Will a first-round cornerback be available for Dallas to choose? I believe Devon Witherspoon, Christian Gonzalez, Joey Porter, Jr. and Deonte Banks will be long gone prior to pick 26. All had solid Combine results which will probably put the Dallas Cowboys in a familiar spot.
The Dallas Cowboys would be drafting against grain with these picks, but it may pay immediate and long-term dividends if they pan out.
In 2021, both Patrick Surtain, Jr. and Jaycee Horn were targets of the Dallas Cowboys, but both were gone before pick number 12. What initially looked like a devastating gut punch for America’s team ended up being a blessing in disguise. They missed out on a first-round cornerback, but they drafted the ultimate mismatch problem in Micah Parsons. I’m projecting something similar happen for Dallas this year as well and finding potential mismatches is the theme of this draft.
Now, with the Stephon Gilmore trade, I believe moving back in the draft is more than plausible. The Carolina Panthers traded for the first overall pick and jumped the line for a quarterback. The Las Vegas Raiders may be the odd man out and left holding the bag. Bryce Young, CJ Stroud and Will Levis will almost certainly be gone in the top seven picks. The Raiders are holding out hope that Anthony Richardson drops to them but in this mock draft the Seattle Seahawks get their quarterback of the future to sit behind Geno Smith for one year.
Who’s left? There is one quarterback still ‘potentially’ worthy of a first-round pick. The Raiders get a California kid, Tanner McKee from Stanford, at the back end of the first round to secure those fifth-year rights. He can sit behind the newly signed Jimmy Garoppolo for a couple of years before taking the reins.
More importantly, the Dallas Cowboys are positioned to move back into the early part of the second round, add some draft capital and pick their next mismatch prospect.
Trade Alert: Las Vegas Raiders receive pick 26 Dallas Cowboys receive picks 38 and 70
Round Two – Pick 38: Darnell Washington, Tight End, Georgia
With the 38th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Dallas Cowboys select Darnell Washington, tight end from Georgia. Mike McCarthy can barely contain himself as he finally gets his Jermichael Finley/Mercedes Lewis type impact player. The incumbents, Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot, are both fine players and this pick is not an indictment on their abilities. As I pick this player, I envision the trio of Washington, Ferguson and Hendershot and the damage they will cause to opposing defenses TOGETHER.
For Dallas, Big Mike is ready to play big boy ball. Everyone in the organization appear to be in lockstep with him on the plan to control the clock thru the run game. Here’s a cheat code to a dominant run game, draft a tight end who can dominate in the trenches. With the blocking ability of Ferguson and Washington, Dallas will load up on 12 personnel to out-physical teams.
Yes, from a receiving standpoint, he still has some developing to do. Georgia relied more on Brock Bowers for that piece of the puzzle. In this draft, you could even make the argument that Dalton Kincaid and Luke Musgrave are better pass receiving options than Darnell Washington. Maybe they are but Washington has the potential to be the best overall tight end and that’s taking into consideration the entire tight end class.
At 6’7″ 264 pounds, this kid is oozing with untapped potential. I understand physical testing is only a piece of the pie. However, it’s an important and very large piece of the pie. During the NFL Combine, Washington put up some eye-popping numbers for a guy his size. He ran a 4.64 in the 40-yard dash, 1.57 second 10-yard split, 31 inch vertical and 10’2″ broad jump. Reminder – this is at 264 pounds. He was definitely one of the winners of the combine and he is the Dallas Cowboys first pick of the 2023 NFL Draft.