We spend a lot of time obsessing over who the Dallas Cowboys will take with their first-round pick (#10 overall) in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. We track it on a regular basis and have come out with some of the most popular choices. The names you’ll regularly see are cornerback Caleb Farley from Virginia Tach, cornerback Patrick Surtain from Alabama, and offensive tackle Rashawn Slater from Northwestern.
Tryin to narrow down who the Cowboys will pick at #10 is a lot easier than guessing who they will pick in the second round. Obviously who they take in the first round could affect who they take in the second round. It would be very unusual for the team to take, for example, cornerbacks in round one and round two. So you have to know the first pick to project the second.
There is also the fact that lot more names come into play the deeper you go in the draft because player’s rankings become more varied. Just how the Cowboys have their board set is an unknown.
Given all that, let’s take a look at what some mock drafts are saying about the Cowboys second round pick.
No. 42: EDGE Carlos Basham Jr.,
Wake Forest: The Cowboys have premium needs in the secondary and in the pass rush. We don’t know what they intend to do in free agency — it sounds like there could be a bidding war for Chidobe Awuzie — so this pick may change down the line. But, for now, I’ll grab Basham, a 6-foot-5, 285-pound edge rusher who would look at home as a left defensive end in a 4-3 defense.
1st round - Rashawn Slater
This draft tries to strengthen the Cowboys offensive and defensive lines by taking an offensive tackle in round one and then an edge rusher in round two. This will likely depend on what the Cowboys do with free agent Aldon Smith. If he returns, a rotation of Smith, Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory is pretty solid, with Dorance Armstrong and Bradlee Anae for depth.
Round 2, Pick 42
Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB
Last week Melifonwu was gone before we had a chance to consider him here. This time he’s available and since both top safeties, Trevon Moehrig and Richie Grant, went in the first round (don’t let that surprise you), Melifonwu was a no-brainer pick
The Dallas Cowboys need a new starting CB to pair with last year’s second rounder, Trevon Diggs. Under Dan Quinn they’ll go back to being primarily a single high defense. This typically calls for Cover 3 that tasks each outside CB with the deep third of the field.
1st round - Rashawn Slater
This mock also takes an offensive tackle in the first round, but shores up the Cowboys biggest need, outside of signing Dak Prescott, by adding a corner. Dallas did pretty well taking a corner last year in the second round, so why not try it again?
Round 2, Pick 44
Richie Grant, Safety, Central Florida
Richie Grant is a player that’s been on the rise since the end of the season and saw his stock jump tremendously after the Senior Bowl as well. Grant is a playmaker at free safety and a guy who would fit perfectly in Dan Quinn’s scheme to complement Donovan Wilson at strong safety. The Cowboys need someone with the range and coverage chops that Grant provides.
Round 1 - trade back for Jaycee Horn
This mock has a trade in the first round where the Cowboys drop down to #15 and take a corner. It then gives more help to the secondary by investing a premium pick in a safety. We know how the Cowboys are about drafting safeties high, but maybe this is the year they do spend some draft capital on a position of need.
2nd Round (42nd Overall) – Dillon Radunz, OT
What was once an elite offensive line started to show signs of slippage in 2020. The Dallas Cowboys need to improve their protection, especially with Dak Prescott returning from serious injury. Dillon Radunz is a high-risk, high-reward tackle, as he possesses the athleticism and footwork to be one of the best tackles in the NFL. However, he is notably undersized and will need to add muscle to survive at the next level. In a perfect world, Radunz will spend the 2021 season as a swing tackle before earning a starting job in 2022.
1st round - Patrick Surtain
After grabbing their corner in the first, we have the Cowboys getting their depth at offensive tackle in the second. As noted in the write-up above, this is a pick for the future, something that might fit the Cowboys plans as Tyron Smith returns in 2021, but may not play that much longer past this year.
ROUND 2 (NO. 42 OVERALL): DAVIYON NIXON, IDL, IOWA
Tyrone Crawford is set to enter the open market, a happy sight for Dallas fans. The 31-year-old has failed to produce, much less convince the Cowboys to bring him back. With overall grades of 53.4 and 52.6 from Pro Football Focus in the last two seasons, it looks as if his best years are clearly behind him.
How he fits: Ultimately, the Cowboys lacked punch in the interior of their line. Neville Gallimore had his moments in his rookie campaign and should continue to develop with more snaps, but the addition of Nixon would immediately provide an identity that’s been missing within Dallas’ front for years. The 2020 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Nixon lives in the backfield, consistently plowing through opposing guards with powerful hands stemming from an elite lower half. A former junior college transfer, Nixon served as the anchor along Iowa’s defensive line following the departure of A.J. Epenesa. He eats up double-teams, continues to develop as a pass rusher, and would open up lanes for stud ‘backers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch to feast on opposing ball carriers.
1st round - Caleb Farley
This mock draft addresses what is a huge concern for many fans, and that’s the interior of the defensive line. After helping the secondary with a corner, the team gets a big body to go in the middle of the defensive line. Fixing the run defense is a priority and this pick may help do that.
Dallas Cowboys: Jay Tufele, DT, USC
As mentioned in the first round, the Cowboys must address their defense. They need help at every level. The interior of their defensive front needs an injection of talent.
Jay Tufele is an extremely athletic and agile 310-pound defensive tackle who could be chosen in the top half of the draft, whenever he declares.
1st round - Rashawn Slater
An offensive and defensive line fixer-upper mock draft. After grabbing their offensive tackle of the future, the Cowboys try to fix that ailing run defense. After spending a second-round pick in 2019, and a third-round pick in 2020 on the position, will the Cowboys go back and do it again?
No. 42 - Central Florida Safety Richie Grant
Height: 6-foot-0 Weight: 194 pounds Class: Redshirt Senior Now we aren’t going to pretend that the defense doesn’t have major needs. Grant is the free safety the Cowboys desperately need. Playing single-high in Dan Quinn’s defense, Grant has the instincts and the IQ to flourish in the NFL. Dallas will need to get some help up front in free agency, but the draft is where they need to find long-term solutions. Grant’s Senior Bowl week was amazing and pairing him with Donovan Wilson is the start of something special.
1st round - Penei Sewell
The Cowboys would be thrilled to get Sewell in the first, then picking up a quality safety in the second would make this potentially an A+ draft. To see the Cowboys spend a pick this high on safety would be welcomed by most fans.
JAMES HUDSON OT Cincinnati
An underrated problem for the Cowboys over the past few years has been injury problems along the offensive line. A big source of alarm came last season when Tyron Smith appeared in just two games after suffering a neck injury.
Smith has missed at least three games in each of the past five seasons and Dallas has struggled mightily to protect their quarterbacks when he has been sidelined. The Cowboys also have to strongly consider whether it is worth it to cut Smith and save at least $10 million against the salary cap since paying an aging tackle with a neck injury is very risky.
Finding a potential successor for Smith here is why the pick of Hudson makes sense. There is still plenty of development to be done in Hudson’s game but he has all of the necessary physical tools to become a dominant player.
1st round - Caleb Farley
Here is another mock draft that decides to get offensive tackle depth in the second round instead of using a first-round pick on the position. There is logic to this as offensive line is a strong position in the 2021 draft with talent deep into the first few rounds.