Analyzing the Cowboys 2023 draft class and their possible roles

2023 NFL Draft - Rounds 2-3
2023 NFL Draft - Rounds 2-3 / David Eulitt/GettyImages
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2nd Round (58th) Luke Schoonmaker, TE, Michigan ADP: 110th (-52)

Tight end is one of the most underrated positions in the NFL right now. The Cowboys were blessed to have the transition of future Hall of Famer Jason Witten to a borderline Pro Bowler in Dalton Schultz, but the latter's departure in free agency put the position in question.

On the roster are two youngsters, Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot, who showed promise in taking over as a tandem. Both were rookies last season, but the Cowboys decided to add another promising youngster at that position despite that.

Ironically, second-round pick Luke Schoonmaker, the new rookie, is older than Ferguson and Hendershot. It's weird calling the players younger than him the "veterans" of the group, but that's what we have here.

The Cowboys love versatility, and they don't get much more versatile than him. He was featured heavily in the Wolverines' offence as both a receiver and a blocker. His best season, by far, was his most recent. He played in 12 games catching 35 passes for 418 yards and three touchdowns.

PLUS: Versatility in an offence that can kill teams on the ground and in the air mean Schoonmaker can always be on the field. He is an athletic freak, earning a 9.86 RAS. That's highlighted by his 6.81-second three-cone and 4.63-second 40-yard dash despite standing at six feet and five inches tall.

As a receiver, he is a solid route-runner that can get separation and will find some soft spots in zone coverage. As a run blocker, he is great at utilizing angles and leverage to clear the way both in tight and as a lead blocker.

MINUS: While good at many things, he is not great at anything. He must be more consistent to earn a larger role in the offence. He does not break tackles, reminding me of Jason Witten running with the ball. One tackler can bring him down despite his big frame, largely because he slows down into contact.

Schoonmaker is not the strongest tight end and will not overpower defenders. He relies on technique and must build muscle to more securely block against bigger defensive linemen or linebackers.

ROLE: It will likely be a rotation between the three tight ends, with Ferguson getting the lead snaps to start the season; however, Schoonmaker will get his opportunity to carve out a larger role as he proves himself. He will also be the primary run-blocking tight end, seeing snaps on play actions.

Schoonmaker was a very stable prospect but more of a third-round pick. Much like the Mazi Smith selection, interest from other teams could have scared them into drafting the tight end when they did. After all, the Jacksonville Jaguars drafted a tight end only three picks later, and three tight ends were picked at the top of the round.

CBS' Chris Trapasso mocked Schoonmaker to be drafted 164th, the fifth round; meanwhile, PFF mocked him to be drafted 84th. That's quite the reach from 58th, but the Cowboys' front office clearly loves his versatility, athleticism, and football IQ. The reach and being good, not great at anything, worries me, though.