Now that the 2021 NFL Draft is in our rearview mirror, let’s take a look back at how the draft went for the Dallas Cowboys. Before the draft day, the Cowboys originally owned ten picks before making a trade that gifted them another. After seeing their favorite prospect, Patrick Surtain II, taken 9th overall, the Cowboys decided to trade back. In a trade with Philadelphia, the Cowboys received picks 12 and 84, while the Eagles moved up two spots to the 10th pick.
With the 12th pick, the Cowboys drafted Micah Parsons, a linebacker out of Penn State. Parsons, listed at 6’4” and 250 lbs, possess what can only be described as elite speed from the linebacker position. Before opting out of the 2020 season, he was named All-Big Ten First Team and Big Ten linebacker of the year. He comes into the league with the ability to be effective in both the run and pass defense, with his only slight weakness being open-field tackling. With both Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith producing less than ideal seasons in 2020, the Cowboys selected an excellent addition to their linebacker core.
The Cowboys selected Kelvin Josep, a cornerback from Kentucky, with their second-round pick (44th overall). Here is where the Cowboys ultimately filled their need at the cornerback position. Joseph is a 5’11” 197 lb corner whose athletic traits are what make him stand out. For a corner, he is a good help in run defense. However, he’s relatively inexperienced due to a lack of playing time. His physical attributes could allow him to be a real problem for receivers. However, he seemed to be undisciplined when it came to penalties and sticking to his assignments. With inexperience, this is expected, but he has real upside at the cornerback position.
At 75th overall, the Cowboys selected Osa Odighizuwa, a DT out of UCLA, to further strengthen their poor run defense. Odighizuwa measures in at 6’2” and 280 lbs and can play almost any position on the defensive line. Where his value lies is in the experience that he has. He played consistently for every year of his college career at UCLA, where he was first-team All-Pac12 in 2020. He features rapid movements with both his hands and feet for the DT position. However, he might not have the pure size to play that position on every snap in the NFL. Expect the Cowboys to experiment with him at different spots on the line.
With the 84th overall pick, the Cowboys selected Chauncey Golston, an edge rusher from Iowa. Golston is a physical specimen, standing at 6’5” and 270 lbs. However, this may have been something of a reach for the Cowboys. Golston was a projected 6th round pick who doesn’t show anything extraordinary coming off the edge. Entering the NFL, he needs to develop more effective pass rush moves and improve upon his speed. His measurables assure that he has the potential to do well, but this seems like an extremely risky pick inside the top 100.
At 99th overall, the Cowboys took Nahshon Wright, a cornerback out of Oregon State. This is another pick that might be considered an extreme reach. Wright, a 6’4” corner, weighs in at only 184 lbs, making him quite skinny. What works in his favor are his receiver-like instincts. Wright will effectively challenge many high balls thrown to his man and attack the ball as a receiver might. In an NFL weight program, he has upside, but to take a player projected to go undrafted in the 3rd round might prove a bad move in the future.
In what could turn out to be a massive steal, the Cowboys were able to snag Jabril Cox out of LSU in the 4th round (pick 115). Cox, a 6’3” 230lb linebacker, thrives as an athlete in the passing game from the linebacker position. Once he plants his feet, he displays excellent speed and ability to move from sideline to sideline. He tends to overthink and sometimes take too long to get moving, but pairing him with Micah Parsons spells out an excellent linebacker class for the Cowboys. Look for Cox to possibly be considered one of the steals in this draft class.
With the 138th pick, the Cowboys selected Josh Ball, a 6’7”, 310 lb tackle from Marshall. Ball provides pure football talents and outstanding physical attributes for the tackle position. Ball has had character issues in the past, which saw him dismissed from Florida State, but with those issues taken care of, he has the potential to be a stud. Marshall was a first-team all-conference choice, and he brings feet and hand quickness to the table. However, he needs to do a better job creating leverage on the outside. This was a good pickup for the Cowboys in the 4th round.
The Cowboys took Simi Fehoko, a receiver out of Stanford, with the 179th pick. Fehoko is a good combo of size and speed, standing at 6’4”. While he might not be incredibly effective in a check-down type scheme, he can break off for massive plays relatively often. He was taken right where he was projected to be, and with some polishing, could become a good starting receiver for the Cowboys in the future. The most significant roadblock for him will be working his way up through the Cowboys’ already talented receiver core.
At the 192nd pick, the Cowboys chose another man out of Kentucky, defensive lineman Quinton Bohanna. Bohanna is a huge guy, standing at 6’4” and 330 lbs. He has lots of experience through college and does a great job of eating up space and plugging up holes in the run games. With his size comes a lack of speed, but his potential to bowl over any center he faces makes him a threat in the defensive line.
With the 227th pick, the Cowboys took Israel Mukuamu, a cornerback from South Carolina. Mukuamu was an excellent value pick for the Cowboys, who could’ve easily gone a lot earlier in this Draft. At 6’4” and 212 lbs, Mukuamu has the desired physical traits for a corner that also make him great in the press. Once he drops into coverage, his footwork may cause him problems, but his upside is tremendous, and if properly trained, he has the potential to be a physically dominating corner.
With their last pick, the Cowboys selected Matt Farniok from Nebraska 238th overall. Farniok’s primary attribute is his ability to move around on the line. While he may not be fundamentally ready to start in the NFL yet, he is highly versatile with respectable measurables. He has good linemen ahead of him to learn from, which will undoubtedly benefit him in the future.