Re-grading the Cowboys 2023 NFL Draft class one year later

The Cowboys 2023 draft class still has a lot to prove
Dallas Cowboys, Mazi Smith
Dallas Cowboys, Mazi Smith / Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
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Ever since Will McClay took a more active role in the NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys have done well. They've hit on the majority of their first round picks and have found some gems in the middle rounds including Dak Prescott, Tony Pollard, and Tyler Biadasz who were all fourth-round selections.

2023, however, was a different story.

Dallas seemed to reach far too often and let their roster needs guide them more than usual. Let's dive in and look back at the eight selections they made and hand out a grade after one year.

Round 1, Pick 26: Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan

For years, the Cowboys have been bullied on the defensive line and they refused to use any draft capital on a nose tackle. They finally changed their minds in 2023 when they took Mazi Smith at No. 26 overall.

They believed Smith, who went into the NFL Combine at 6-foot-3 and 323 pounds, was worthy of an early selection due to his rare athletic ability. Despite his size, Smith could generate a pass rush on third downs, making him a valuable addition.

Unfortunately, they leaned too hard on his quickness — and even wanted more. Former defensive coordinator Dan Quinn had him drop weight and play the 3-tech at roughly 300 pounds. This should have shocked no one when it didn't work and it amounted to a wasted season for Smith. He should get lower than a C- but he gets the benefit of the doubt since coaches did him wrong. Hopefully, he will improve under Mike Zimmer.

Grade: C-