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Dallas Cowboys mailbag: Post-draft questions

People have questions about the Cowboys, and we strive to provide the answers.

NFL: APR 28 2023 Draft Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Every week, we will be taking questions on Twitter and Facebook about Dallas Cowboys players and other questions surrounding the team. So let’s get right into it.

“What are they planning on doing at LG since they didn’t draft any guards?

(Submitted by Dan McCoy via Facebook)

Mike: Once the Cowboys got past their third-round pick (pick number 90) the message was clear, they like what they have. I was totally with the majority thinking the Cowboys needed inside offensive line help. But not using a pick in the first three rounds says they have a plan, and that the guys they have on the roster fill this coaching staff with enough confidence.

That plan more than likely looks to revert to the original lineup they had last year where both Tyron Smith and Tyler Smith play on the left, Tyler Biadasz stays at center and Zack Martin and Terence Steele play on the right. The plus on this lineup is that this is the best starting five the Cowboys currently have, and is a solid starting five (which is what everyone always wants). But the downside is that it messes once again with Tyler Smith’s development when the inevitable happens with Tyron Smith. For now, they have other options to tinker with in both Chuma Edoga and newly acquired T.J Bass in the UDFA pool which we will see more during training camp and get a better evaluation. I’m not buying the Josh Ball talk McCarthy made before the draft.

Brandon: Dan, your guess is as good as mine. In all seriousness, there will probably be a competition heading into training camp between Josh Ball, Chuma Edoga, and Matt Farniok as the most experienced players on the team. Fifth-round pick Asim Richards could be thrown into the mix, but he might sit back and take a red-shirt year to learn the position.

Edoga gives more promise than Ball, but Farniok would be the dark horse candidate to surprise people this year. He’s entering year three with the chance to compete after getting an opportunity at guard in 2022 when Connor McGovern went down. If all else fails, they could kick Tyler Smith back inside and play Tyron Smith as their left tackle.

“Being that the Cowboys didn’t draft a QB, when and where would they pick up a third string passer?

(Submitted by Elizabeth Richardson via Facebook)

Mike: They do have three quarterbacks on the roster with Dak, Cooper Rush and Will Grier, but completely get the question in terms of why didn’t they draft a QB to develop. Mike McCarthy is usually easy to predict in that he pretty much always drafts a QB in the later rounds to develop and try to mold. This year however, with the wild selections being made that meant they went out and selected a huge value running back, a much needed cornerback for depth, and a sneaky under-the-radar wide receiver with their last three picks. These guys really have more chance of making the roster than a fourth QB trying to beat out Grier’s place on the roster.

Brandon: The Cowboys have shown they’re comfortable with Cooper Rush and Will Grier taking a lot of snaps in the offseason programming. Dak Prescott will get his work in, but I think it comes down to the coaching staff evaluating what they have in Grier.

It sounded like he was about to win the backup role over Rush before he got injured, slowing down his progress. The position battle might not be for the third quarterback spot on the roster but for the 53rd player, which could be between Grier, Rico Dowdle, Malik Davis, Josh Ball, Neville Gallimore, or another player deep down the depth chart.

“After the draft is there any UDFA players you had your eyes on before the draft?

(Submitted by Jossy Farries via Facebook)

Mike: I think I’ve been pretty vocal all draft season about FB Hunter Luepke from North Dakota State. In fact I had the great honor of joining Brandon on Blogging The Boys for a live mock draft and specifically targeted Luepke with the final pick of the draft. He reminds me so much of what the San Francisco 49ers have in Kyle Juszczyk. He can add to receiving game and help with the ground game as well as be a force on special teams. That’s so much value in one player. Add to the fact the Cowboys will be implementing the west coast offense, which fits both his skill sets and role requirements, that makes this acquisition one of the best in the Cowboys UDFA draft.

Brandon: The Cowboys have not had a traditional fullback in a long time. When Mike McCarthy was in Green Bay, he always used a fullback in his offense, so it made sense they’d go after the best one from the class. As Mike mentioned, we had a mock draft that had us taking Hunter Luepke in the seventh round.

Linebacker/defensive end Isaiah Land is an exciting name I heard about before the draft because he was at the Senior Bowl. After re-watching his film, it’s obvious why the Cowboys wanted to bring him in. He is a player with many traits that remind me of what Dallas had in Randy Gregory during his rookie season—a player with length but needs to develop his NFL body.

“Could Dallas give Vaughn 30-40% of the touches to Pollard’s 60-70%? I also think Ronald Jones is a cut candidate after camp?

(Submitted by via Facebook)

Mike: Lets do the second part first and say I agree with Ronald Jones. Once the Cowboys drafted a running back it meant RoJo got put on deck to get cut, but he was always more of a placeholder to protect the team during the draft. They may hang onto him for now which makes sense in case of injury but with what the Cowboys have there, it makes Jones the odd man out. The split for Vaughn and Pollard though maybe more distant than that. It’s Vaughn’s size, he just can’t take a huge amount of reps in the league without risk of injury or major decline in effectiveness. The other factor is Malik Davis and Rico Dowdle that this coaching staff really want to find touches for. Depending on who they keep in the backfield committee, that will be the factor to split the handoff percentage while Vaughn will look to play more of a change-of-pace back with high receiving upside.

Brandon: Contrary to opinion, Ronald Jones has a role on the team, being a different build than the current backs on the roster. He is also a veteran player who the coaching staff could build quick trust in critical situations. I could see the battle for the fourth running back spot between Jones and Luepke, figuring out who is the best “big-bodied” player.

With Deuce Vaughn, it’ll be interesting to see how McCarthy wants to use him on offense. If Kellen Moore were still here, it would be a more precise picture, given how he used Tony Pollard last season. With McCarthy taking over the play-calling duties, seeing his vision for Vaughn is tough because he hasn’t called plays since 2019. I could see the rookie getting ten to fifteen percent of the snaps to start, with room to go up if he shows enough on the field.

Poll Of The Week: Finally on the Mailbag we asked what grade you would give the Dallas Cowboys draft class this year. Here are the results and our take on the poll.

Mike: I think I agree with this. To be more specific I would go B+ for the Cowboys grade. I wanted inside defensive line help all along but never expected them to draft one in the first round since that’s never happened since 1991. Mazi Smith really makes this defense scary and more efficient against the run which was the weakness for Dallas for a stretch last year. Tight end was a need, and they filled that need and they did the same at linebacker. Day 3 they filled all the needs on the roster as well. It wasn’t a sexy draft which we’ve been so used to in the past, this was a necessary draft. They went out targeting their guys and getting the players they wanted to fill the roster with the missing parts from free agency. This front office has had a great offseason to get ready for the preseason training program, so from free agency and the draft I would give this team an A- for what they’ve accomplished.

Brandon: On Blogging the Boys three-day draft coverage, RJ Ochoa asked the same question, and I gave a B+ for the overall grade. Handing out a report card before the rookies even arrive to Dallas is silly, but I understand the concept.

It’s not a draft full of projections hoping players like DeMarvion Overshown, Junior Fehoko, and even Mazi Smith reach their full potential in year one. It’s difficult to assume it will happen overnight, but I truly believe this class could surprise people two years from now as being one of the best under Mike McCarthy’s tenure as head coach.

Be sure to check @kenfigkowboy and @brandoniswrite on Twitter and also Facebook for the weekly post, asking you for your questions for the weekly mailbag. Check for the Poll of The Week on Twitter. Many thanks to everyone that sends in your questions and votes.

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