Cowboys mock draft.
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Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft: Fixing America's Team in 7 Rounds

As we march through April, one of the most exciting NFL events awaits us: the 2023 NFL Draft

Over the next few weeks, teams will scramble to build their big boards, bring players in for a top 30 visit, and pick up the phone to potentially trade with other teams.

One team that's certainly worth keeping an eye on is the Dallas Cowboys. Heading into the draft, they own the picks at No. 26, 58, 90, 129, 169, 212 and 244 overall. Picks 169 and 212 are compensatory selections. 

Below, we've constructed a seven-round mock draft for "America's Team." But before we dive in, here are the parameters around this mock draft:

  • This mock draft was conducted using the Pro Football Focus mock draft simulator. This was done so we couldn't cherry-pick the best selections in each round without dealing with some competition. 
  • Trades are allowed according to the PFF simulator; so if something makes sense, we'll try to make a trade to improve the team. 

With that out of the way, let's see what the Cowboys come away with in the 2023 draft. 

Round 1: Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh

Calijah Kancey

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We had to pivot with running back Bijan Robinson coming off the board just two picks before us.

Coming out of the University of Pittsburgh, Calijah Kancey is a bit undersized for the interior of the defensive line at 6-foot-1 and 281 pounds, but you cannot help but see shades of Aaron Donald, who also went to Pittsburgh. He's a ferocious pass rusher, with 47 pressures, eight sacks and nine quarterback hits, and he ran a 4.67 40-yard dash. He may have trouble with double teams in the NFL, but that's not guaranteed. He plays with great leverage and will be much quicker than the opposing offensive linemen. While Donald is an outlier, Kancey can be a player of that same mold.

The Cowboys need defensive interior production, as they currently sport Osa Odighizuwa, Neville Gallimore and Johnathan Hankins; Hankins is more of a nose tackle, however. Working a player of Kancey's size into the rotation might be challenging for some defensive coordinators. Still, this level of explosiveness cannot be overlooked. If someone can make it work, it's Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

Round 2: Sam LaPorta, TE, Iowa

Sam Laporta

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This was a rough second round. Getting Kancey in the first round allowed us to be OK with Wisconsin defensive interior lineman Keeanu Benton going off the board, which he did at No. 50 overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We had been looking at two other players: Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs and Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell. However, they went at picks 44 and 49, respectively.

Sitting here at No. 58, it came down to Sam LaPorta or Texas A&M running back Devon Achane, but we opted for one of the best receiving tight ends in the class.

The Cowboys lost tight end Dalton Schultz this offseason, and while they may be fans of Jake Ferguson, he's played so little there's no way to be sure. The wide receiver position is loaded with CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup and Brandin Cooks.

However, adding a pass-catching tight end from a school in Iowa that produced George Kittle is excellent value at No. 58 overall. The stats aren't delightful for LaPorta, but he played at Iowa, which may have some of the worst offense in college football. Be prepared for LaPorta to rack up many yards after the catch with his 4.59 speed.

Round 3: DeWayne McBride, RB, UAB

DeWayne McBride for UAB.

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After missing out on Robinson, Gibbs and then Achane — who went No. 74 overall — we're still walking away with a phenomenal running back in DeWayne McBride.

While he may have played at UAB and not a school such as Texas, Alabama or Texas A&M, McBride put up video game-like statistics. At 5-foot-10 and around 210 pounds, McBride ran for 1,702 yards and 19 touchdowns on just 233 carries. McBride is not a guy who played a ton of snaps in college.

Through three years, he had just 484 carries and averaged 7.2 yards per carry in college. There are some question marks around his receiving ability. Still, McBride didn't get any opportunities to do so with just 10 targets. Even if he's not an ideal pass-catching back, that's fine for the Cowboys, who have running back Tony Pollard still on the roster.

Round 4: Cory Trice, CB, Purdue

Cory Trice

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The Cowboys just traded for Stephon Gilmore, but he's a free agent after this season. They need to work something out with Trevon Diggs, and slot corner Jourdan Lewis is also a free agent after this season.

In the fourth round, the Cowboys pick up an absolute bully at the cornerback position with Cory Trice.

Trice is 6-foot-3 and over 200 pounds, and he profiles well as a press cornerback. He allowed just one catch on 88 press snaps, according to PFF.

At the NFL Scouting Combine, Trice ran a 4.47 40-yard dash and posted an 11-foot broad jump. He has a similar athletic profile to Denver Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain, according to MockDraftable.

Round 5: Anthony Johnson Jr., Safety, Iowa State

Anthony Johnson jr. for Iowa State.

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Playing five years at Iowa State, Anthony Johnson Jr. recently switched to safety after playing cornerback. The Cowboys have Donovan Wilson and Malik Hooker back there, but Johnson could provide some flexibility in the back end.

In his final season at Iowa State, Johnson had two interceptions and allowed just 19 receptions for 236 yards. He played more than 3,100 snaps in college.

Round 6: Marte Mapu, Safety/LB, Sacramento State

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Coming out of Sacramento State, Marte Mapu won't gain the level of notoriety he deserves but is a notable late-round prospect. He's 6-foot-3 and over 215 pounds. He played safety, but his size and ability could make him a linebacker prospect similar to Indianapolis Colts linebacker E.J. Speed.

Mapu also did well in run defense last season, too.

Round 7: Brodric Martin, DT, Western Kentucky

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The Cowboys have Johnathan Hankins at nose tackle, and he'll be a great asset to Brodric Martin. He's a massive human being at 6-foot-5, 330 pounds and a wingspan of more than 84 inches. He'll help the Cowboys' defensive line eat up some space and do his best to contain the rushing attacks of the inter-division matchups against the New York Giants, Washington Commanders and Philadelphia Eagles.

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