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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5th Round (169th) Asim Richards, OT, North Carolina ADP: 204th (-35)

The offensive line has been the bread and butter of the Dallas Cowboys' success. That's not just recently but throughout their history. With Connor McGovern leaving in free agency and injury concerns among their starters, depth was a huge need, especially adding someone with flexibility.

There is not a definitive lineup for Dallas' line. Injuries to Terrence Steele, Tyron Smith, and Matt Waletzko have the front office scrambling for stability. In the fifth round, they drafted an offensive tackle that can shift inside in North Carolina's Asim Richards.

The three-year starter was the left tackle protecting quarterback Sam Howell in 2020 & 2021 and Drake Maye this past year. That's in a Tar Heels offence that is more complicated than most college offences.

He has decent size at six feet and four inches tall, carrying 309 pounds, which is more suitable at guard than tackle. His wingspan caught much attention, leading the class with 82 ¾-inches.

PLUS: While he played most of his snaps at tackle, he started one at left guard. With the Cowboys needing depth positional flexibility, he fits the description to a tee. His long reach enables him to get on rushers first and quickly.

He has solid speed, allowing him to get to the linebackers quickly. He ran a 3.02-second 20-yard split and a 1.77-second 10-yard split. His first few steps are quick, allowing him to explode off the snap. Richards is aware of incoming blitzes and always keeps his hands ready to strike a rusher.

MINUS: He is not strong and not able to sustain his blocks. He was not at the combine, but he only benched 13 reps of 225 pounds at North Carolina's pro day. I don't expect him to break the record, but he needs to be able to have a push. He won't overpower anyone and relies on his reach and positioning.

His hands can get lost sometimes, leading to some awkward blocks. Even when he wins blocks, it looks like he is losing them. He will struggle with bull rushes and must avoid getting pushed into the quarterback.

ROLE: He needs at least two or three years to develop until he can earn a shot at a starting gig. In the meantime, the Cowboys view him as someone that can play on the left or right, at guard or tackle, likely specializing at left guard and helping out on special teams.

I love the position flexibility, and I can see the potential, but he is not playable right now. Then again, he is a fifth-round lineman. The developmental depth piece was a crucial need and is filled.'s Chad Reuter had him mocked at 159th, but CBS' Chris Trapasso had Robinson going undrafted.