Skip to main content

Draft Central | 2023

Presented by

Draft Insiders Discuss Cowboys From Kansas City


KANSAS CITY Trade up for a top prospect? Stay at 26 and hope for the best? Or maybe something in between?

The luxury of pick 26 in the first round of this year's draft is options. The Cowboys addressed several of its needs during free agency, trading for veteran experience at cornerback (Stephon Gilmore) and wide receiver (Brandin Cooks) while also acquiring running back Ronald Jones and resigning key pieces from 2022 (Donovan Wilson, Leighton Vander Esch, Cooper Rush, Johnathan Hankins).

So how should they approach the draft in 2023? We spoke to draft insiders Joel Klatt (FOX), Charles Davis (NFL on CBS) and Daniel Jeremiah (Move the Sticks) in Kansas City to get their opinions on the Cowboys' picks.


He's the talk of the town and arguably the best offensive prospect in this year's draft – and likely won't be available at 26. So, should the Cowboys work their way up in the lineup to secure the Texas running back? That feels like the sexy choice, but is it feasible, or even necessary?

  • Charles Davis: I think they're in a position where they don't have to force anything. They will have needs on their board that they like and positions that they favor, but I don't think they have to go out and do anything about a lot of that – a lot of that will probably come to them. I'm thinking more do they like Jahmyr Gibbs enough? Are they going to make a move at 26 to go to like 24 or 23? Potentially.
  • Joel Klatt, FOX: I think they can have a number of different fits, which is what makes the pick so intriguing to me. I love the thought of them trading up for Bijan Robinson. He's the best non-quarterback offensive player in the draft. Now, I don't think they need to do that because they can eventually fill the role of Zeke later in the draft with a guy like Zach Charbonnet form UCLA and wouldn't have to spend the capital to go up and get Bijan.


In 60 games with the Cowboys, Dalton Schultz and Dak Prescott connected on 163 passes for 1,703 yards and 15 touchdowns, with the tight end being one of Prescott's top targets. Now that Schultz is in Houston, is it time for the next wave of tight ends to make a splash in Dallas?

Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot both had meaningful snaps in 2022, but will they be ready to fill that role in year two? With so many top graded tight end prospects in this year's draft, it's possible – and encouraged – to take one this week.

  • Daniel Jeremiah: I gave the Cowboys Luke Musgrave (in my mock draft). I think he gives them a lot of athleticism, a lot of run after the catch and might be a good fit in their offense. I think adding another piece offensively for Dak I think will be huge, especially since Philadelphia's in the division. They're going to be very tough to stop defensively; I think more firepower offensively is a good way to go, and I think that will be a fun fit."
  • Charles Davis: It seems like it's an easy need, right? I like Jake Ferguson. I like Peyton Hendershot. I liked those players coming out, they're good players. But are they tight end one? That's something for Dallas to determine with the loss of Dalton Schultz – there's Michael Mayer from Notre Dame; what if Dalton Kincaid makes it down there? Do they like Luke Musgrave enough to bring him in as the third?


The Dallas Cowboys gave up an average of 129.9 rushing yards per game in 2022, and hope to address the problem before taking the field in August. Resigning defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins was a huge help, but there is one big way to address the issue in Kansas City this week: 6-foot-3, 323 pound lineman Mazi Smith.

  • Joel Klatt: I think that the best run interior defensive lineman other than Jalen Carter is Mazi Smith from Michigan. He's the type of guy you can probably get in the second round… He's a kind of true nose, big guy in the middle of that defense and I think he's excellent at stopping the run."
  • Daniel Jeremiah: I think a bigger body Mazi Smith from Michigan would probably be that guy. Somebody that can hang in there and do some of that dirty work while also providing a little bit of upside as well as a rusher. Keeanu Benton may be a little bit of a surprise there from Wisconsin is a really good player who I think has a little more range laterally to go along with being able to stop the run."


Earlier in the week, Mike McCarthy joked about taking all offensive players now that he is in charge of calling the plays, but it got me thinking – how much of the draft should the Cowboys focus on improving the offense? Even with the addition of wide receiver Brandin Cooks, that position could still use some more beef, as well as adding more depth at running back.

  • Charles Davis: You want to give the play caller all the proper players at his disposal to call the game he wants to call. That's why tight end is being talked about so much, why Michael Mayer seems to fit really well with Dallas. Mike [McCarthy] said 'I want to run the ball more.' Well, a good blocking tight end helps you run the ball better."


Despite losing Dak Prescott for five games at the start of the season, the Cowboys rallied behind Cooper Rush and a lock-down defense to advance to the divisional round of the playoffs. Many even saw them as Super Bowl favorites throughout the season, and now that they've maintained much of the roster this offseason, just how close is America's Team to a return? It's a question that was met with mixed reviews.

  • Daniel Jeremiah: I think they're very close. l I think they've been close for a couple years now. If Dak plays up to his level, if Dak plays at his ceiling, they can beat anybody… how can they get Dak at that level and keep them there? I think that's by giving him some help."
  • Joel Klatt: Not to be disparaging, but they need to focus not on winning the Super Bowl, but just being the best team in their own division, which is going to be really tough with Philadelphia sitting there. I think that they need to lean in and get the pieces that allowed Dak to play his best football."

Related Content