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Pick Fit

Pick Fit: LB fits for every Cowboys draft pick


FRISCO, Texas — The NFL Draft is less than three weeks away, as the Dallas Cowboys are taking the final steps in their evaluation process before making their currently scheduled seven picks in the draft before acquiring a carefully constructed undrafted free agent pool.

In the Pick Fit series, we will take a look at each position group and what player would make sense for the Cowboys at each of their seven picks within that position group.

Next up is linebacker.

Round 1, Pick 24: Edgerrin Cooper (Texas A&M): Much like the running back position, spending a first-round pick on a linebacker in this draft class may not be the best move, but if the Dallas Cowboys want to get their guy in the second level that can have an immediate impact, Edgerrin Cooper makes sense to come off the board. It may be a more realistic trade back scenario later in the first round or out of the first completely, but Cooper would be a comfortable pick if the Cowboys were to take a gamble on a linebacker that can come in and be a pesky presence in defending both the pass and run.

Round 2, Pick 56: Payton Wilson (NC State): If Cooper is off the board at 56 and the Cowboys want to get a guy at a good value, the presence of Payton Wilson still being available would be too good to pass up. The Dick Butkus Award winner for college football's top linebacker from 2023 has a lengthy injury history that has some in the draft community fearing his durability, but it would be far from the first time that Dallas has drafted a high-risk, high-reward injury prone player on day two. His athleticism hasn't been a sacrifice to those injuries, as he flies from sideline-to-sideline to make plays.

Round 3, Pick 87: Junior Colson (Michigan): Some mock drafts have seen Junior Colson slip into the 80s, and while that would be an unlikely slide for one of the top players in the second level from last season, Dallas would be all over it if it were to happen. If Colson is off the board, the options expected to be available late on day two wouldn't be the best fit on Mike Zimmer's defense, as Colson brings a wide frame that provides a huge impact in run defense and backfield disruption. With that being said, the Cowboys could take a gamble on drafting Kentucky's Trevin Wallace in this spot if Colson already has an NFL home.

Round 5, Pick 174: Ty'Ron Hopper (Missouri): The Cowboys formally met with Ty'Ron Hopper at the combine, as they continue to do their homework on the versatile SEC defender. His availability on day three is expected to stretch into the fifth round where he can bring a healthy combination of pass coverage skills and run defense from a unit last season that played a major role in changing the direction of the Missouri program.

Round 6, Pick 216: Nathaniel Watson (Mississippi State): The reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Nathaniel Watson, is a late day three talent that can rush the passer and fill running lanes, but what he provides in attacking the backfield, he gives up in athleticism and pass coverage. His 137 total tackles from 2023 yielded just 35 solo tackles which also provides concern towards him being able to wrap up and finish in space, but his decisiveness in filling lanes provides a value in itself.

Round 7, Pick 233: Jordan Magee (Temple): The Cowboys have been doing their homework on Jordan Magee this draft cycle, as they have met with him formally at the combine and have brought him in for a 30-visit. Magee is coming off a 2023 season that saw him rack up 80 tackles including 14 for loss, but it's his high instincts that have NFL teams keying in on his talent and potential for the next level.

Round 7, Pick 244: Jontrey Hunter (Georgia State): One of the handful of sub-Power Five defenders invited to the Senior Bowl this year, Hunter is a physical thumper that utilized his aggressive play style to force three fumbles last season and account for 96 tackles. His play recognition needs some work, but learning under Mike Zimmer and Eric Kendricks may help narrow that skill gap for the next level.

UDFA: Darius Muasau (UCLA): One of the standouts of the East-West Shrine Bowl in January, Darius Muasau fills running lanes and brings instincts that you can't teach at the linebacker position. While he is not the most athletic or physically imposing linebacker in the draft at 5-foot-11, 225 pounds, Muasau brings durability and high instincts that could provide a reliable depth option that the Cowboys desperately coveted in 2023.

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