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Cowboys news: Evaluating the roster following the 2023 NFL Draft

And other notable headlines surrounding America’s team.

NFL: JAN 08 Cowboys at Commanders Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Cowboys 53-man roster projection following 2023 draft - Ben Grimaldi, Cowboys Wire

Most, if not all, of the players who will be on the field on Sundays are already in the locker room. But which ones will make the cut?

Tight End (3)

(3): Luke Schoonmaker, Jake Ferguson, Peyton Hendershot

There probably isn’t another team in the league with this amount of youth and potential at tight end. Schoonmaker arrives as the front-runner to be the starter, but don’t expect Ferguson or Hendershot to make it easy on the rookie to win the job.

The three young TEs have the makeup of a great group that will be asked to play a high number of snaps throughout the season. Each should have the opportunity to make their mark.

Dallas has had no problem keeping four at the position recently, but with Luepke having the ability to do some of the work that was previously done by Cowboys TEs, three is all that’s needed.

Offensive Line (9)

(9): Tyron Smith, Tyler Smith, Tyler Biadasz, Zack Martin, Terence Steele, Chuma Edoga, Matt Waletzko, Asim Richards, T.J. Bass

It’s a group with five starting caliber players, but how the Cowboys choose to start the Smiths, Biadasz, Martin and Steele remain to be seen. Edoga was brought in to be a second-string player while the team tries to find an option to start at left guard.

Waletzko should be improved in his sophomore season and past his shoulder injury. Richards makes it as a fifth-round draft pick, while Bass has a real chance to earn himself a roster spot as an undrafted free agent.

3 power RBs the Cowboys could deploy behind star Tony Pollard - Joey Pollizze, The Landry Hat

Without Zeke on the roster (for now), Dallas needs a back to pick up 2-3 yards when his number is called.

1. Hunter Luepke

Aside from Patrick Ricard of the Ravens and Kyle Juszczyk of the 49ers, fullbacks are becoming a thing of the past now in the NFL. Most teams don’t even carry one on their roster.

Hunter Luepke, who the Cowboys signed as an undrafted free agent in the 2023 NFL Draft, has a chance to be another. He can realistically make Dallas’ 53-man roster this season because of his size and his potential to be the team’s power back in 2023.

Luepke was featured as the primary fullback at North Dakota State but was worked like a running back there. He had 98 carries for 621 yards and nine touchdowns in his final college season, including a 20-carry, 150-yard performance with two touchdowns against South Dakota during the year. The fullback also caught four touchdowns as a receiver his senior year.

There is only one Hunter Luepke™. #ToeDragSwag

— NDSU Football (@NDSUfootball) October 1, 2022

Many people might not know his name right now, but he could become a big part of the Cowboys’ offense this upcoming season. At 6-foot-1, 236 pounds, Luepke would essentially have the Elliott role in the red zone and in short-yardage situations.

Additionally, he could line up at fullback on regular downs to give Dallas an extra blocker — like the team did last year with Connor McGovern behind Dak Prescott and Pollard.

Dak Prescott New Contract? ‘I Trust the Dallas Cowboys!’ - Mike Fisher, Sports Illustrated

Dak Prescott talks contract.

Dak Prescott is entering his eighth year as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. He understands the way “America’s Team’’ works - with owner Jerry Jones and his family as the hub of the wheel - with a depth of knowledge few others can possess.

So on the one hand, when Prescott recently answered a question about progress in a contract extension that might make him (again) among the highest-paid players in football history by saying, “When it’s time to get it done again, I trust in both (my agent and the Cowboys),’’ it is a notable statement due to its positivity.

But there is also a deeper truth here.

Prescott had over five years of experience working with the Joneses, and we can assume, developing “trust’’ in the Cowboys ownership and front office, by the time March 2021 arrived. And yet it took two years of negotiation between agent Todd France and the Cowboys to come to that agreement on a second contract before the big day in March when he signed a four-year, $160 million deal.

COWBOYS 2023 EARLY AWAY-GAME PROJECTIONS - Jesus Hernandez, Inside The Star

In just a few short days, the schedule will be released. But first, let’s make some predictions.


The Cowboys will go to Florida to face the Miami Dolphins. This could be a potential Super Bowl matchup. The Dolphins added pieces to their defense, making them stronger than last year.

To stay competitive in the NFL they need a healthy Tua Tagovailoa.

The 25-year-old quarterback threw for 25 touchdowns in 13 games. If the Cowboys can stop Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle they have a chance at victory.

I think this game has the potential of being a shootout as both teams have a stellar offense.

I give the Cowboys a slight edge, with a better offensive line unit. The Cowboys will win a close one.

The Cowboys head to New York to face the Buffalo Bills. This is another potential Super Bowl matchup. The Bills are another favorite to win the Super Bowl.

If the game is played in the snow the Bills will have a comfortable victory, winning by double digits.

Deuce Vaughn tops Dallas Cowboys draft class’ in-game athleticism, 3rd among drafted RBs - Clarence Hill Jr, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

He may be small, but that does not limit his athleticism.

Reel Analytics, which used by a number of colleges in recruiting, including TCU, measures space position players like running backs, receivers, tight ends, linebackers and defensive backs. It give them a proprietary IGA Score derived from position-specific athleticism metrics extracted by video tracking technology. Each metric is weighted, contextualized by percentile rankings, and scored.

And not only was Vaughn’s score of 96.7 tops among all Cowboys drafted players, it was third among running backs, behind only Bijan Robinson (98.3) and Tank Bigsby (97.2), who were drafted in the first and third rounds by the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars, respectively.

He was four spots ahead of Jahmyr Gibbs (92.1), who picked in the first round by the Detroit Lions.

“Deuce Vaughn is unique in two ways,” Yates said. “First, he has elite change of direction. His average change of direction time is under 0.3 seconds which is top 1% of 3,900 running backs in our database and the best in the 2023 draft class. Second, Vaughn has high-end breakaway speed. We clocked him at a max speed of nearly 22 mph in week 9 vs Oklahoma State.”

How offensive lineman Asim Richards could end up being the steal of the draft for the Cowboys- Dan Rogers, Blogging The Boys

For a team that did little to address a struggling offensive line, this would be a huge boost if true.

When you look closely at the Richards picks, it becomes very clear why the Cowboys waited. On the surface, the team gets a big school left tackle who has been a reliable fixture along the Tar Heels offensive line. He’s extremely durable, making 34 straight starts to finish out his college career, including over 1,000 snaps last year alone. He has long arms to keep defenders at bay and really good athleticism. His college tape didn’t dazzle, which is why he was still available in the fifth round, but all of his traits make him an intriguing development player on the offensive line.

Right now, the Cowboys are in good shape at tackle thanks to some brilliant scouting by the Cowboys player personnel department in recent years. Starting with the signing of undrafted free agent Terence Steele, the team found a raw, but athletic tackle who they have developed into one of the best run-blocking right tackles in the league. They also selected Tyler Smith with their top draft resource last year and he’s already proving that he could be one of the next top tackles in the league. Throw in a reconfigured cap-friendly contract of Tyron Smith, and the team has three quality blockers along the edge.

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