with excellent hands to disengage from blockers and should be able to contribute to the Cowboys defense immediately. With the addition of Mazi Smith and Fehoko, the Cowboys made run-stopping a focal point they hope can take their defense to the next level.
Draft Grade: B
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Fifth round: Asim Richards, OL, North Carolina
In the fifth round, the Cowboys selected offensive lineman Asim Richards out of North Carolina. Richards is a big-bodied player with position flex who is better in run blocking than pass protection. His versatility to play both guard and tackle should absolutely be able to contribute to the Cowboys offensive line down the line.
This was another player that many felt could’ve been had later but the Cowboys like who they like and took the big man from UNC.
Draft Grade: C+
Sixth round: Eric Scott Jr., CB, Southern Miss/Deuce Vaughn, RB, Kansas State
The Cowboys took two players in the sixth round aided by a trade to acquire their first selection of the round, cornerback Eric Scott Jr. out of Southern Miss. Not much is known about Scott as he wasn’t evaluated by many of the trusted draft sources, but based on size and athletic traits, he very much fits the mold of what Dan Quinn is looking for.
Draft Grade: C-
The second of the two sixth-round selections was a home run pick. Not only was it the best story of the weekend, the fit on the field makes a tremendous amount of sense as well. Deuce Vaughan, running back out of Kansas State, is an elusive and explosive back for the Cowboys. His stature and big-play ability is very intriguing for the Cowboys and may be a weapon that McCarthy will look to use in unique ways.
Draft Grade: A
Seventh round: Jalen Brooks, WR, South Carolina
Last. but not least. the Cowboys round out their 2023 draft by taking Jalen Brooks, wide receiver, out of South Carolina. Brooks will surely look to come in and make a name for himself on special teams at first then work on trying to crack this interesting wide receiver room rotation.
The Cowboys waited to their very last pick to address a wide receiver and that comes as a surprise to many.
Draft Grade: C+
Overall, the Cowboys had a solid draft with an opportunity to look really good in a couple years from now. They addressed some of their biggest needs while also adding intriguing talent to their roster. Mazi Smith should be able to help the Cowboys’ run defense immediately, while DeMarvion Overshown and Junior Fehoko should be able to provide depth to their respective positions. Deuce Vaughan is a wildcard and could be able to help the Cowboys’ explosiveness immediately.
Of course. as we know, it’s impossible to predict how these players will develop, and there’s always a chance that some of them won’t pan out but based on their talent and potential, the Cowboys made some smart selections in the 2023 NFL Draft. If these players can develop into solid contributors, the Cowboys could be well on their way to building a championship-caliber team in 2023 and beyond.