Amari Cooper is gone. Cedrick Wilson is gone. Blake Jarwin is gone. Michael Gallup is recovering from a torn ACL and may not play in the first couple of games. The collection of Dallas Cowboys pass-catching targets looks drastically different than it did just a few short months ago.
Because of this, many analysts are skyrocketing wide receiver up the ladder to one of the Cowboys’ greatest needs in the draft. The Cowboys DO need a pass catcher. They DON’T have to go the route of a wide receiver, though.
I am here to say don’t be surprised if they choose to revamp Dak Prescott’s collection of targets in a different way. Sure, the team re-signed Jeremy Sprinkle. But the reality is that there is more depth needed at tight end. Dalton Schultz can’t do it alone. Let’s look at a potential sleeper pick.
Dallas Cowboys Draft Profile: Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State
Who is Trey McBride?
Weight: 246 lbs.
40-Yard Dash: 4.53-4.56
2021 Stats: 90 receptions, 1,121 yards, 1 TD (six 100+ yard receiving games in 2021)
NCAA Career Stats: 164 receptions, 2,100 yards, 10 TDs
Trey McBride accounted for 37% of Colorado State’s receiving production last year. He had as many yards as the second, third, and fourth leading receivers combined. In an offense that finished the year completing less than 60% of their passing attempts, McBride continued to find a way to produce even when everyone and their mother knew he was where they wanted to go.
The game that stands out to me is his performance against the Iowa Hawkeyes. On the road in a hostile Kinnick Stadium, McBride went up against the 17th best overall defense and No. 1 defense in the country in total interceptions.
McBride was shadowed by Iowa’s secondary, which features four individuals who are projected to be on NFL rosters next season, and put up 6 receptions for 59 yards. It wasn’t his season-high in either, but it was his best output in my opinion in terms of who he did it against.
Why Trey McBride is a good fit for the Dallas Cowboys
With proven output against the top level in college, McBride checks all of the boxes in what a team looks for in the modern-day tight end. He is tall, he has a big build, and he can run in a way that puts a ton of stress on opponents’ secondaries as a huge mismatch.
More than anything, McBride also makes sense for the Cowboys’ offensive scheme. Last season, we saw Dallas continue to put Dalton Schultz in the slot and be very steady and reliable for Prescott between the hash marks. McBride would add another big target to look for while also bringing a bit more of a vertical attack than Schultz.
Losing Jarwin leaves the Cowboys extremely thin at the tight end position. Behind Schultz, the Cowboys remaining tight ends have 41 combined receptions in their career. Plus, as of right now, Schultz is only playing on the franchise tag for one year, so this could be a great opportunity to bring in McBride and let him learn for a year and take over if Schultz ends up walking.
Toss in the Colorado State connection (where Michael Gallup went) and the Cowboys front office has a relationship built there. As we have seen with Boise State and Ohio State, the Cowboys like to draft from certain schools for some reason. While this is not a huge storyline, it is worth monitoring.
Where to draft Trey McBride
There are a few trains of thought here for the Cowboys. As it stands right now, McBride is currently projected to go somewhere in the middle of round two. The first way to get McBride is simply reaching for him at pick 24. That is a little rich for my taste, but I wouldn’t necessarily hate the pick.
I do think there are better ways to get him, though. The first option is to hold tight at pick 56 and hope McBride falls towards the end of round two as teams make a run on wide receivers in a class that is loaded with depth.
The most likely way I would go get McBride is to send the sixth-round pick Dallas received from the Browns for Amari Cooper to the Seahawks for their 40th overall pick. Swap second-round picks and give them the sixth-rounder to climb up to the early part of round two to secure tight end depth.
The Seahawks received tight end Noah Fant in return for Russell Wilson in the blockbuster trade. They are set at tight end and gaining an extra pick may just be enough to entice a team entering a rebuild.
This allows the Cowboys to add the best player available in round one, preferably an edge rusher or the best offensive lineman available. If the Cowboys can pull off these two moves in the first two rounds, it would instantly add two immediate contributors to the roster and fill some much-needed roster gaps.