Funny how that works, isn’t it? The first round feels like a month ago in some ways. Mazi Smith was picked, then announced to the world with a Cowboys press conference, has a jersey, and then received seven more teammates as the draft rolled on.
Whether you, or anyone, was on board with the Smith pick, it is ultimately in the past now. It is possible and honestly incredibly likely that there was another player who you preferred for them to draft and surely the Cowboys did consider other prospects.
It looks like the first-round decision came down to Mazi Smith or Matthew Bergeron
What if we knew exactly what other prospect it came down to, though? Beyond being incredibly fun it would also give us some insight into how the team came to the decision that they ultimately did.
The mothership released a draft special video on Sunday (which you can watch right here) and near the end of it shows a clip of the war room as they are debating (not intensely) what to do while on the clock in the first round.
Here is the clip in question.
Will McClay is an invaluable part of Cowboys’ draft process. One example here as team deliberates between NT Mazi Smith and, I believe, OL Matthew Bergeron at No. 26 overall. Behind-the-scenes look from @dallascowboys video team. Part of its draft special: https://t.co/xGd0ZHkg25 pic.twitter.com/Aih93TtSMl— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) May 1, 2023
Will McClay: Personally I would go with Mazi because I know that he helps us now. With the guard, I love the guard too, my question is... you’re adding something to it where we have depth. I think the defensive lineman gives you an immediate starter and something for the future.
Will McClay: We’ve had offensive linemen there we’ve had the opportunity to pick. We’ve not had a defensive lineman, interior defensive lineman, that high in quite some time.
The clip shows both Jerry Jones and Mike McCarthy speaking in between those two Will McClay statements but, all due respect to Jerry and Mike, they aren’t as essential to the takeaway here.
Obviously the clip itself does not indicate which guard the Cowboys were considering, but as noted by The Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken, it is believed to be Syracuse’s Matthew Bergeron who went to the Atlanta Falcons with the 38th overall pick on Friday, Atlanta actually traded picks 44 and 110 to the Indianapolis Colts to climb up for the pick, two spots after the Los Angeles Rams took Steve Avila.
Every year we talk about NFL teams and how they are best-suited if they draft the best player available to them when they are on the clock, but as you can see Will McClay himself invokes the idea of what helps the team most now.
What is also interesting is that if the Cowboys were truly debating between Smith and what was their top guard option at the moment, then why did they wait four more rounds to take a guard? For what it’s worth, O’Cyrus Torrence was still on the board when they picked Luke Schoonmaker in the second round, but perhaps a similar conversation about depth was had.
We addressed the depth that the Cowboys have (questionable as it may be) when we talked about questions that we still have about the team following the draft. Dallas has options in Matt Farniok, Chuma Edoga, Terence Steele or Josh Ball potentially, and now in Asim Richards to work with at that spot if they so choose.