FRISCO, Texas — As free agency wanes in the NFL, mock draft season is in full effect and, quiet as it's kept, everyone knows exactly what the Dallas Cowboys will do with the 26th-overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft; except for the Cowboys themselves. That is to say we can all only have fun speculating until the event gets underway in Kansas City on Thursday, April 27, but what is known is where this team is in need of an upgrade.
They did a masterful job in free agency with making sure they don't enter this year's draft in dire straits at any position, but that doesn't mean they're all set across the board.
So as we continue the inaugural edition of "Fast Forward", let's look at the wide receiver position.
The Cowboys added some firepower to a receiving corps that already has an All-Pro standout in CeeDee Lamb. But it was clear he needed some help, and if that comes in the form of Michael Gallup being a full year removed his ACL injury, that's a bonus. But the Cowboys went out and added veteran Brandin Cooks, a six-time 1,000-yard receiver with four different teams.
Behind that trio is a group of youngsters that will definitely compete for spots and bring something unique to the table. Jalen Tolbert did not have the rookie season anyone hoped for, but has vowed to make a big jump this offseason. Simi Fehoko had an injury that derailed his season after a promising training camp and preseason. And KaVontae Turpin was a Pro Bowl return specialist but figures to have a bigger role in the offense with a full offseason under his belt.
Top 2023 Prospects:
Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State) – A local standout from nearby Rockwall who has played just 23 games in three years, including three last season. But when he's healthy, he's dynamic. Just pull up the 2022 Rose Bowl against Oregon when he set the bowl-game record with 347 receiving yards in one game.
Jordan Addison (USC) – In three years, he showed the ability to adapt quickly to new offenses. He was a Freshman All-American at Pittsburgh in 2020, then had a 17-toufchdown season as a sophomore before transferring to USC last year, where he had 875 yards and eight TDs despite missing three games.
Jalin Hyatt (Tennessee) – Visited the Cowboys in their 30 visits last week. If you want touchdowns, Hyatt is the guy, scoring 15 last year on his way to being an unanimous All-American and Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation's best receiver.
Zay Flowers (Boston College) – Another 30-visit player who lacks overall size but is a dynamic playmaker who was a high-production player at Boston College. He had 1,077 yards and 12 touchdowns and could give instant juice to any offense.
Quentin Johnston (TCU) – Local product who was part of "Dallas Day" at The Star. He led TCU in receiving yards for each of his three seasons in Fort Worth and was the biggest playmaker on last year's team that made it to the national championship game.
Best Fit (Post-Day 1):
Marvin Mims Jr. (Oklahoma) – He's a three-time All-Big 12 performer and was electric for the Sooners right away in 2020, when he helped replace CeeDee Lamb. He's a big-play threat, averaging 19.5 yards per catch in his career.
Rashee Rice (SMU) – Throw the ball his way and he'll probably catch it. Rice had 233 career receptions for the Mustangs, including 96 last year. If the Cowboys don't address the position in the first round, Rice could be an option in the late-second or third.
Trey Palmer (Nebraska) – Speed guy – clocked at 4.33 at the combine. Palmer set the Nebraska single-season record with 1,043. Maybe a mid-round pick but could provide instant playmaking ability.