Dallas Cowboys 2023 NFL Draft: Team Needs and Top Targets

The Dallas Cowboys have some holes to fill if they are going to return to the postseason. Adding Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore helps their needs.

As we approach Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys still have holes on the roster to fill. They have finally moved forward with Tony Pollard as the featured player in their backfield, and Dak Prescott is under center for the long term. They have a freak in Micah Parsons on the defensive side. Can they take a step toward an even deeper playoff run? That answer may be in the Cowboys’ draft plan.

Dallas Cowboys Team Needs Following Round 1

  • G
  • LB
  • RB

The Cowboys made two big splashes during the earlier days of free agency, one on each side of the ball. They added Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore. Dak has another legit weapon as Cooks remains productive, even though he is on the move a lot. Gilmore adds much-needed consistency to a defensive backfield that hasn’t had it.

MORE: Dallas Cowboys’ 2023 Schedule 

The offensive line has passed its days of league dominance and is in need of a few more pieces. They probably have the answer at guard on the roster (Tyler Smith), but they are insisting on playing him at tackle. On defense, they need to address the interior of the line as well as the linebacking corps.

Results for Cowboys 2023 Draft Picks

Round 1, Pick 27: Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan

Dan Quinn’s defense needed an anchor, and it found one in DT Mazi Smith from Michigan. A 6’3″, 323-pound prospect, Smith can play nose tackle or bump to a 1-tech. He has violent hands and impressive short-area quickness. The hope is Smith can help by not allowing offensive lines to simply double Micah Parsons and prove to be an upgrade over Jonathan Hankins.

However, it must be noted this was likely not the pick Jerry Jones and the Cowboys wanted to make. Many reports stated they were infatuated with Utah TE Dalton Kincaid, but Buffalo jumped them to select him, forcing Dallas to pivot. While it did fill a team need with Smith, missing out on someone you loved is a tough pill to swallow.

Predictions and Top Targets for Every Cowboys Draft Pick

Using PFN’s free Mock Draft Simulator, here is how I would address the rest of Dallas’ picks to best fill their team needs.

Round 2, Pick 58 | Zach Charbonnet, RB

This is an opportunity for Dallas to add youth to the backfield, and Zach Charbonnet is a player with playmaking ability who can ease the newfound burden on Tony Pollard.

Round 3, Pick 90 | Daiyan Henley, LB

Daiyan Henley is an offensive convert who puts his athleticism to good use. He has decent instincts and is not afraid to attack what he sees. He can be a boost to the Cowboys’ linebacking corps.

Round 4, Pick 129 | Emil Ekiyor Jr., G

Emil Ekiyor Jr. is not necessarily a Day 1 starter, but he has the upside and intellect to become one sooner rather than later. He has decent burst in short areas and good power.

Round 5, Pick 169 | Jarrett Patterson, IOL

Jarrett Patterson gives the Cowboys more depth at a position of need. He was a center at Notre Dame but has the length and skills to play anywhere on the interior.

Round 6, Pick 212 | Shaka Heyward, LB

Shaka Heyward is a late-round developmental pick. He will provide depth at linebacker and could be an instant contributor on special teams.

Round 7, Pick 244 | Karl Brooks, DT

Karl Brooks will give the Cowboys developmental depth along their defensive line. He is a big-bodied mauler who needs refinement.

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