There’s a bit of a misconception going around that the Dallas Cowboys biggest draft needs must be addressed first and foremost in the 2023 NFL Draft. That just because something is top priority, it somehow has to use the top draft capital.
Positions like left guard, running back and tight end appear to be Dallas’ biggest needs heading into the draft. If the Cowboys don’t add viable players at those positions, they could find themselves in trouble in 2023.
Not all positions warrant a top pick in the draft and just because the Dallas Cowboys have needs, doesn’t mean they have to fill them immediately.
Kicker is a need on the Dallas Cowboys. With Brett Maher riding the yip-train to Shanktown, Dallas has a significant need at placekicker. They saw how horrifically a poor kicker can impact a season and they need to take action to avoid it again.
That clearly doesn’t mean they should invest a top pick on the position. The kicker position holds low positional value and most starting kickers can be found late, or even after, the draft. The Cowboys need to address kicker but they’d be foolish to use a top pick when decent options should be available after the draft.
So too should the Cowboys look at other positions. Not to the same extent, but with an understanding not every position needs a top pick to fill.
RB is a position group that could use new blood. The Dallas Cowboys have Tony Pollard on the franchise tag but after him things look bleak. Does that mean they need to use a first or second rounder on the position?
Of course not.
This is a deep class at RB and great candidates can be found much later in the draft. RB is also considered one of the most easily replaceable positions in the NFL. Their production is more a product of their O-line than their own talent.
TE is another position that’s both easily replaceable and deep in this year’s draft. TEs are routinely found in the latter portions and in the first round it’s historically one of the least drafted positions in the NFL. TE is also one of the lowest paid position groups in the league today indicating how it’s valued and what level of savings a player on a rookie deal offers.
The Dallas Cowboys could use a TE to replace Dalton Schultz on the roster, but they should be able to upgrade from Schultz without using a first or second round pick.
With Connor McGovern gone the Cowboys have a glaring need at LG. In fact, it’s probably Priority No. 1. But that doesn’t mean Dallas has to use their first pick to address it. Like the other two positions, it’s not a high value spot and is often filled with mid-to-late rounders.
The Dallas Cowboys could take a stab at an elite prospect early, but recently even those haven’t panned out flawlessly in the draft. The position group is shallow this season so they can’t gamble too much, but they can still treat it with priority without using a premium pick to fill it (although, going outside the top-100 here is very risky).
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The point is – needs don’t have to rule the order in which the Cowboys pick. They resist the urge to draft a kicker early for the same reason they should resist the urge to draft other lower-value positions early.
A case can be made the right offensive line prospect (someone who has OT/OG versatility), the right running back (Bijan Robinson), or the right TE (maybe Michael Mayer or Dalton Kincaid) are special enough situations to warrant a top pick. That’s perfectly fine.
But drafting positions for the sake of addressing positions needn’t be the guiding force at positions such as these. The distinction is important when looking at lower value positions like guard, tight end and running back.