Cowboys 2023 NFL mock draft: Christian Gonzalez shores up secondary
By Randy Gurzi
Round 4: Keeanu Benton, DT, Wisconsin
The Cowboys know they need more power in the middle of their defensive line. They proved this when they were willing to trade for Johnathan Hankins from Las Vegas. However, Hankins is a free agent after the season and is on the wrong side of 30.
For that reason, look for the Jones family to go after someone in the draft and there might not be a better fit than Keeanu Benton. A big man at 6-foot-4 and 317 pounds, Benton is a space-eater in the middle of the line but is also athletic enough to cause problems on passing downs.
Dallas has a lot of talent on the edge and Osa Odighizuwa is a solid 3-tech. Adding Benton will help round things out and could free some of the other linemen up due to the attention he will command.
Round 5: Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, OT, Oregon
Another Oregon Duck gets his name called by Dallas as Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu is their fifth-round selection. Listed at 6-foot-6 and 331 pounds, Aumavae-Laulu is a mountain on the offensive line.
He could end up being a starter down the road but for now, he would give them some much-needed depth behind Tyler Smith and Terence Steele — as for Tyron Smith, it’s time to stop counting on him, even if the front office won’t.
Round 7: Austin Stogner, TE, South Carolina
With their final pick in this mock, the Cowboys add Austin Stogner from South Carolina. Right now, the Cowboys are really deep at tight end. Dalton Schultz is playing well after a knee injury slowed him down early on. They also have Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot, two rookies with a lot of talent.
Having said all that, there’s a chance Schultz doesn’t return due to the fact that he and the team have not seen eye-to-eye on an extension. If that happens, Ferguson and Hendershot can get the job done and Stogner would be a solid No. 3 option.