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Draft Central | 2023

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Viliami Fehoko to Dallas as 4th-Round Pick


There's more firepower coming to the Cowboys defensive line this summer, as Dan Quinn continues to throw barrels of explosives at an already dominant defensive front

FRISCO, Texas — It's time for the third and final day of the 2023 NFL Draft, and that means a rapid-fire last four rounds that will see the Dallas Cowboys try to close out their weekend on a high note ahead of the spree for undrafted free agents.

They grabbed a big-bodied, elite run-stopper in Mazi Smith who can also be a rather disruptive talent in the pass rush, and followed it up by grabbing another Wolverine in tight end Luke Schoonmaker in the second round, then giving the call to Texas native DeMarvion Overshown.

The team isn't done stacking talent on defense, however, as evidenced by their fourth-round pick.

Round 4, No. 129: Viliami Fehoko, EDGE, San Jose State

Three things to know:

  • MWC Defensive Player of the Year (2022)
  • 2x First-Team All-MWC
  • Cousin of Bucs' Pro Bowl lineman Vita Vea

There's a reason my pre-draft notes on Fehoko dubbed him the "Backfield Bully": he might as well start paying rent in the opposing backfield, because he lives there. It's not entirely difficult to see why, when you consider his bloodline — cousin of defensive superstar Vita Vea. You can see some traits shared between the two in the ability to knife into the backfield often at will, more so for Fehoko, as Vea is designed to stop the run while Fehoko lives on the edge and uses his natural bend and quickness to make it a long day for would-be blockers.

His size gives him exactly what Dan Quinn wants as far as being able to utilize him on the edge in 4-3 sets or to slide his technique inside a spot when it's a three-man front. His motor has no off switch and, in that regard, is very much like former second-round pick (2022) Sam Williams, also similar to Williams in pure aggressiveness post-snap.

Fehoko sees red on every play.

He has a nice mix of power (a lot of power) and finesse that will aid in any flex duties thrown his way by Quinn and head coach Mike McCarthy, now having a great opportunity to learn from DeMarcus Lawrence, Micah Parsons and veterans like Dante Fowler and Dorance Armstrong as well. If you watch (or have ever watched) Fehoko play, you'll immediately notice the violence he chooses on every play; and that'll carry well in Dallas' bloodthirsty and opportunistic defense.

Once he gets a better control of his pad level and overall consistency, he'll be a very real problem in the NFL. He led San Jose State in tackles for a loss, sacks and forced fumbles in consecutive seasons, and also tossed in five pass break ups in 2021 alone.

Don't overlook the instant competition Fehoko brings to Cowboys training camp and the roster as a whole.

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