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Dallas Cowboys Break From Tradition in Latest Mock Draft

Cowboys Mock Draft

With the 2023 NFL Draft less than a month away, mock draft season is in full swing. A clearer picture is beginning to emerge on who teams might be targeting after a few weeks of free agency have passed and college pro days continue. Last Word on Sport’s own Mike Kashuba released a post-free agency mock draft with some intriguing selections to consider throughout—especially for the Dallas Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys Take Defensive Tackle in Latest Mock Draft

Dallas has pick 26 in this year’s draft, which means they need to have some flexibility with their draft board. Things can fall a lot of different ways before their time comes to choose. As such, this mock draft has hot names for the Cowboys like Bijan Robinson and Darnell Washington taken early on. With many offensive options taken off the board, Dallas selected defensive tackle Bryan Bresee. This pick would certainly be interesting from a scheme and role perspective—it would also break a 30+ year streak for the Cowboys.

Why Bresee is Worth the Pick

As the mock draft shows, the Dallas Cowboys’ options are wide open at pick 26. Quality moves over free agency have the team in position to freely draft. No roster is perfect, though, and there are spots that need bolstering. One spot is defensive tackle and Bryan Bresee would be a solid choice to further solidify the interior.

A Clemson product, Bresee has the desirable traits and size (6’5’’, 298 pounds) of a first-round talent. He maintains good balance and the ability to rip and fight through blocks to quickly disengage. Bresee’s lateral movement combines with his ability to spot the ball quickly in a menacing fusion against the run. His suddenness off the snap creates problems for any opposing blocker who can’t establish leverage immediately.

Bresee can push the pocket forward and create interior pressure up the middle, but he needs to develop further. His ability to gain leverage is inconsistent, and he doesn’t boast an arsenal of moves. However, the potential to grow a consistent interior pass rush exists, and the Cowboys could definitely use more of that.

There is a rawness to his game that is a consequence of the amount of time he has missed in his college career (15 games between 2020-22). Assuming there are no lingering injury concerns, his physical tools would be appealing to any coach wanting to develop his skills further. Let’s not forget that Bresee was the number one high school recruit in 2019—there’s reason for that.

Cowboys Address a Need in This Mock Draft

Even with a productive offseason, The Dallas Cowboys need more at defensive tackle. Jonathan Hankins was a key addition last season that shored up the rush defense. Luckily, he was brought back on a one-year deal, but Dallas needs young talent either way. Osa Odighizuwa has progressed quickly since being taken in the 3rd round of the 2021 draft, but he plays best lined up outside the offensive guard at three-technique. Bresee’s lack of rush technique isn’t as much of an immediate concern if placed in a role where he can utilize his skills against the run while coaches develop him further.

The only real difficulty in seeing the Cowboys follow the mock draft and take Bresee is the simple fact that they don’t draft DTs early. Whether it’s preference or happenstance, Dallas hasn’t drafted a first-round defensive tackle since 1991. They just don’t do it. If there are other options—especially on offense—at pick 26, precedent tells us they’ll go a different direction.

His injury history is also something that could cause teams—including Dallas—to hesitate on sending the card in early on. A torn ACL in 2021 caused Bresee to miss most of the season, and he had shoulder surgery in Jan. 2022. Buzz after the combine suggests the injury history isn’t a major concern, but it will be something to watch.

Who Else at 26?

The choice of Bresee in this mock draft would be a quality pick for the Dallas Cowboys. That being said, the team will certainly have multiple options to choose from. An encouraging lack of holes in the roster means Dallas isn’t pigeonholed into any one position. There is also the possibility another team takes Bresee before Dallas picks. It’s always worth considering who else could go first round.

Running Back

There are plenty of mock drafts predicting the Dallas Cowboys will take a running back to supplant the loss of Ezekiel Elliott. Bijan Robinson is one of the best players in the draft but may be gone before Dallas’ pick. This mock had Robinson going 8th overall the Atlanta Falcons—totally plausible. It’s also plausible he slips due to positional value. Ongoing debates around the wisdom of taking a first round running back would be the cause. Still, any offense with Robinson in it will be better for it. The possibility is there if he is. If Dallas were to trade back, Jahmyr Gibbs out of Alabama would be an outstanding early-2nd round pick.

Tight End

Another direction the Cowboys could go with their first-round pick is tight end. This draft class is loaded with top-end prospects, and Dalton Schultz just left for Houston. Players like Dalton Kincaid, Darnell Washington, and Michael Mayer are all projected first rounders. Each has specific skill sets which make them different from one another. Any one of them available at 26 would be tempting.

Offensive Line

Dallas could also go offensive line with their first pick. Connor McGovern started most of last season at left guard but has left for the Buffalo Bills. The Cowboys drafted left tackle Tyler Smith intending to start his career at guard, but he started all season at tackle due to injuries. Will Dallas still want to move him inside if he’s the future at left tackle? If not, they may look to draft an interior lineman early. O’Cyrus Torrence (Florida) is a first-round talent and could be plugged in immediately. Steve Avila (TCU) has the positional flexibility the Dallas staff loves and may not last to the second round.

Time to Draft

Bryan Bresee could be a really good fit for the Dallas Cowboys. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn should have the trust of all fans to develop a player. An off-ball linebacker from Penn State is now one of the best edge rushers in the league—enough said. If he were to get Jerry and company to break their 30-year streak, there must be elite potential there. A lack of holes elsewhere on the roster could lead the front office into doing just that and taking a defensive tackle in the first. Whether our mock draft gets it right in Bresee—or it’s someone else—the Cowboys should be able to draft without positional need flexing their board.

Main Photo: Kirby Lee – USA Today Sports


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