The evaluation process leading up to the 2024 NFL Draft is still in the baby stages, but each and every one of us still have favorite prospects we would absolutely love to see end up with the Dallas Cowboys. It’s part of the reason why the draft process is so much fun. Everybody gets to compare notes and share who they’d like to see wearing the star in the not-too-distant future.
With that in mind, here are some way-too-early favorites for the Cowboys to add on the defensive side of the ball. These selections are based on the Cowboys current roster needs and how each prospect fits the parameters the organization typically goes by. That’s to hopefully make it as realistic as possible, plus it makes it a little bit more challenging.
EDGE – Chop Robinson, Penn State
Micah Parsons 2.0? Probably not, but Chop Robinson is arguably the most twitched-up pass rusher in the entire 2024 draft class. His first step explosiveness, bend, and ability to convert speed into power gave offensive tackles fits during his time at Penn State and there’s no reason to believe his game won’t translate at the next level either.
While the Cowboys roster “needs” may force them to go a different direction in the early portion of the 2024 NFL Draft, the best player available approach could land them another stud pass rusher. Adding him to the mix with Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Sam Williams could give Dallas the most fearsome pass rush they’ve ever had.
iDL – Braden Fiske, Florida State (6’5″, 297)
It’s no secret the Dallas Cowboys could stand to upgrade their defensive front along the interior, especially with Jonathan Hankins and Neville Gallimore both possibly exiting via free agency. Hopefully Mazi Smith can rebound after a rather disappointing rookie season, but Dallas would be unwise to depend on that alone. An upgrade is needed.
Braden Fiske isn’t going to win any popularity contest, however, he could be just the type of DT prospect the Cowboys defense needs. His relentless motor and “I want it more” attitude could be infectious throughout the rest the defense. He’s also alignment versatile as a 1- or 3-tech and possesses the strength, power, explosiveness and energy to play right away.
LB – Payton Wilson, NC State (6’4″, 238)
The Cowboys linebacker position was hit pretty hard with injuries last year and their current depth heading into the offseason doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence either. They do have last year’s third-round draft pick DeMarvion Overshown returning after his season-ending injury which will help, but more depth and potential upgrades are still necessary.
If not for his lengthy injury history, Payton Wilson would more than likely be the top-ranked LB prospect in the 2024 draft class. He is a tall, lengthy player who is as comfortable playing downhill and in coverage as an off-ball LB as he is putting his hand in the dirt as a pass rusher. His versatility and tackling ability would immediately upgrade Dallas’ LB corps.
NFL Draft ‘24#NCState LB Payton Wilson might end up being the biggest steal at LB
6’4 238 4.49 36 inch vert
Former NC state champion wrestler
69 tackles 22 hurries 6 sacks 3 INTs in 2023
— Jared Tokarz (@JaredNFLDraft) January 16, 2024
CB – Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo (6’0″, 196)
The Dallas Cowboys look to have plenty of depth at cornerback heading into the offseason, but only DaRon Bland and Trevon Diggs – who will be coming back off of a season-ending knee injury – can be depended on as starters. Upgrading the CB position could be one of the Cowboys underrated roster “needs” heading into the 2024 NFL Draft.
Quinyon Mitchell is an elite athlete who is fluid with his movements and might just be the best ball hawk in the entire 2024 draft class. He’s instinctive in coverage and has the versatility to play on the outside or in the slot. Add him to the mix with Trevon Diggs and DaRon Bland and Dallas could possibly have the best young, talented CB trio in the league.
Excited to watch #Toledo CB Quinyon Mitchell at the Senior Bowl. He has some of the best plant, drive and finish abilities of any corner in this class. One of my favorites on tape. pic.twitter.com/hXrzdUhemB
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) January 22, 2024
S – Josh Proctor, Ohio State (6’2″, 205)
After recently re-signing both Malik Hooker and Donovan Wilson, the Dallas Cowboys seem to have their starters pretty much set at safety heading into the offseason. On top of that, they also have some promising depth behind them in Juanyeh Thomas and Israel Mukuamu, so they could stand pat at the position in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Drafting a player at some point on Day 3 like Josh Proctor though isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility. He was considered a Top 100 prospect a couple years ago before he broke his right leg, causing him to miss most of the 2021 season and impacting his 2022 season. He’s been a difference-maker this year though and could be a nice addition to Dallas’ secondary.