Cowboys take potential Stephon Gilmore replacement in new ESPN 2024 mock draft

Don't be shocked if the Cowboys target a cornerback in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.
Florida Gators cornerback Jason Marshall Jr. (3) picks off a an LSU pass as Florida looses 45-35 at
Florida Gators cornerback Jason Marshall Jr. (3) picks off a an LSU pass as Florida looses 45-35 at / Alan Youngblood / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Dallas Cowboys secondary is perhaps the deepest position group on the roster. Even if you isolate the cornerback and safety positions, both units flaunt multiple Pro Bowl talents.

In the back end of the secondary, Donovan Wilson, Jayron Kearse and Malik Hooker form the best safety trio the NFL has to offer.

At cornerback, Trevon Diggs and Stephon Gilmore are maybe the best starting tandem in the game, while DaRon Bland produced five interceptions as a rookie and Jourdan Lewis is established as a respected presence in the nickel.

The only caveat? The unit could experience a lot of turnover after 2023, as Diggs, Gilmore, Kearse, Hooker and Lewis are all in contract years.

It's anyone's guess who in that group will be back, but Gilmore feels like safe bet to play out his contract and leave after the season.

ESPN's Jordan Reid certainly feels that way, as he was Dallas taking Gilmore's possible replacement in Florida product Jason Marshall Jr. in his initial 2024 Mock Draft.

Will the Cowboys target a cornerback in first round of 2024 NFL Draft?

Depending on what happens with Terence Steele and Tyler Biadasz, offensive line could be a possibility for the Cowboys. The same argument can be made for running back given Tony Pollard is currently slated to play out 2023 on the franchise tag if he and Dallas can't agree to an extension by the July 17 deadline.

For now, though, cornerback is the right call by Reid.

"Stephon Gilmore — who is turning 33 and entering the final year of his contract — doesn’t seem to be in the Cowboys’ long-term plans, and Trevon Diggs is likely to become expensive in the near future. That is to say the Cowboys may be relying on drafting well in the secondary behind Diggs. At 6-foot-1 and 198 pounds, Marshall’s length causes issues for opponents in man coverage. However, he lacks ball production (only two career interceptions), and scouts want to see him make a bigger impact on passes in the air next season."

What Marshall might lack in ball production up until this point he makes up for with length, which allowed him to break up eight passes last year. For the season, he made 25 tackles and allowed an opponent passer rating of 74.7 when targeted, which is impressive given the receiver talent that resides in the SEC.

It's impossible to say if Marshall will be an option for the Cowboys. But given his current projection and where Dallas is expected to pick next year -- somewhere in the mid-to-late 20s if everything goes according to plan -- there's a small chance the Florida Gator becomes the next secondary weapon for Dan Quinn.

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