The Dallas Cowboys 2021 NFL Draft centered around a significant push to fortify their struggling defense, exclusively targeting defensive players until Josh Ball at 138th overall. The defense was a key point for Mike McCarthy and the Cowboys as the boys in blue were near the bottom of the league in just about every statistical category last year, and now it’s time to review how they did in the draft. The Cowboys final draft results are as follows:
- Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State (12th Overall)
- Kelvin Joseph, CB Kentucky (44th Overall)
- Osa Odighizuwa, DL, UCLA (75 Overall)
- Chauncey Golston, EDGE, Iowa (84th Overall)
- Nashon Wright, CB, Oregon State (99th Overall)
- Jabril Cox, LB, LSU (115th Overall)
- Josh Ball, OT, Marshall (138th Overall)
- Simi Fehoko, WR, Stanford (179th Overall)
- Quinton Bohanna, DL, Kentucky (192nd Overall)
- Isreal Mukuamu, CB, South Carolina (227th Overall)
- Matt Farniok, OL, Nebraska (238th Overall)
Dallas Cowboys 2021 NFL Draft Grade: 8/10
Dallas Cowboys 2021 NFL Draft Review: Defense Wins Championships
The Best Player: Micah Parsons
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) April 30, 2021
The Cowboys are doubling down to fortify their linebacker core in order to control the run game. Micah Parsons is a great player and will add to an already stellar linebacker group. Dallas was able to secure this great defensive pick while trading back with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Parsons is an obvious first-round talent, however not a top-five talent. With Dallas sitting at tenth in the draft, and teams looking to move up, drafting Parsons at 12th overall makes perfect sense. The Cowboys get to begin working to rework their defense while keeping future draft capital.
Missed Opportunities: Creed Humphrey, Kyle Trask
Dallas is looking to control the trenches with great offensive line play, and by adding to their defensive ranks. Dallas missed an opportunity to do just that by letting some great offensive linemen slip to other teams. Creed Humphrey is one of those players. A savvy veteran out of the University of Oklahoma, he is versatile; intelligent; and able to identify defenses very well. Humphrey would have made an excellent addition to this aging offensive line.
Dak Prescott has recently signed a four-year contract worth $160 million. Last year was a bitter piece of humble pie, looking at Dallas’ backup quarterback situation. With Andy Dalton leaving for Chicago in free agency, Dallas should be looking to secure a safe and steady quarterback to back up their young star. With the other quarterbacks flying off the shelf, Trask would have been a great second-round pick, or an opportunity to move up and secure the future at signal-caller for Big D.
Kelvin Joseph: Pro’s and Con’s
Joseph makes sense in the second round. He is a big, physical, and versatile player entering a defense devoid of solid defensive back-play. Joseph has great speed and obvious talent. This pick should have Dallas fans nervous while some have questioned Joseph’s focus on the field. The potential defensive anchor has released six music albums and has faced suspension before opting out of the 2020 season.
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) May 1, 2021
Defensive Line Additions
Osa Odighizuwa, Chauncey Golston, and Quinton Bohanna round out Dallas’ defensive line draft picks. Odighizuwa is a great pick for Dallas here. He is a disruptive player who can play in multiple schemes. The future defensive anchor will also prove worthy of stopping the run. Golston is a great potential talent pick here. He has tremendous size and length. He is also a sure tackler and showed talent in getting to the quarterback. Bohanna fills a much-needed void at nose guard for the Cowboys. At 6’4” 330 pounds, the former Kentucky Wildcat looks to solidify the run defense while disrupting pass protection for some newly acquired edge rushers to get to the passer.
Dallas also selected cornerbacks Nashon Wright and Isreal Mukuamu. Wright is a physical specimen at 6’4” 185 pounds. He is a sure-handed tackler, and above average in press coverage. Isreal Mukuamu is a player Dallas can use to match up with tight ends. With the tight end position making a resurgence, Dallas will be looking to secure that side of the field. The last two Super Bowl-winning teams, Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, have had future hall of fame tight ends. Dallas drafting Mukuamu could be the start to shutting this position down.
Jabril Cox was drafted in the fourth round out of LSU. The former Tiger will fit in nicely with this already stellar linebacker core. Dallas is unlikely to pick up Leighton Vander Esch’s player option, paving the way for playing time for Dallas’ recently drafted linebackers. Cox could step up and contribute from day one if he is able to impress during training camp.
Dallas finishes up the draft with Josh Ball, Simi Feheko, and Matt Farniok. Ball and Farniok are both offensive linemen. With Dallas’ line closer to ancient than young, these O linemen could contribute early on in their careers. Dallas has been playing musical chairs with the offensive line for the past two seasons. With injuries, other players retiring, and some leaving in free agency, there will be plenty of vacancy for these rookies to make a significant impact quickly.
Fehoko is a wide receiver out of Stanford. He is stepping in to a crowded wide receiver room headed by Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb. Fehoko could struggle to find the field early on in his career. Dallas’ contract situation is the silver lining for Fehoko. With Prescott standing to make the majority of money in later seasons, Cooper and Michael Gallup could find other landing spots—opening the door for Fehoko.
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