Dallas Cowboys 2024 draft: Winners and losers from the current roster

Each NFL draft has current players wondering who’s about to join their team, and their interest especially piques when a new arrival comes at their position. With Dallas’ 2024 class now official, which current Cowboys were the bigger winners and losers in terms of their status and job security?


WR Jalen Tolbert

The third-year prospect faced potential danger at a few points. Speed demon Xavier Worthy was available when Dallas went on the clock at #24, and then some solid third-round options also manifested like Jermaine Burton and Roman Wilson. But Dallas waited until the sixth round to add Ryan Flournoy, a raw athlete who will do well to even make the 53-man roster. Barring some other free agent move over the next few months, Tolbert appears set to move into the top three on the WR depth chart.

While WR wasn’t Dallas’ biggest need going into the draft, it was enough of one to justify a “best player available” pick in the right circumstances. Thankfully for Tolbert, needs on the offensive line and the BPA potential of pass rusher Marshawn Kneeland kept him from getting some new competition this summer. Now Tolbert will look to become a bigger part of the offense, replacing Michael Gallup and hopefully inspiring confidence for the future.

RB Rico Dowdle

It’s hard to believe, but Dowdle emerged from the weekend as Dallas’ best current option to start at running back. Even if the team picks up a few more as undrafted free agents, they’ll have a hard time beating out Dowdle for the role this year. Assuming he can stay healthy for a second straight year, Dowdle’s experience and versatility will serve him well in a competition.

The rumored Ezekiel Elliott reunion is not official yet. And even if Zeke does return, it’s unlikely to be anything like his previous workhorse role. The Cowboys appear to have adopted the devalued RB mentality, and with that will likely come a committee approach at the position. That will still give Dowdle more touches than he’s ever had before.

OG Tyler Smith

While nobody was going to join the team and threaten Smith as a starter, he could have wound up at left tackle again. Thanks to the Tyler Guyton addition, Smith can now stay at his best position of guard and keep racking up All-Pro selections.

Smith was an adequate left tackle as a rookie, especially considering he’d prepared to move to guard the entire offseason before a late-preseason switch. But even if he’d be better at it now, which is likely, he’s pretty special in his current role. Unless Guyton is way too raw to start Week 1, Smith should be able to keep building his rep as one of the elite guards in football.


Offensive line depth

Brock Hoffman, T.J. Bass, Chuma Edoga, Asim Richards, Josh Ball; they all took a hit with the selections of Guyton, Cooper Beebe, and Nathan Thomas. For Bass and Hoffman, potential starting roles in 2024 are likely gone. For the rest, the fight for roster spots as backups just got more congested.

Offensive tackle isn’t quite so bad. Guyton just fills in Tyron Smith’s roster spot and that still leaves Edoga, Richards, and Matt Waletzko to battle for backup duty as they were before. But with Bass and Hoffman now possibly sliding down into primary backup jobs on the interior, the chances for others to latch on to the roster just went way down.

CBs Israel Mukuamu & Nahshon Wright

While fifth-round picks are hardly roster locks, Caelen Carson is entering a CB room ready for new blood. The top three of Trevon Diggs, DaRon Bland, and Jourdan Lewis is set, but everything beyond them is up for grabs as none of Mukuamu, Wright, or Eric Scott have done enough to claim seniority.

Even before the draft, it was hard to imagine Wright making the roster again after three years of nothing. But the former third-round pick has hung around thanks to that draft pedigree and a lack of competition. Carson was seen as a steal, getting third-round grades from some sources, and will hopefully raise the bar for the backup corners.

QB Dak Prescott & HC Mike McCarthy

Yes, the team bolstered the offensive line and that does help the quarterback and others. But with Guyton a raw prospect and Beebe having to learn to play center, these moves felt more future-minded. It reinforced the notion that the front office isn’t fully invested in the 2024 season, meaning Prescott and McCarthy could be further hampered in this seeming fight for their jobs.

We mentioned WR Jalen Tolbert as a winner from this draft, but that might be a losing deal for Prescott. While Michael Gallup was no great loss at this point, the lack of firepower his decline exposed hasn’t been helped yet. And now with no exciting addition at running back, the pressure will be on Prescott to carry this offense like never before.

For McCarthy, it’s an even tougher road ahead. At least the team is saying the right things about wanting to extend Prescott, but they’ve been very quiet about McCarthy’s future. This draft felt more like they were acquiring assets for their new defensive coordinator and whoever the next head coach is.


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