Cowboys News: New QB for rookie camp, high hopes for Mazi, hole remains at LG?
As the Cowboys prep for rookie minicamp, one important position had been left undecided. Until now. We’ve got news on the dual-threat quarterback who’ll be getting a tryout alongside the rookie class in Dallas. We’ll also explain why Mazi Smith is actually a perfect fit in the Dallas defense, how Luke Schoonmaker could be set to rewrite the narrative surrounding him, and what next-gen video tracking has to say about some of Deuce Vaughn’s otherworldly abilities. We’ve got details on what two Cowboys rookies do better than just about everybody, and we’re taking a hard look at the one gaping hole left in the roster.
Elsewhere, rankings for the Cowboys wide receiving corps are looking up, and a former NFL coach loves what he sees on the other side of the ball in Dallas. All that, plus how a largely-unheralded pickup in March completely altered the way the Cowboys war room went with their first-round draft pick. That’s all ahead in this edition of News and Notes.
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Former Elon quarterback Matthew McKay will throw in Cowboys’ rookie minicamp :: ProFootballTalk
While the Cowboys chose not to draft a quarterback, they still needed to find an arm for their rookie-only minicamp. They’re giving a tryout to McKay, who completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,690 yards with 21 touchdowns and four interceptions in 2022. He also added 458 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. McKay attended North Carolina State and Montana State before finishing his college career at Elon.
NFL writer says this Cowboys' position group is one of the league's best :: A to Z Sports
ESPN’s Mike Clay ranks the Cowboys wide receiver unit as the fifth-best in football. In his depth chart projections, he has Jalen Tolbert and KaVontae Turpin as the fourth and fifth options behind CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks, and Michael Gallup.
Cowboys rookie class features 2 of nation's Top 5 in key defensive stat :: Cowboys Wire
Fourth-round draft pick Viliami Fehoko finished 2022 with the fifth-most tackles for loss in the nation. Durrell Johnson led the country with 27.5 TFLs but went undrafted entirely. Both look to continue their backfield invasions for a Cowboys defense that ranked third in the league in tackles for loss last season, with four players registering double digits in the category.
Deuce Vaughn tops Dallas Cowboys draft class’ in-game athleticism, 3rd among drafted RBs :: Fort Worth Star-Telegram
A Fort Worth sports tech and data company measures athleticism by issuing athletes an In-Game Athleticism (IGA) Score derived from position-specific metrics, extracted by video tracking technology. New Cowboys running back Deuce Vaughn scored a 96.7; that’s tops among the team’s entire draft class and third out of all drafted running backs, behind only Bijan Robinson and Tank Bigsby. A company spokesperson noted Vaughn’s “elite” change-of-direction time and “high-end” breakaway speed.
Cowboys rookie Luke Schoonmaker has ample opportunity to show out :: Cowboys Wire
The Cowboys drew a fair share of criticism to start the draft’s second day. Labeled a reach by some, Schoonmaker was generally regarded as a high-floor run-blocker who didn’t offer much in the passing game. But that may be more a product of the run-heavy offense favored by Michigan. The Cowboys believe he’ll “affect the passing game” and possibly reset the narrative surrounding him.
2023 NFL Draft: The best NFL player/scheme fits in the first round :: Touchdown Wire
The Cowboys used a lot of stunts last season to create confusion for opposing offensive lines, but also to try to make up for a lacking interior defensive line. Smith now plugs a high-quality tackle into that equation; twelve of his 25 QB pressures last year came on a stunt, and soon he’ll be on the same D-line as Micah Parsons.
Ranking the top 5 NFL defenses after 2023 draft :: The 33rd Team
Former Colts coach Chuck Pagano calls Dallas the fourth-best defense in the league after the draft. He likes the Mazi Smith pick, comparing him to Dontari Poe or Haloti Ngata: “He’s going to command double teams, and he’ll hold the point.” The Stephon Gilmore add was significant, he says, but the Cowboys’ top move defensively was retaining Dan Quinn as coordinator.
What role did Chuma Edoga have in Cowboys’ selection of Mazi Smith at No. 26 overall? :: Dallas Morning News
Will McClay suggested that if the Cowboys had not signed Edoga at the end of March, the war room discussion about whether to draft an offensive lineman or the defensive tackle out of Michigan in the first round might have gone differently. Edoga’s presence allowed Dallas to “draft pure” when they went on the clock with the 26th pick.
The Cowboys have one more glaring need to address :: D Magazine
Outside of Zack Martin, the Cowboys’ guard room is Edoga, Matt Farniok, Josh Ball, and fifth-round pick Asim Richards. None of them are starting-caliber players; some of them might not even be backup-caliber. As presently constructed, Dallas needs to let Tyler Smith or Terence Steele play left guard, and just hope for the best with Tyron Smith. Then, when Tyron Smith inevitably goes down, figure it out from there. That’s exactly what they did last year, leaving a starting spot hinging on the hopes of rookies and backups switching positions.
Former Cowboys OL Cameron Erving re-signs with Carolina :: Adam Schefter (Twitter)
Former first-round pick Cam Erving, who spent the past two seasons in Carolina, is re-signing with the Panthers on a one-year deal, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 9, 2023