The Dallas Cowboys are up in the 2023 Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft, where you, the commenter, act as general manager in our site-wide mock draft.
It’s been an eventful offseason for the Cowboys, specifically on the offensive side of the ball. Ezekiel Elliott is gone after being a cap casualty, but Dallas invested at receiver, trading for Brandin Cooks early in the offseason.
But despite the flashy moves, Dallas remains a team that has struggled to get over the proverbial hunt. They’ve regularly been one of the better regular season teams, but they’ve won just four playoff games since 1997 and haven’t reached a single conference championship game since they won the Super Bowl in 1995.
To help them reach that next level, commenter 1951Lion is picking for the Cowboys in our mock draft. Before we get to their pick, catch up on the previous 25 selections with our 2023 Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft tracker.
And with the 26th pick in the POD Community Mock, the Dallas Cowboys have selected Brian Branch, defensive back out of Alabama.
Here is 1951Lion with an explanation for the pick:
“The Cowboys released Ezekiel Elliott after franchise tagging Tony Pollard. If they don’t strike a deal with Pollard by July 15, playing on the tag will cost $10.9 million this year, and they will have to negotiate his upcoming contract in 2024. Keeping Zeke would have been far more costly than drafting Jahmyr Gibbs, who is available 26th overall, and having Gibbs for the five-year contract would be terrific.
“There are many reasons for the Cowboys to draft a running back in 2023, and Gibbs has very good hands, along with a great style of cutting and hitting the open holes.
“But he’s not the only need the Cowboys are lacking, The receiver room lost Dalton Schultz and a few others, but they brought in Brandon Cooks. CeeDee Lamb will be there, but he could use some help after Gallup came back from an ACL tear and struggled somewhat. This is the perfect spot for Zay Flowers, seeing as Jordan Addison, Jalin Hyatt, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba are all off the board.
“The need is there on the offensive line for a player, but the value of Steve Avila—the best lineman left—is a little steep. He’s clearly a second-round pick or lower unless you’re desperate.
“Which brings us to the 26th pick of the Dallas Cowboys. The Dallas Cowboys select Brian Branch defensive back from Alabama. Branch can play all across the backfield and rush the passer.
“He’s just as quick in his thinking as he is with his feet. His 4.58 40 time, doesn’t match up with some of the fastest backs, but his 22.3 mph on the GPS System shows he can get up and move.
“He stays low in his backpedal and can close quickly, breaking up plays in front and to the sides of him. He’s also an outstanding tackler who is built to lay on some meat while being able to squat 565 pounds. Branch is 6-foot and 194 pounds of defensive back.
“He’s a very multi-talented player, who can play in the box, as a strong safety, corner, nickel, or even deep free safety.”
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