McClay breaks down each draft pick

Risen Star

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To give you a better feel for why the Cowboys picked the eight players they did, here are some of Will McClay’s thoughts on each one.

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First round, No. 26: Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan

A behind-the-scenes look at the Cowboys discussing their first-round pick while they were on the clock last Thursday night was included in a video on the team’s website. The final decision came down to Smith and an offensive guard. TCU’s Steve Avila and Syracuse’s Matthew Bergeron were the next two guards drafted. Avila went 36th overall to the Rams. Bergeron went 38th to the Falcons. When Cowboys owner Jerry Jones asked McClay for his opinion, McClay said that he would go with Smith, an interior defensive lineman who the team hadn’t had ranked that high “in quite some time.”

“When (head coach Mike McCarthy) came in here he talked about building a bigger, stronger, faster football team,” McClay said. “We have continued to do that, and when you look at Mazi, teams run the football now and you see things change. You look at our division, he’s a guy that can stop that, a guy that adds value to our defense as well. I think there is an ability to rush the passer. You watch the Michigan tape, he is playing in a flat stance, doesn’t get after the passer. Well, you change things up, you put him with (defensive coordinator Dan Quinn) and (defensive line coach Aden Durde) within our defense, not only can he stop the run, but we feel like there is upside in rushing the passer as well, and being a disruptive force.”

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Second round, No. 58 overall: Luke Schoonmaker, TE, Michigan

This pick was questioned because Florida offensive guard O’Cyrus Torrence was still available. The Cowboys went with the tight end who most mock drafts projected as a third-round pick. Torrence went with the next pick to the Bills. What was most intriguing about Schoonmaker?

“The fact that he played at Michigan,” McClay said. “The No. 1 thing at Michigan is they’re going to run the football. If you’re a tight end with a team that’s going to run the football, and you’re a point-of-attack guy, then you know the requirements and how to physically make the conscious decision to put your body on somebody else and block them. It’s a lost art in this day and age with people playing with all these space players, the undersized tight end and doing those things. Well, in the NFL, we’re looking for a guy that can do some (Y tight end) responsibilities. We know that he can do that because it’s on tape."

“But then you also look at his size, speed, athleticism and what we think he can add to the passing game as well, that was a very attractive thing in picking him. We know what we’re going to get in the run game. We know he knows how to do that. He will get better with coaching from (tight ends coach Lunda Wells). Looking for that ceiling to be really, really high, but also very excited to see what he can bring to us in the passing game.”

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Third round, No. 90 overall: DeMarvion Overshown, LB, Texas

The Cowboys think he’ll immediately be able to help on special teams and become a valuable piece they can move around on defense.

“When you talk about looking for a player, you talk about the linebacker position and what it takes to play linebacker in our defense,” McClay said. “In the NFL, you have to cover running backs and you have to cover tight ends. You have to be able to blitz, and you have to play all over the field. You play with two linebackers mostly a lot now with the sub-defenses, and so you have to do a number of different things and then also have to contribute on fourth down and love to play the game. You watch this dude play, you turn on the tape, and it shows he loves to play the game of football.”
 

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Fourth round, No. 129 overall: Viliami Fehoko, DL, San Jose State

He played as an edge rusher in college but the Cowboys think he also has the ability to play tackle, somewhat similar to Chauncey Golston. What did they like about Fehoko?

“His ability to get after the quarterback and make big plays,” McClay said. “You look at his stats, you look at his production, you look at the tape. He does some unique things in getting edges, winning, attacking the football when he goes after the quarterback. He’s got a mission when he gets off on the snap, he gets off on the ball and he makes big plays.”

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Fifth round, No. 169 overall: Asim Richards, OL, North Carolina

Left guard was arguably the team’s biggest need entering the draft. They did not pick a college guard after debating on the possibility in the first round. Richards, a left tackle in college, could see snaps at both guard and tackle.

“He’ll get work at both spots,” McClay said, “And I think that is extremely valuable in the NFL at this point because there are 32 teams and 32 teams have eight offensive linemen, plus whatever on the practice squad. I would tell you that there are not enough quality, quality offensive linemen to go around for 32 teams.

“We typically like to take tackles and move them into guards because tackles are usually your best athletes, that way you have an athletic offensive line. That’s not to say we won’t draft a guard and have him play guard or draft a center to play center. But you look at doing things that way because of the versatility.”

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Sixth round, No. 178 overall: Eric Scott Jr., CB, Southern Miss

This was arguably the Cowboys’ biggest surprise pick because they traded a fifth-round pick next year to get this selection at the top of the round from the Chiefs. He was one of the Cowboys’ official 30 pre-draft visitors. The other teams he visited included the Buccaneers, Saints, Colts and Vikings. There were questions about his speed after he suffered a quad injury during his pro day workout.

“When you go to those pro days you look at that stuff and you want to see all the movement and all the things to confirm what you see on tape,” McClay said. “But you also want to see who the guys are. Well, you go run the 40 and he pulls his quad in like the first couple of steps and then he finishes it out. So there were concerns about his speed or questions because we didn’t have a confirmed time. They sent (video of a private workout), but we also had other information that tells us how fast he plays, so we were secure in his time and how well he played. But that clip they sent, sent a little bit more confirmation that we were right on that.”

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Sixth round, No. 212 overall: Deuce Vaughn, RB, Kansas State

This pick was one of the biggest stories of the draft because it pairs Vaughn with his father, Chris Vaughn, the team’s assistant director of college scouting. The draft room video of Chris getting emotional when Jones told him his son was going to be the pick made for some of the best TV anyone could have imagined.

“You can run your offense with him,” McClay said. “He ran between the tackles in high school. He ran between the tackles in college. He was very productive. He can make plays in space. He can do a number of different things for you. There are a lot of specialty pieces in the NFL. It’s not your typical old-school football. Now you have guys coming in and they will run the wildcat. The game is changing and evolving and you have to change and evolve with it. Deuce is a player that had success at a very high level.

“The No. 1 pick in the draft (Alabama QB Bryce Young) and the kid with phenomenal spacial awareness and feel and point guard (ability), he’s an undersized quarterback that would’ve never gotten picked (that high) five years ago. So, you talk about the evolution of the game. Size is (Young’s) limitation, but not his heart, not his ability, all those things, and the same goes for Deuce.”

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Seventh round, No. 244 overall: Jalen Brooks, WR, South Carolina

The Cowboys made this pick in hopes of finding some depth behind CeeDee Lamb, Cooks and Michael Gallup. They have also agreed to terms with four undrafted free-agent wide receivers.

“He’s a guy that can play inside or outside,” McClay said. “Incredible journey to get to where he is. And to get here, you know that achieving part is in him and you know there’s more upside to him.”
 

Risen Star

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What's funny is he talks about having to evolve with the game when he breaks down Deuce but in the Schoonmaker breakdown he says the TEs they look for are mostly a lost art in this day and age of space players.

Which is it, Will? Or are you just full of ****?
 

btgboys41

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What's funny is he talks about having to evolve with the game when he breaks down Deuce but in the Schoonmaker breakdown he says the TEs they look for are mostly a lost art in this day and age of space players.

Which is it, Will? Or are you just full of ****?
1000 likes earned with that one. They spend so much energy in justification and PR mode that they can’t keep their stories straight. It’s not quite the “we score too much” but it’s still a fairly profound contradiction.
 

cnuball21

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The comp for Fehoko I heard that makes the most sense to me is Michael Bennett. A sort of high level utility d-lineman across the line.

Fehoko’s athleticism is not great for EDGE, but has advantages inside.
Makes sense.

I would’ve drafted Murphy in the 1st and let him play that role and targeted my DT later.
 

CouchCoach

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Are other Directors of Player Personnel trying to justify the picks?

They seem a little overreactive to some criticism for the picks. But this is the team that their GM snapped and tried to show the board as proof of the pick.

The owner is on his radio show telling everyone Parsons was always the pick while his son was on his own telling everyone it was either Horn or Surtain.

They'd be better off just going about their business and stop trying to spin everything to the media......like the other 31 teams don't try to do.

Not everyone thinks it was a poor draft, they really don't have to try and spin anything. We will all know soon enough.
 

jterrell

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Are other Directors of Player Personnel trying to justify the picks?

They seem a little overreactive to some criticism for the picks. But this is the team that their GM snapped and tried to show the board as proof of the pick.

The owner is on his radio show telling everyone Parsons was always the pick while his son was on his own telling everyone it was either Horn or Surtain.

They'd be better off just going about their business and stop trying to spin everything to the media......like the other 31 teams don't try to do.

Not everyone thinks it was a poor draft, they really don't have to try and spin anything. We will all know soon enough.
Yes. Every team in the league does this.
McClay is a top 5 GM so has no reason to truly worry in any fashion about this draft class.

But again yes every college coach loves his recruiting class and every GM loves his draft class.
 

Stash

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What's funny is he talks about having to evolve with the game when he breaks down Deuce but in the Schoonmaker breakdown he says the TEs they look for are mostly a lost art in this day and age of space players.

Which is it, Will? Or are you just full of ****?
I know what he’s saying but I understand what you’re saying as well. It’s almost like he wants to have it both ways.
 

Stash

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The comp for Fehoko I heard that makes the most sense to me is Michael Bennett. A sort of high level utility d-lineman across the line.

Fehoko’s athleticism is not great for EDGE, but has advantages inside.
I listened to part of the Draft Show crew’s interview with him. The new D-line assistant coach Floyd was in studio and he quickly mentioned the plan is to put additional weight on him to eventually move him inside to 3T.
 

Stash

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Are other Directors of Player Personnel trying to justify the picks?

They seem a little overreactive to some criticism for the picks. But this is the team that their GM snapped and tried to show the board as proof of the pick.

The owner is on his radio show telling everyone Parsons was always the pick while his son was on his own telling everyone it was either Horn or Surtain.

They'd be better off just going about their business and stop trying to spin everything to the media......like the other 31 teams don't try to do.

Not everyone thinks it was a poor draft, they really don't have to try and spin anything. We will all know soon enough.
Their problem is that they’re wannabe celebrities who can’t resist an opportunity to talk.
 

fivetwos

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The comp for Fehoko I heard that makes the most sense to me is Michael Bennett. A sort of high level utility d-lineman across the line.

Fehoko’s athleticism is not great for EDGE, but has advantages inside.
Shariff Floyd said they are looking at him as a 3 tech. That’s sounds about right to me with that body type.

I kinda get the vibe he will be one of those guys that needs a year or so to grow into a role effectively, but should be part of certain nickel rush packages right away. This team has some pretty good pass rushers and depth thereof.
 

KingintheNorth

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Are other Directors of Player Personnel trying to justify the picks?

They seem a little overreactive to some criticism for the picks. But this is the team that their GM snapped and tried to show the board as proof of the pick.

The owner is on his radio show telling everyone Parsons was always the pick while his son was on his own telling everyone it was either Horn or Surtain.

They'd be better off just going about their business and stop trying to spin everything to the media......like the other 31 teams don't try to do.

Not everyone thinks it was a poor draft, they really don't have to try and spin anything. We will all know soon enough.
The Cowboys tend to react like the North Korean minister of propaganda after losses and the draft.


Dear Leader Jones was the smartest and most powerful General Manager, convincing the NFL that he wanted Dalton Kincaid, fooling the silly Bills into making an unnecessary trade.

Then Great Jerry drafted the most powerful Nose Tackle who everyone in league agreed had a top 13 grade in all of the draft. Even NBA teams admitted they were considering drafting Mazi Smith.

In the 2nd round, NFL super executive Jones, who has the mind of a 22-year-old Ivy League valedictorian and an IQ that cannot be quantified, fooled the whole league again taking a Tight End earlier than any team expected. This was not at all any admission that they missed their intended first round Tight End target.

After each one of the Cowboys picks, the other NFL teams congratulated Dear Leader Jones in a group chat. Each team admitted they were about to draft the players the Cowboys selected. 5-time Super Bowl champion Bill Belichick jumped into the chat stating he was still upset that the Cowboys drafted Jaylon Smith in 2016 before he was able to. Great General Manager Jerry Jones was immediately awarded the 2024 Lombardi trophy and seventy billion dollars since the National Football League would not exist without him.
 

cnuball21

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I don't really believe that they want to run the ball any more than they have, but to keep bringing it up and not do more at RB is weird to me, unless they are really big believers in Davis.
Yea, could be a smoke screen.

Ole GB Mike use to run 11 personnel quite a bit with 3+ WRs but he’s saying he wants to run more…but didn’t draft a RB earlier lol.

I guess time will tell.
 

rambo2

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What's funny is he talks about having to evolve with the game when he breaks down Deuce but in the Schoonmaker breakdown he says the TEs they look for are mostly a lost art in this day and age of space players.

Which is it, Will? Or are you just full of ****?
Will has a history of being outstanding.
 

rambo2

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The Cowboys tend to react like the North Korean minister of propaganda after losses and the draft.


Dear Leader Jones was the smartest and most powerful General Manager, convincing the NFL that he wanted Dalton Kincaid, fooling the silly Bills into making an unnecessary trade.

Then Great Jerry drafted the most powerful Nose Tackle who everyone in league agreed had a top 13 grade in all of the draft. Even NBA teams admitted they were considering drafting Mazi Smith.

In the 2nd round, NFL super executive Jones, who has the mind of a 22-year-old Ivy League valedictorian and an IQ that cannot be quantified, fooled the whole league again taking a Tight End earlier than any team expected. This was not at all any admission that they missed their intended first round Tight End target.

After each one of the Cowboys picks, the other NFL teams congratulated Dear Leader Jones in a group chat. Each team admitted they were about to draft the players the Cowboys selected. 5-time Super Bowl champion Bill Belichick jumped into the chat stating he was still upset that the Cowboys drafted Jaylon Smith in 2016 before he was able to. Great General Manager Jerry Jones was immediately awarded the 2024 Lombardi trophy and seventy billion dollars since the National Football League would not exist without him.
They have been one of the best drafting teams in the league period.
 
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