CBS Sports makes worst pick imaginable for Cowboys in recent mock draft
By Jerry Trotta
Mock draft season is alive and well as experts and prognosticators attempt to give football fans a glimpse of how the 2023 draft might might pan out. The hit rate is extremely low since the draft is a crap shoot, and the Dallas Cowboys are especially tough to predict this year given they could take the best player available.
We’re not going to pretend like we know what the Cowboys are thinking, but the roster is fairly easy to analyze after they re-signed a handful of free agents and traded for Stephon Gilmore and Brandin Cooks.
As of this writing, Dallas’ biggest remaining needs are defensive tackle, tight end, running back, and linebacker.
You could throw offensive line in there following Connor McGovern’s departure, but the Cowboys have the reinforcements in place to cobble together a starting five, though the alleged plan isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
If there’s one position — other than QB — that Dallas unequivocally shouldn’t take in the first round, it’s probably safety.
For whatever reason, that’s exactly what CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso has the Cowboys doing in the form of Alabama’s Brian Branch.
2023 NFL Draft: Alabama safety Brian Branch makes little sense for the Cowboys
This is not an anti-Branch take. His 4.61 40-yard dash at the Combine was uninspiring, and his weight (190 pounds at the Combine) would make him one of the lightest safeties to enter the league in the last three decades. Branch also placed in the 19th percentile among DBs in agility testing.
That said, Branch is as versatile as any DB in this class. He’ll have an immediate impact in nickel coverage and is experienced in man and zone schemes thanks to Nick Saban. Could he be the “best player available” when the Cowboys pick at No. 26? We suppose, but that doesn’t mean he should be the pick.
Has Trapasso forgotten how stacked Dallas is at safety?
With Donovan Wilson returning, the three-headed monster of Wilson, Jayron Kearse and Malik Hooker is back for another season. Kearse and Hooker will be out of a contract after 2023, but the Cowboys are all-in on this season. Preparing for eventual roster turnover with your first round pick when you’re clearly setting Super Bowl expectations would be franchise malpractice.
For as comfortable as Branch looked in the nickel at Alabama, the Cowboys have 2022 fifth-round pick DaRon Bland for that role. He intercepted five passes as a part-time player in Year 1. Not to mention Jourdan Lewis, who plays most of his snaps in the slot, is still under contract, and Israel Mukuamu showed real potential in the position in the playoff win over the Buccaneers.
Need we remind the people of Markquese Bell, too?
There’s a handful of reasons Branch would be a bad pick for Dallas, and it has everything to do with the current state of the roster — not the player himself.
To make Trapasso’s mock look worse, the Cowboys passed on multiple defensive linemen, including Calijah Kancey and Mazi Smith.
You simply won’t find a worse first-round pick for Dallas in any mock draft.