2021 NFL Mock Draft: Jaguars lock in Trevor Lawrence, Cowboys pick 11th - Cory Kinnan, With The First Pick
The 11th pick isn’t too bad, Dallas would still be able to get a highly talented player.
Losing out on Surtain II after another victory over the Eagles, the Cowboys now turn to another cornerback on the board to pair with Trevon Diggs. With the 11th overall pick in this 2021 NFL Mock Draft, the Cowboys land Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley in order to give their secondary a massive and much-needed upgrade.
Perhaps the most athletic cornerback in this year’s draft class, Farley is a converted wide receiver who possesses elite ball skills and great physicality off of the line of scrimmage. We have to wait for the NFL Scouting Combine to see Farley after opting out of the 2020 season, but he will surely give a reminder when he steps into Lucas Oil Stadium. Here he lands with the Cowboys.
From team looking at a top five pick a few weeks ago to now one game and a little luck away from the playoffs.
Dallas. The Cowboys got a quarter-season out of Dak Prescott before a grotesque injury sidelined him. They started Ben DiNucci and Garrett Gilbert at quarterback. Andy Dalton has had to be uncharacteristically bombs-away Dan Fouts at times. They’ve given up 5.0 yards per rush and 30 points per game. They had one of the game’s most beloved assistant coaches, Markus Paul, collapse in the team’s weight room in front of players and die a day later. Just a horrible season. But football does not stop.
Today, the Cowboys are better than the Giants, and Washington is a mess. Much stranger things have happened in the NFL than a seesaw Dallas team making the postseason. The Cowboys could be a 7-9 playoff team and enter the postseason hot. “By far the biggest challenge emotionally and as a football coach that I’ve been through,” McCarthy said. “I’m a new coach here, trying to make a first impression, the pandemic hits, no offseason, the Dak injury, the bad start, just one thing after another . . . and then the reality of it, those were tiny things compared to what was coming.” He meant the death of Paul, a team strength coach, on Nov. 25, then having to play a game the next day.
Unlikely the Cowboys go for Snacks after already having the chance and not doing it.
The Dallas Cowboys are full of issues on defense. Their cornerbacks are reeling. Their safeties are bad. Their linebackers are more liability than asset. And their defensive tackles can’t hold their ground, let alone display basic gap discipline. They get washed every play and it’s having a trickle-down effect on every layer of the defense.
Adding a solid 2-gap tackle like Snacks would do wonders. The linebackers wouldn’t take so many blocks and be able to run a little more freely. The safeties wouldn’t feel obligated to cheat forward and could actually concentrate on playing safety. Even the ends (arguably the only good defensive unit in Dallas) stand to gain because they won’t feel obligated to crash inside and bite on read-option plays (like we saw last week against Hurts).
The way the Dallas Cowboys are constructed now, it’s crazy to think they could do anything should they make the playoffs. The Bucs would run all over them and dominate in the most embarrassingly futile contest imaginable.
Some surprising things during this recent run.
#3. Randy Gregory
The Cowboys got a surprise boost to their defense this season with the return of defensive end Randy Gregory to their lineup. The former 2015 second-round draft pick hadn’t played since 2018 due to being on suspension for multiple violations of the NFL substance abuse policy.
Now, 28-years old, Gregory returned to the field for Dallas in Week Seven. But he wouldn’t record his first sack until five games later, which was in a 2.0-sack performance against the Washington Football Team in Week 12.
Over the past three games, Gregory seems to be hitting his stride and slowly fulfilling all the promise he showed as a potential first-rounder out of Nebraska five years ago. He’s recorded 10 tackles, five quarterback hits, 1.5 sacks, and forced three fumbles. The latter two stats coming off his stellar performance on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Pro Football Focus gave Randy Gregory an overall grade of 94.9 for his performance in Week 16. That ranks Gregory the highest among all of the NFL’s EDGE rushers this past week in PFF’s rankings prior to Monday Night Football. And his improving play has helped to put Dallas in reach of a postseason berth.
That would be a huge boost for the Cowboys.
While he’s played guard the rest of his NFL career before 2020, Martin has been deployed at right tackle sometimes this season due to injuries to Tyron Smith, La’el Collins, and backup tackle Cam Erving. If he’s back this Sunday then Dallas may use him there again over undrafted rookie and consistently liability Terence Steele.
The Giants’ haven’t had a great pass rush overall this year but DE Leonard WIlliams has posted 8.5 sacks and could be a problem for Steele.
Getting Martin back could also be big for Ezekiel Elliott and the run game. New York is 11th against the run in 2020 and Dallas has mostly struggled there all season, though Zeke did have arguably his best game yesterday against Philadelphia.
Whatever the case, whether it’s at guard over Connor McGovern or replacing Steele at tackle, Zack Martin would be an upgrade for Dallas and 31 other teams if he can play this week. As the Cowboys fight to stay alive in the NFC East race, having perhaps their best overall player return would be a big win going into Sunday.
Who’s stock is up and helping the Cowboys during this winning streak?
The receiving trio of Cooper, Michael Gallup and rookie CeeDee Lamb have a seven-game streak of at least one touchdown receiving, with a total of 10. Gallup had two against the Eagles, and Lamb added a rushing score for 11 total TDs in that span. The Cowboys are 4-3 in those games.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The much-maligned defense gave up more than 450 yards for the second week in a row as the Cowboys narrowly avoided giving up the most points per game at home in NFL history. Dallas finished at 34.4, and the expansion Cowboys of 1960 share the record of 36.5 with the winless Detroit Lions of 2008 and the 1948 Giants.
On the bright side for Dallas, the defense slowed rookie Jalen Hurts and the Eagles while the offense scored on five straight possessions. After giving up 14 points in less than 10 minutes to start the game, the Cowboys held Philadelphia to three the rest of the way. But it was still enough to set a franchise record in points allowed with a game to go at 450. The previous high was 436 points in 2010.
Defensive end Randy Gregory had 1½ sacks and three forced fumbles, including one on his full sack and another while dropping Philadelphia running back Miles Sanders for a 4-yard loss. Gregory, who also had two QB hits, returned this season after his fourth suspension over substance-abuse violations.
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