Dallas Cowboys first round staff predictions (Who will they take at 26)

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Dallas Cowboys are mere hours away from the 2023 NFL draft. The pick they make will hopefully help shape their franchise for the next decade. The player could be a super star like Micah Parsons or a sup bust like Taco Charlton.

One pick can make a tremendous impact.

The Sport DFW staff makes their final predictions regarding who the Dallas Cowboys will select with their first pick in the draft

We will start with Cassidy’s prediction…

Dallas Cowboys Pick: Will McDonald, DE

If there’s one thing Dan Quinn loves in his defenders, it’s pure athleticism and Will McDonald IV embodies the word athleticism. McDonald may not be the most polished defensive end in the draft behind guys like Will Anderson Jr., Tyree Wilson, Lukas Van Ness, Nolan Smith, and Myles Murphy.

Still, there is an argument to be made that he has room for the most growth/upside and could be the best pure pass rusher in the draft. Among the top pass-rushing prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft, Will McDonald leads the pack in sack-per-pass rush snaps over the last three seasons (shout out to Matt Owens @ProfessorO_NFL).

Will McDonald IV – 1 per 27 snaps
Will Anderson – 1 per 33 snaps
Nolan Smith – 1 per 36 snaps
Lukas Van Ness – 1 per 43 snaps
Myles Murphy – 1 per 45 snaps
Tyree Wilson – 1 per 51 snaps

Overall, Will McDonald is a fringe starter on day one due to his lack of size at the position and weakness in the run game. With Dan Quinn and this current roster, he would not be asked to start day one as Dallas currently has Micah Parsons, Sam Williams, Dorance Armstrong, Dante Fowler, and DeMarcus Lawrence under contract for 2023.

This would allow McDonald to learn under Parsons and D-Law and put on some weight before obtaining the starting position in the future. He would be a rotational piece and pass rush specialist as a rookie and eventual 3-down starter.