The new schedule for the 2023 NFL season has been released and with it comes a slate of new opponents for the Dallas Cowboys. There will be many new faces in new places from the Week 2 battle with an old friend in the New York Jets’ Aaron Rodgers, to a brand new addition in the form of this year’s no. 1 overall pick, Bryce Young of the Carolina Panthers.
The Cowboys are pretty good when it comes to retaining their own guys, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t several guys spread out all over the league with new employers. This season’s ensemble of games will feature a total of seven former Cowboys draft picks squaring off against their old team. Let’s run down each of them and see what they’ve been up to.
WEEK 11: at the CAROLINA PANTHERS
Drafted: 6th round of 2017
Current contract: In the second year of a three-year deal
Woods was a draft steal back in 2017 and was a regular fixture in the secondary during his rookie deal in Dallas. He played in a total of 60 games (out of 64) and started in 48 of them. He never was as splashy as we hoped, but did come away with five interceptions before signing with Minnesota in 2021. He signed with Carolina last year and will get a second shot at his former team. The last time he played against the Cowboys, he came away with not one, but two takeaways.
Pass attempt from Cooper Rush to Cowboys TE Blake Jarwin tipped by Vikings' Harrison Smith, secured by safety Xavier Woods.— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) November 1, 2021
Interception from the ex-Cowboy.
Xavier Woods' second takeaway vs. his former Cowboys. Strip-sack, Vikings ball.— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) November 1, 2021
WEEK 12 and 18: WASHINGTON COMMANDERS
Drafted: 5th round of 2022
Current contract: In the second year of a four-year deal
The Cowboys released Ridgeway after Week 1 of last year in hopes of placing him on the practice squad, but their division rivals would have none of that. Washington signed him a couple of days later and he went on to play in 15 games as a rookie, including starting in four of them. It would be easy to say this one got away, but with new additions like Johnathon Hankins and Mazi Smith, nobody will be missing him too much. That said, he did have a good showing in the season finale against his old team.
5th-round rookie John Ridgeway abused Connor McGovern and Tyler Smith was consistently late to the second level. These things combined closed up any running lanes through the middle. pic.twitter.com/Z8I6KIWa7P— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) January 10, 2023
WEEK 13: hosting the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Drafted: 5th round of 2019
Current contract: Under contract through 2023
The Cowboys told Jackson to beat it at final roster cuts back in 2019, and after failed stints in Detroit and New England, he finally found a home in Seattle in 2021. He started all 17 games at cornerback last year as things are finally starting to slow down for him. They even trusted him enough to cover Deebo Samuel on the outside in last year’s Wild Card game.
Michael Jackson Sr. with the clutch break up #Seahawks— Ball Brief (@BallBrief_) January 14, 2023
WEEK 15: at the BUFFALO BILLS
Drafted: 3rd round of 2019
Current contract: He just signed a three-year deal with Buffalo
After missing his entire rookie season with an injury, McGovern spent the next couple of seasons filling in at both guard positions. Last year, he was the starting left guard for Dallas, playing in 15 games. In all, the team didn’t get the most out of his rookie deal due to health and being stuck behind the other Connor, but he was a solid player. He was even good enough that the Cowboys found a way to use him even when he wasn’t playing on the offensive line.
Mike McCarthy: We need to find a way to get Connor McGovern on the football field.— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) September 28, 2021
Kellen Moore: Hold my beer. pic.twitter.com/tGkzxPoF4f
WEEK 16: at the MIAMI DOLPHINS
Drafted: 2nd round of 2018
Current contract: He’s in the last year of a two-year deal
The Cowboys we so excited to get this athletic tackle-converted-guard prospect that they passed up the opportunity to trade for Earl Thomas back in 2018. Williams had a roller-coaster career in Dallas, with some highs and some lows. He led the league in penalties (14) in 2021, but it wasn’t enough to deter the Dolphins from signing him to a two-year deal. He had a good season in his first year with his old team.
Drafted: 5th round of 2018
Current contract: He signed a two-year deal with the Dolphins in March
Not to be confused with the former Survivor contestant/White Lotus creator, Mike White, the football player is still trucking along in the NFL. After being released in 2019, he joined the New York Jets practice squad. His number was finally called after rookie quarterback Zach Wilson got hurt in Week 7 of 2021. Over the last two seasons, White made a total of seven starts for the Jets, and did well enough to earn a two-year deal with the Dolphins this offseason. While Tua Tagovailoa is Miami’s starter, the Cowboys won’t face the Dolphins until near the end of the season, and who’s to say who will be behind center by that time.
Cedrick Wilson Jr.
Drafted: 6th round of 2018
Current contract: He’s in the second year of a three-year deal
After battling injuries his first two years, Wilson slowly started becoming an extra weapon for the Cowboys. By the final year of his rookie deal, he had put things together and compiled a 45-catch, 602-yard season with six touchdowns. It was good enough to earn him a nice payday by the Dolphins. Unfortunately, he faded considerably, only catching 12 passes for 136 yards and never finding the end zone. He might’ve gone M.I.A. in MIA, but boy was he fun to watch in Dallas.
What a sensational little weapon that Cedrick Wilson fella is turning out to be. pic.twitter.com/c6zx1D87hL— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) November 1, 2021