The Dallas Cowboys are heading into the 2023 NFL Draft with several roster holes to fill on both sides of the ball. With pick No. 26, the team could address the skill positions on the offensive side of the ball or beef up the defensive line. With that in mind, here are the three best Cowboys NFL draft targets: Dalton Kincaid, Bijan Robinson, and Mazi Smith.
Texas RB Bijan Robinson
Conventional NFL wisdom says that picking a running back in the first round of the NFL Draft isn’t a good idea. It doesn’t often work out well. However, every so often it does, and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has never been one to follow conventional NFL wisdom.
Eight years ago, Jones took RB Ezekiel Elliott with the No. 4 overall pick and kept him around ever since. Elliott was a relative success, making three Pro Bowls and an All-Pro team. But it never led to the Cowboys winning (or even making) a Super Bowl.
Maybe Jones has learned his lesson, but if Texas RB Bijan Robinson slips to No. 26, it’s going to be tough for Jones to pass up.
Robinson put up over 4,000 yards from scrimmage in college and scored 20 touchdowns. His combination of skill, size, and on-field production makes him the best running back prospect to come into the NFL draft since Saquon Barkley.
With Elliott gone and Tony Pollard on the franchise tag, the Cowboys do need another back in the rotation. The team currently has Malik Davis, Ronald Jones, and Rico Dowdle, but none of those backs really move the needle much.
There are other needs on the roster, but fans shouldn’t be shocked if Jones swings for the fences in the Cowboys NFL draft and picks Bijan Robinson.
Utah TE Dalton Kincaid
Speaking of other roster needs, tight end Dalton Schultz has left the team as well this offseason and signed with the Houston Texans. He was the Cowboys’ second-leading pass-catcher last season in both receptions (57) and yards (577).
Dallas desperately needs to add more pass-catching weapons to star wideout CeeDee Lamb. The 2023 NFL Draft wide receiver class isn’t great, but there are some intriguing tight end prospects in the first round.
One of those, Utah’s Dalton Kincaid, would be an excellent selection with the Cowboys’ NFL draft pick in the first round.
Kincaid isn’t going to move defensive ends and linebackers like a tackle, but he is going to run routes and run after the catch like a glorified WR. He will make a great target for Dak Prescott and finally take some of the pressure off Lamb.
Also, the Cowboys’ TE options aren’t great right now. Heading into the draft, Jake Ferguson, Peyton Hendershot, Sean McKeon, and Ian Bunting are the TEs on the roster. Together, the four have combined for a grand total of 36 catches, 318 yards, and five touchdowns in the NFL.
As with running back Bijan Robinson, tight end is not a high-value first-round position generally. However, when there is a high-end talent and a major need on the part of the Cowboys, it makes Dalton Kincaid not just a good pick but a worthwhile one.
Michigan DT Mazi Smith
While taking an offensive skill position player with the first-round Cowboys NFL draft pick would be the flashy selection, Jerry Jones has actually chosen substance over flash often in the last few years.
While there has been the occasional Ezekiel Elliott and CeeDee Lamb in the last decade, the Cowboys’ first-round picks have also included center Travis Frederick, guard Zach Martin, defensive lineman Taco Charlton, and offensive tackle Tyler Smith.
So, if Michigan defensive tackle Mazi Smith is around at pick No. 26, the Cowboys could address a major need while picking a player flying up draft boards after the NFL combine.
Heading into the combine, Smith was likely a Day 2 selection. However, the more teams see his athleticism and size (6-foot-3, 323 pounds) and pair that with his impressive tape and production with the Wolverines, he could now go in Round 1.
The Cowboys are thin at defensive tackle in the 2023 offseason. Right now, Osa Odighizuw and Neville Gallimore are the presumed starters, with Quinton Bohanna and Isaac Alarcon behind them.
If the Cowboys take Mazi Smith, he would likely jump right to the head of this unit and be the Week 1 starter in the trenches for the Cowboys defense. And getting a space-eating defensive tackle is important for that defense. The more attention (and blockers) a player like Smith draws, the more superstars Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence can do without a lot of offensive linemen in their faces.
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