Cowboys go Michigan again in NFL draft with TE Schoonmaker
By SCHUYLER DIXON
FRISCO, Texas (AP) Mazi Smith started his first full day as a first-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys meeting new teammates.
The burly defensive tackle ended it getting ready to welcome one of his old teammates at Michigan.
The Cowboys made it two-for-two on Wolverines in the NFL draft, taking tight end Luke Schoonmaker with the 58th overall pick in the second round Friday night.
In his first chat with reporters not long after he was selected, Schoonmaker said he hadn't had a chance to text or call Smith. Sounded as if that would soon change.
“It’s amazing,” Schoonmaker said. “Mazi is my guy. I’m so excited to be with him. I know it’s going to be a great experience. We’re both so excited.”
The selection of Schoonmaker comes after Dallas took Smith at No. 26 overall in the first round. Dallas went back to defense with the 90th overall pick in the third round, taking Texas linebacker DeMarvion Overshown.
Overshown capped a five-year run with the Longhorns with career highs of 49 tackles and 10 tackles for loss last season. He should bring some versatility to a position headlined by pass rushing star Micah Parsons and steady defensive play-caller Leighton Vander Esch.
“Being able to hold my own in open space ... guarding tight ends and at the same time on third down if I'm needed to be a pass rusher, jumping on the line of scrimmage and pass rushing,” Overshown said. “Versatility is really what separates my game from a lot of people.”
There was talk of Dallas taking a tight end in the first round, but Utah's Dalton Kincaid was the only one taken on opening night, by Buffalo when the Bills traded up two spots to get one pick ahead of the Cowboys.
Two more top prospects at tight end went early in the second round. Detroit took Iowa's Sam LaPorta with the third pick in the second round, 34th overall. Las Vegas grabbed Michael Mayer of Notre Dame with the next selection.
The Cowboys lost Dalton Schultz to Houston in free agency after he played on the franchise tag last season. But Dallas is high on two players who had strong rookie seasons in 2022: fourth-round pick Jake Ferguson and undrafted free agent Peyton Hendershot.
Schoonmaker makes the transition to the NFL with more of a reputation as a run blocker. His career high in yards receiving at Michigan was 418 last season.
“I think this is an excellent tight end class,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “We recognize it, but I think they all have specific skills that they bring to the table. What I really like about Luke is he's very, very well-rounded.”
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Schoonmaker scored three touchdowns each of the past two years as the Wolverines reached the College Football Playoff both times, losing in the semifinals.
The 323-pound Smith was a run-stopping force who went on the same ride in 2021-22.
“He’s a great person, on and off the field,” Schoonmaker said of Smith. “He always can get into some deep conversations about whatever it may be. He’s such a unique guy and someone who cares so much about others and wants the best for his teammates. I’m so grateful I was one of his teammates.”
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Updated April 29, 2023