Lions-Cowboys preview: Dak Prescott aims to ‘take advantage’ of Detroit’s

The Cowboys had their eye on Sam LaPorta before the draft

The Dallas Cowboys were in need of a tight end heading into the 2023 NFL draft and had their eyes on Iowa’s Sam LaPorta. However, instead of drafting him in the first round at pick no. 26, they opted to focus on their defense and selected Michigan’s Mazi Smith. It’s hard to judge that decision as Smith was coming off a season where he earned First Team All-Big Ten honors.

Nevertheless, Dallas was still in need of talent to surround Dak Prescott with, and LaPorta, arguably the best athlete at the tight end position in the draft, slipped right through their fingers. Dallas ended up taking Luke Schoonmaker at pick no. 58.

Dallas’ decision to focus on defense first paved the way for Detroit to land LaPorta in the second round with the 34th overall pick, and it’s safe to surmise that it’s a move they regret.

Smith has had little to no impact on Dallas’ defense, registering eight tackles and one sack in 14 games. As for Detroit, LaPorta is not only the X-factor in the Lions’ offense but could possibly be the steal of the draft. Through 15 games, he’s caught 74 of 101 targets for 776 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 10.5 yards per grab.

“Watching him at Iowa, I thought he was a complete tight end,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said. “Obviously, they didn’t throw the ball around the yard all day, but you can see the opportunities that he did have; he demonstrated his ability with the yards after the catch. Obviously, he’s in a high-powered offense where his route running stands out, but I felt he was somebody you could utilize in the run blocking. I think his numbers in the passing game speak for themselves.”

“We’ve got some matchups that we want to take advantage of, but that’s a group that we gotta make sure that we’re taking care of the ball and being smart with the ball.”

Hmm, Dak letting the cat out of the bag here. I don’t think he is talking about CeeDee. Who is he talking about?

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