American Football

Dallas Cowboys mailbag: Final 2023 draft questions


NFL: NFL Draft
Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

People have questions about the Cowboys, and we strive to provide the answers.

Every week, we will be taking questions on Twitter and Facebook about Dallas Cowboys players and other questions surrounding the team. So let’s get right into it.

“If Calijah Kancey is there at pick 26 is he the best player available or is WR more of a position of need?”

(Submitted by KalenoKal via Facebook)

Mike: I have to be honest and say as much as I like Kancey, he scares me as a first-round selection. No doubt he’s a nuisance to offensive linemen while he played in Pittsburgh, but his size and profile leave too many questions. For now he’s a complete outlier for the position and there are quite a few of them at all the positions in this year’s draft. But if I had a choice in the first round between him or one of the top three wide receivers, then I’m going wide receiver all day.

Brandon: The answer is going to be in lockstep with Mike on this one. Drafting a wide receiver is a bigger need for the Cowboys than defensive tackle and picking Calijah Kancey. While Kancey has shown flashes of being a dominant player and Aaron Donald-lite, because they shared the same college team, his size for the position, is an outlier. He has short arms and is light in weight. Taking a player like Kancey would be a better bet in the second round, not the first. If a receiver like Zay Flowers is there at No. 26, he has the potential to be more impactful for the Cowboys in year one.

“Mazi Smith or O’Cyrus Torrence with the first pick and why?”

(Submitted by bearrhe3 via Twitter)

Brandon: O’Cyrus Torrence. With Mike McCarthy talking about playing offensive tackle Josh Ball inside at guard, it is an obvious need for the team. The competition could be between Tyler Smith, Ball, and Chuma Edoga, but is that the best option for Dallas’ 2023 success? No. They need a big offensive guard like Torrence, who can maul defenders in the run and has the room to develop under Mike Solari. His mentors would be better on that side of the ball (Martin and both Smith’s), expediting the potential growth process than Mazi Smith would have at defensive tackle.

Mike: Right now for Dallas the two main positions to address in this draft is inside offensive line and inside defensive line, so this makes for a great question. If the Cowboys manage to get decent players in this draft to fill both those needs then that’s a win this year. Going off value and ranking on my board then O’Cyrus Torrence wins this battle. Sure he played right guard in Florida and the one thing the Cowboys have no need for is a right guard. But we’ve seen this coaching staff manage to make a left tackle last year play both left tackle and guard, sometimes in the same game. They’ve made Tyron Smith, who spent a lifetime at left tackle, become effective at right tackle. So taking Torrence to play left guard in the NFL and out of his natural college position shouldn’t be too hard for this team to get him into rhythm and working effectively with this unit.

“Darnell Wright OT Tennessee. If they draft him, who goes where on the offensive line?”

(Submitted by mike_heavens via Twitter)

Brandon: It’s an answer that wouldn’t need a lot of explanation. From left tackle to right tackle, it would be: Tyler Smith, Darnell Wright, Tyler Biadasz, Zack Martin, and Terence Steele.

Wright can be the Cowboys’ left guard in his first year, and if the team cannot get a long-term deal with Steele, he can become their starting right tackle in year two. His best position is on the right side, so getting him to play guard is a luxury. Tony Pollard could average 100 yards a game with an offensive line like this built to run the ball at an All-Pro level.

Mike: We got to talk with the great Bryan Broaddus last week and he thinks this could very well be the pick for Dallas on the first day, and not to play tackle either. The rumors circulating at the moment is that the front office is very high on Darnell Wright and if he comes to Dallas then he will fill at the left guard position. That then keeps Tyler Smith and Terence Steele in their original roles. This guy is strong, great length and can use his hands maybe the best out of this year’s offensive line class. He’s wide and big-bodied which helps plug the hole in blocking and at 335lbs there aren’t many guys forklifting or bull rushing him out the way. With his issues of foot speed and kick sliding, along with his aggressive tendencies and wanting to get into his anchor quickly, all make for a good mixture to be more effective at the guard position than at tackle in the NFL.

Poll Of The Week: Finally on the Mailbag we asked who you would people expect to have a breakout year for Dallas. Here are the results and our take on the poll.

Brandon: If Jabril Cox is a healthy contributor for the Dallas defense this season, that could be the storyline of the season. Coming into 2023, Cox has zero expectations in my book, which means he’s a blank canvas. If the third-year linebacker turns into “The Starry Night,” then their linebacker core of Leighton Vander Esch, Clark, and Cox sounds like it doesn’t need any outside help. Unfortunately, the front office would be wise to draft his replacement in the first four rounds, hoping they could be more reliable than Cox.

Mike: I have my fingers crossed for Jabril Cox and hope he can get back on track. Everyone was willing to be patient with Michael Gallup on his return from the dreaded ACL injury, and I think we should give Cox the same level of patience to. Some guys recover quicker than others or have less complications, and not being a doctor let’s not play the game of pretending we know everything about the injury or his circumstances.

Cox was part of the new wave linebackers coming into the league that are the speedier, cover type that hover on the fringe of the box so his athleticism is everything to the way he plays. Let’s see what he brings back this year and help put some talent and depth at a very light position for Dallas.

Be sure to check @kenfigkowboy and @brandoniswrite on Twitter and also Facebook for the weekly post, asking you for your questions for the weekly mailbag. Check for the Poll of The Week on Twitter. Many thanks to everyone that sends in your questions and votes.

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