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Mailbag: Any optimism with 2023 draft class?


I know it's early, but it seems like the 2023 draft has been one of the least productive in the last few years. Is this going to hurt the future development of the team? Can you give us some reasons to be optimistic about the 2023 draft class? – Tommy Long/Lebanon, PA

Nick Harris: The 2023 draft class has been by far one of the bigger draft failures of the last decade for the Cowboys. ESPN ranked it as the worst in the NFL from 2023, as the only rookies that saw consistent playing time were Mazi Smith and Luke Schoonmaker and neither met first-year expectations like first and second-round picks did before them. I can offer two points of optimism. One, third-round pick DeMarvion Overshown will get his chance to hit the field next season after tearing his ACL last year in the preseason amidst a training camp that had turned a lot of heads in his direction. If he had stayed healthy, he would have been playing quite a bit following the injury to Leighton Vander Esch. Second, most of the draft class had positional flexibility coming into the year and had been worked at multiple spots at training camp. With a year of development, those flex players typically find a little bit more comfortability.

Patrik: I have a rule when it comes to grading a draft class: never do it in Year 1. I realize it's easy (and lazy) to start throwing out draft grades immediately after the draft and then throughout the first season that follows, but the reality is not every rookie hits the ground running; and that doesn't make them a bust. I think what's really happening here is we're all (present company included) become so rightfully spoiled by how well the Cowboys usually draft, and the fact the 2022 class got off to one of the hottest starts in franchise history as a group, that it makes the first campaign from the 2023 class look that much worse by comparison. With that being said, it's also true that Year 2 will need to be an explosive one for the 2023 group on several fronts — especially from Mazi Smith, as one example — but I suspect the return of DeMarvion Overshown will help spark that detonation. The pessimism lies in comparing how quickly Cowboys' draft classes usually make an impact as compared to this most recent one, but optimism lies in the fact some players don't pop off until Year 2 or Year 3.

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