2. Luke Schoonmaker
Fellow rookie Luke Schoonmaker does have more invested in him as a second-round pick, but the pressure will still be on him going into next year.
The departure of Dalton Schultz this past offseason created a huge hole on the depth chart that any tight end on the roster would have a chance to fill. Many hoped Schoonmaker, with his lofty draft status, would be the one to step up.
Yet, it was instead Jake Ferguson who emerged in a massive way for this offseason. The Wisconsin product blew his 2022 numbers out of the water with a whopping 71 receptions, 761 yards and 5 touchdowns during this campaign.
Just on numbers alone he was the Cowboys' second-best receiving option, and his role as a safety valve for Dak Prescott only solidified his importance to this offense.
Meanwhile, Schoonmaker was a complete afterthought with just 8 receptions and 65 yards despite playing in all 17 games. Those paltry stats already have fans worried he's in a bust territory, especially considering the quality players around the league who were found after him in this year's draft.
Now Schoonmaker will head into 2024 needing to prove the doubters wrong. However, he'll be hard-pressed to do that considering Ferguson is going to enter camp as the clear favorite for the starting job, both because of his production and his strong connection with Dak Prescott.
McCarthy is going to play the guy who gives him the best chance to compete. We know Ferguson can help this squad win games, but Schoonmaker having that same impact remains a mystery right now.