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Cowboys news: It’s a pass-catching race to the top of the NFC East in 2023

The latest news and notes surrounding the Dallas Cowboys.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Dallas Cowboys v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Best WR room in the NFC East is a tight race - Mario Herrera Jr. - Inside The Star

Are the Cowboys the beast of the NFC East at wide out?

Even a great quarterback has trouble running an offense when his wide receivers don’t have enough talent to steadily contribute.

There are some great wide receiver corps in the NFC East, and I will be examining and ranking them today.

Dallas Cowboys

Projected starters: CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks, Michael Gallup

Key contributor(s): KaVontae Turpin, Jalen Tolbert

Cowboys Nation was in shambles last offseason after Amari Cooper was traded away.

There were questions about whether or not CeeDee Lamb could step up into the number one role.

New York Giants

Projected starters: Darius Slayton, Isaiah Hodgins, Parris Campbell

Key contributor(s): Jalin Hyatt, Wan’Dale Robinson

Darius Slayton has three seasons of over 700 receiving yards in his young four year career.

Philadelphia Eagles

Projected starters: AJ Brown, Devonta Smith

Key contributor(s): Quez Watkins, Olamide Zaccheaus

The Philadelphia Eagles made the splash of the 2022 NFL Draft by trading away one of their 1st round picks to the Tennessee Titans for AJ Brown.

Washington Commanders

Projected starters: Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, Curtis Samuel

Key contributor(s): Dyami Brown

Terry McLaurin is undoubtedly the best wide receiver Washington has had since Santana Moss.

6 star players the Cowboys could have drafted in the past 5 years - Randy Gurzi, The Landry Hat

The NFL draft has plenty of hits and misses along the way, and Dallas falls in the category despite their positive track record over the years.

Over the past decade-plus, the Dallas Cowboys front office has been doing a great job in the NFL Draft. They’ve built up a strong roster and have done so primarily with homegrown talent.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t have their share of misses. Here, we look at what could have been as we identify six star players Dallas could have selected over the past five years.

6. Rhamondre Stevenson, RB No. 120 overall 2021 NFL Draft (Cowboys took Jabril Cox pick 115)

Entering the 2021 season, the Cowboys still felt good about their running back stable. They had Tony Pollard starting to come into his own and he went for 719 yards that year. He was still No. 2 behind Ezekiel Elliott, who put up 1,002 yards and 10 touchdowns.

4. Nick Bolton, LB: Pick No. 58, 2021 NFL Draft (Cowboys took Kelvin Joseph pick No. 44)

In the 2021 NFL Draft, the Cowboys wound up with a new defensive leader as well as two other big-time contributors. In Round 1, they landed Micah Parsons, who has 26.5 sacks in his first two seasons.

1. Terry McLaurin, WR: Pick 76 2019 NFL Draft (Cowboys took Trysten Hill at pick 58)

Back to the 2019 NFL Draft, we see another whiff for the Cowboys. Not only did they pick the wrong defensive tackle when they selected Trysten Hill, but they could have landed a stud wideout with the selection. Actually, there were several receivers who ended up being stars but arguably the most frustrating player they passed on is Terry McLaurin.

Role Call: What To Expect From Mazi Smith - Nick Harris,

The Cowboys are hoping that Mazi Smith helps solve their run defense woes.

What’s Next:: Smith comes into Dallas with an expectation to provide immediate support with his 6-foot-3, 337-pound frame in the run game for a Cowboys defense that was 22nd in rushing yards allowed in 2022. His job in year one is simple: plug the middle. Anything beyond that is playing with house money – such as his expected pass-rush unlocking under Dan Quinn – and anything additional he can contribute will only help solidify his role as the starting defensive tackle with Johnathan Hankins still factored into the equation. Adding strength to the defensive line room will also play a key role in what Smith can contribute in year one as Cowboys veterans have already pointed to his power being some of the strongest seen on the defensive line in recent times.

Bet You Didn’t Know: Mazi Smith came in at No. 1 on Bruce Feldman’s College Football “Freaks List” on The Athletic in 2022 ahead of his senior season because of his combination of size and agility. Feldman called Smith “so rare, in fact, it’s hard to find the right superlative to begin with.” Other players in the list’s top ten included Marvin Harrison Jr., Kelee Ringo and fellow first-round pick Calijah Kancey.

QuotableL: “If you’re not doubling me, then you don’t respect what I do.” - Mazi Smith during a midseason press conference in 2022 as a senior at Michigan.

Cowboys looking for more than a LG, they’re building an antifragile line - Reid Hanson, Cowboys Wire

Quality depth up front just like every other season is one of the key’s for success for any NFL franchise, and that is no different for America’s Team.

When injury after injury befell the Cowboys offensive line in 2022, the team had to get creative. They moved players in an out of their optimal positions. Players rotated and different combinations were tested. By yearend, the Dallas line was a shell of its former self. The running game was ineffective and the pass protection was untrustworthy.

The Cowboys offense ground to halt because the damage sustained to the offensive line was too big to overcome. It’s a situation Dallas clearly hopes to avoid in 2023. The Cowboys have made a determined effort to mix and match linemen throughout offseason activities. It’s a formula they intend to continue into training camp in an quest to make the offensive line as antifragile as possible.

“Position flex is important,” Mike McCarthy said. “It’s a part of the design of a 53-man roster and even more so the 48-man roster.”

Nassim Taleb, economist/mathematician/philosopher, has literally written the book on becoming antifragile. While fragile items (like the Cowboys offensive line in 2022) break under pressure, antifragile ones get stronger from it.

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  • Monday: 1st and 10 with Tony Catalina & Aidan Davis
  • Monday: Hidden Yardage with Mark Lane and Sean Martin
  • Tuesday: The Writer’s Block with Jess Nevarez and Brandon Loree
  • Tuesday: BTB Roundtable with various BTB Staffers
  • Wednesday: NFC East Mixtape with RJ Ochoa and Brandon Lee Gowton
  • Wednesday: Talkin’ The Star with Connor Livesay
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  • Thursday: Ryled Up with Roy White and Tom Ryle
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  • Friday: The Star Seminar with Danny Phantom and Rabblerousr
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