Of all the issues that could be addressed in the Cowboys’ NFL draft, finding another receiver to be second fiddle to CeeDee Lamb is not likely to be the top priority, especially not if Dallas gets the kind of strong performances from Brandin Cooks and Michael Gallup they got in Week 10.
But the 2024 draft is shaping up to be a strong one for skill position players, and ultimately, the Cowboys may not be able to pass one up if things fall the right way. That’s how things shape up in Sports Illustrated’s current mock, which has LSU star Malik Nabers as the top Cowboys NFL draft pick at No. 22.
Nabers topped 1,000 yards receiving in his sophomore year, but has gone from good to great as a junior, with 1,284 yards (most in all of college football) in his first 10 games, and 10 touchdowns. He rolled up 171 yards on 10 catches in a loss to Alabama two weeks ago.
The site’s draft guru, Luke Easterling, writes: “If the board falls this way, the Cowboys could have their hand forced by the abundance of value available among the pass catchers. Nabers is an explosive playmaker who excels after the catch, and he would be even more dangerous with opposing defenses having to worry about Lamb.”
Skill Positions Could Dominate Draft Day 1
All around the NFL mock draft circuit, there is no question that the skill positions reign. It is the quarterbacks that are getting the most attention here, five months ahead of the actual draft itself, led by the combo of North Carolina’s Drake Maye and USC’s Caleb Williams, who could fight to be the No.1 overall pick.
But wide receivers could dominate the first day of the NFL draft. On SI’s mock draft, there are six quarterbacks going in the first round and six receivers as well. At Pro Football Focus, it is five quarterbacks and seven receivers. USA Today foresees the highest volume of wide receiver dominance, with eight taken in the first round of its mock draft.
Offensive tackles and edge rushers are the other popular picks for first-rounders. Certainly, those could be areas of interest for the Cowboys NFL draft next year.
Cowboys NFL Draft: Nabers Would Be Huge
Of course, it is hard to say that a player like Nabers would be available for the Cowboys at No. 22, and almost certainly would not be there if Dallas keeps playing better and, correspondingly, drops down the draft board.
Pro Football Focus has Nabers going off the board at No. 9. USA Today has him off at No. 8. It would be a very fortunate slide, indeed, if Nabers were somehow to make it to the Cowboys’ grasp. He would make quite a weapon for coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Dak Prescott.
Still, it is a nice thought, especially because the Cowboys could slide Nabers inside or play him on the sideline.
Wrote PFF about Nabers earlier in the season: “The LSU receiver room is again stacked with NFL talent, and Nabers is right at the top. … He offers positional versatility, as he has split time between the slot (48.9% of snaps) and out wide (51.1%). He has 38 combined first downs and touchdowns through six weeks, eight more than the next closest receiver.”