With the 2022 season wrapped up for the Dallas Cowboys, their attention will now be on free agency and the NFL Draft. Starting with free agency, the team will have their hands full as they have 22 players on the free agent market, and the front office will have to pick wisely on who they bring back.
While we don't know yet who could be departing from the team, there is one thing we do know currently. And that's personnel groups who need help either through free agency or in the draft.
For me, those two groups are cornerback and wide receiver.
Starting with wideout, we saw Wide Reciever CeeDee Lamb put on a clinic this year. But when he wasn't open, who stepped up? Yes, there were games where you got WRs Noah Brown or T.Y. Hilton making a play, but they weren't consistent.
Even WR Michael Gallup, who many had high hopes about, didn't look like his usual self, and now many fans are advocating for the front office to either sign, trade, or draft another receiver this offseason.
Jumping to cornerback, there was some optimism around this unit for an early part of the season, but injuries would hinder their group, and subpar play across the board would hurt the overall defense.
Even CB Trevon Diggs had his inconsistencies, and if he wasn't making plays, then the whole group was exposed.
While CB DaRon Bland stepped up late, beyond those two, it was evident that the team had no one else they could trust in coverage.
So with that in mind, I picked two guys the team could draft that can help in these groups.
To clarify, I'm not labeling these players as lifesavers. However, they can elevate the talent level.
1. CB Joey Porter Jr. — Penn State
If you had to ask me what one university the Cowboys love drafting from, it would have to be Penn State. From Sean Lee to Micah Parsons and Connor McGovern, I feel like if there are any former Nittany Lions in the draft, they are always linked to America's Team.
Well, enter Cornerback Joey Porter Jr. — another Nittany Lion.
At 6'2, Porter Jr. is a guy that Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn would love to get his hands on because of his length. Compared to Cornerback Marlon Humphrey by the Draft Network, Porter Jr. could be a guy that can seamlessly slide into their number two corner spot in year one.
It wouldn't be surprising to see Porter Jr. rise up draft boards if he were to perform well in testing, but the Cowboys should have their eyes on him in the first round.
Plus, he has NFL bloodlines as his dad Joey Porter played for the Pittsburgh Steelers a while ago, and teams love those traits.
Even if Porter Jr. isn't there, there are many talented corners in this draft, and the team needs to ensure they target someone as CB Kelvin Joseph hasn't shown promise, CB Anthony Brown is a free agent (and will be returning from an Achilles injury), and CB Jourdan Lewis is returning from injury too.
Arguably the top CB in the NFL Draft, Joey Porter Jr @jjporter_1, is one of my favorites in the draft.
6'2 198lbs, he possesses elite length paired with some of the smoother hip transitioning in the class. Best part he's just scratching the surface
— Jared Tokarz (@JaredNFLDraft) January 5, 2023
2. WR Josh Downs — North Carolina
As mentioned above, the Cowboys desperately needed help in the wide receiver room when Lamb wasn't getting the ball. Another issue they had was they had no one that possessed elite speed.
So, let's solve their issue and target North Carolina Wide Reciever Josh Downs.
At 5'10, some fans may be turned off by his height instantly. However, despite his lack of size, Downs is a receiver that can win you contested catches, as he leads all WR draft prospects in contested receptions.
Downs' best traits have to be his speed and YAC.
Those two traits right there should have the front office licking their chops, as the more weapons you have, the more likely you are to succeed.
When Running Back Tony Pollard got injured and knocked out of the game against the San Francisco 49ers, the only explosive player the team had left on offense was Lamb.
With Downs, you are adding another player who can get you those splash plays.
You can slide Gallup as a WR3 and hope he returns to his former self; a lineup of Lamb-Downs-Gallup is better on paper than this past season.
Additionally, if you don't want to throw the rookie in the fire so quickly, it wouldn't hurt if the franchise strives to add veteran options via trade or in free agency.
Nonetheless, Downs or another wide receiver like Zay Flowers at Pick 26 wouldn't be a horrible choice. Investing in young talent is always good, and they can push last year's wide receiver draftee Jalen Tolbert to improve.