The Dallas Cowboys have been full of surprises this offseason.
Dallas mutually parted ways with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and retained defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. They made a total of seven new coaching changes, including Mike McCarthy now calling the plays for the Cowboys' offense.
But the surprises didn't stop there for the Cowboys. It was only the beginning of an unexpected, yet effective offseason.
They released long-time veteran Ezekiel Elliott and let Dalton Schultz walk in free agency, two moves that helped their cap situation. The Cowboys also brought back key in-house free agents in Donovan Wilson, Tony Pollard, Leighton Vander Esch, Johnathan Hankins, and Cooper Rush.
Though Dallas didn’t really sign any free agents -- outside of their own, offensive lineman Chuma Edoga and running back Ronald Jones -- it was a highly rated offseason for America’s Team. That’s because they traded for Stephon Gilmore and Brandin Cooks and all it took to acquire both veterans was two fifth-round picks and a 2024 sixth-round pick.
The Cowboys have been relatively quiet in the offseason in recent seasons, but this year has been a different story. Will the 2023 NFL Draft also be a different story?
3 possible first-round surprises for the Cowboys
3. Trading Up and Selecting Bijan Robinson
The Cowboys trading up and selecting Robinson seems like a wild fantasy. Also, add in the fact that the Cowboys have only traded up in the first three rounds once since 2014. They moved up 13 spots in the second round in 2014 to take DeMarcus Lawrence.
But Dallas also does have a history of trading up in the first round, if a player they love is still on the board.
In 2010, the Cowboys traded up from 27th to 24th to take Dez Bryant and in 2012, they moved up from 14th to 6th to take Morris Claiborne. Since the Claiborne trade up though, the Cowboys haven’t moved up in the first round in 13 years.
So, it would certainly be a surprise to see them move up and take a running back altogether. But with Elliott now gone and Pollard only on the franchise tag, the Cowboys will possibly be looking for a long-term running back replacement in the draft.
According to reports, Dallas is “obsessed” with grabbing a running back in the 2023 NFL Draft and Todd McShay of ESPN lists a potential trade-up scenario for the Cowboys to grab Robinson.
We’ve seen unexpected things happen for the Cowboys this offseason. Trading up to add a physical runner behind a great offensive line would give Dallas another offensive boost and could surprisingly happen with McCarthy wanting to run the ball more in 2023.