We’re just under a month away from the 2021 NFL Draft. This time of year is key for zoning in on the possible, yet realistic, scenarios that could play out on draft day. With plenty of Pro Day numbers out, it’s time to start putting the finishing touches on the draft board for the Dallas Cowboys.
Today, we’ll be using The Draft Network’s simulator to go through a seven-round mock draft for the Dallas Cowboys. Let’s dive in.
TRADE: Cowboys trade 1:10 (1,300 points) & 7:238 (2 points) to the Patriots for 1:15 (1,050 points) and 2:46 (440 points). Patriots select QB Justin Fields.
Round 1, 15th Overall
Jaycee Horn | South Carolina | CB
Trading back in the first round, should be the Cowboys goal in the first round. Why you may ask? There’s a realistic shot that the first eight or nine players drafted in the first round are all offensive players, and in this simulator scenario, that is exactly what happened. The Cowboys watched as; Lawrence, Wilson, Chase, Waddle, Pitts, Sewell, Slater, Lance, and Parson went off the board before they were on the clock at 10. With the Patriots still looking to draft their quarterback of the future, especially after going “all-in” in free agency, the phone rang, and with Horn, Surtain, Darrisaw, Ojulari, and Owuso-Koramoah still on the clock, you should feel really good about getting a player you’ll love at 15th overall, while also picking up an additional second-round pick.
Luckily for the Cowboys, CB1 fell all the way to 15. Jaycee Horn is seen by some (including myself) as the top ranked corner in this class after back surgery for Farley knocked him off the top spot. Horn tested exceptionally well at his Pro Day earlier in the week, and pairs his impressive athleticism with some of the best tape in this class. Horn’s physical presence, demeanor, and coverage skills is exactly what this defense needs after a disaster of a year in 2020.
Jaycee Horn went beast mode against Auburn last year pic.twitter.com/NTyfi2buTI— Johnny Kinsley (Andrew Berry Hive CEO) (@Brickwallblitz) March 25, 2021
Round 2, 44th Overall
Rondale Moore | Purdue | WR
The Cowboys have done enough on the defensive side of the ball in free agency (minus cornerback), to really free them up to go best player available early in this draft. With Purdue WR Rondale Moore falling to the 44th overall pick, the talent is just too much to pass on. While wide receiver isn’t a big need for the Cowboys, a dynamic, slot-receiving, speed-threat is something this offense desperately lacks. At his Pro Day, Moore ran a 4.29 40, had a 42.5” vertical, and a 6.68 3-cone. Moore is an athletic freak, that is extremely dangerous with the football in his hands. While some hope that Kyle Pitts, Jaylen Waddle, or DeVonta Smith will be the pick in the first round, landing Moore’s skill-set in the second is an awesome consolation prize with what he offers out of the slot, and as a return man.
If you would have told me in 2018 that Rondale Moore wouldn’t go in R1, I would have called in for a wellness check— Thor Nystrom (@thorku) March 21, 2021
Round 2, 46th Overall
Richie Grant | UCF | FS
I bet you like that first-round trade down now. Landing Rondale Moore and Richie Grant in the second round is how teams extend their Super Bowl windows. While many around Cowboys Nation and draft twitter love Richie Grant’s game, it seems like the NFL may be a little lower on him than fans. Grant’s coverage skills, range, ball skills, and athleticism pops off the tape at UCF, and a dominant Senior Bowl week improve his stock, but there’s still a really good chance he’s available for the Cowboys in the second round. Grant would step in as the teams best candidate at free safety, and would pair up will with Donovan Wilson and Keanu Neal in Dan Quinn’s Cover 3 heavy scheme. Reading the Cowboy tea leaves in free agency, it seems as if there’s a bit more of an emphasis on the safety position in 2021 than in years past. Richie Grant is a great one to start with.
Lol this was the fourth play of the game. Richie Grant is SPECIAL! https://t.co/AkUS1lFd3m pic.twitter.com/e7oRngjgQs— #AlijahVeraTuckerAt13 (@StevenIHaglund) March 24, 2021
TRADE: Cowboys trade 3:75 (215 points), 6:227 (2 points), & 2022 5th Round Pick to the Rams for 2:57 (330 points).
Round 2, 57th Overall
Jamin Davis | Kentucky | LB
It is extremely important for the Cowboys to be aggressive moving around in this draft. With 10 total picks, and plenty of holes on defense, there’s no reason to be hesitant to move up or down to pick up impact players. Jamin Davis is just that.
A one-year starter at Kentucky, Davis is another freaky prospect that has superstar potential in this class. In his one year with substantial playing time, Davis had three interceptions, four tackles for loss, one-and-half sacks, and 102 tackles for the Wildcats. Davis lined up all over the field for Kentucky, and has the speed, length, and size to play both MIKE and WILL in Dan Quinn’s defensive scheme. Davis is a ultra-athletic, high-effort, impressive cover-linebacker with the ability to stay on the field on all three downs. While his overall technique taking on blocks and trusting his keys need some development, Davis has the makings to be a big-time player in the NFL.
Jamin Davis, Kentucky (6-3, 236 pounds)— john.herndon.storyteller (@JohnHerndonJr) March 21, 2021
A one-year starter at Kentucky, Davis was the Mike linebacker in head coach Mark Stoops’ 4-2-5 hybrid scheme. pic.twitter.com/hCf60EkWkJ
Round 3, 99th Overall
Alim McNeill | NC State | iDL
The Cowboys added Brent Urban in free agency, but that shouldn’t take them out of the running for the second-best defensive tackle in this class. Why more people aren’t talking about Alim McNeill is beyond me, but after his Pro Day, that will likely change. McNeill is an absolute monster at the nose tackle position, and plays with tremendous athleticism for a big man. Pairing McNeill and Urban together would give the Cowboys two strong run defenders on their defensive line, and would immediately upgrade their run-game woes from 2020. With Gallimore, Hill, and Watkins as the penciled in three-techniques, getting another true nose tackle in the building is key, and McNeill is the best one in this class.
NC State DT Alim McNeill isn’t being talked about enough. Dude is an absolute wrecking ball in the interior of the defense.— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) January 16, 2021
• 6’2” 315lbs
• very good athlete for big man
• pocket pusher as a pass rusher
• excellent anchor against doubles
• uses length very well
• dog pic.twitter.com/1mRdgJ7pS1
Round 4, 115th Overall
D’Ante Smith | ECU | OL
There’s no player in this draft class who helped their stock more at the Senior Bowl than ECU’s D’Ante Smith. Playing left tackle at ECU, Smith battled through injury and struggled to put together consistently dominant tape. But at the Senior Bowl, Smith proved to be one of the more talented players on the offensive line. Possessing an impressive, but lankier, frame, Smith has the ability to add weight if need be to move inside where he showed comfort at in Mobile. Smith has impressive length, footwork, and has the making to develop into a starting-caliber linemen in the NFL. His position flexibility, length, athleticism, and strong showing in Mobile will likely land him at the start of day three, instead of late day three where he was originally projected to go.
.@ECUPiratesFB LT D’Ante Smith will be a tremendous Day 2 value pick for some team. Many OTs being mocked higher than @B1GSmoove don’t have nearly his tools. Hard to get around someone with 35 1/4 arms (85 1/8 wing) and light feet. Great rep here vs. skilled rusher Quincy Roche. pic.twitter.com/afFFnZxl68— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) February 26, 2021
Round 4, 138th Overall
Dayo Odeyingbo | Vanderbilt | EDGE
With the news of Tyrone Crawford retiring breaking, the team will look to replace Crawford’s versatility on the defensive line. Vanderbilt’s Dayo Odeyingbo can do just that with his ability to play DE and reduce down and play as a three-technique on passing downs. If not for an injury that will likely keep Odeyingbo sidelined for most if not all of the 2021 season, he had a chance to get drafted in the second round according to some around the league. While it’s more than likely he will need a redshirt year in Dallas, the talent was too much to pass on in the middle of day three, and with the long-term question marks at defensive end for the Cowboys, this is the definition of a blue-star special for the Cowboys.
#Vanderbilt EDGE Dayo Odeyingbo has lots of juice from lots of alignments. At 6-6, 275, he has the versatility, strength and explosiveness to play in an odd or even front. His game doesn’t have an off switch.— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) December 8, 2020
( : @BenFennell_NFL)pic.twitter.com/pJfgsgPcV5
Round 5, 179th Overall
Justin Hillard | Ohio State | LB
The Cowboys need a SAM linebacker if the team is going to continue to play Jaylon Smith at MIKE for a high percentage of snaps. Justin Hilliard can help in that area, as well as make an early impact on special teams throughout his career. While Hilliard may never be a Pro Bowl level player, he can carve out a role in the NFL as a contributor on defense and special teams. Hilliard’s effort, ability to play the position with physicality, and growth he showed as a cover man would fit in well in Dan Quinn’s defense. While he was more a reserve player for the Buckeyes throughout his career, he shined down the stretch, which should boost his stock heading into the draft.
OLB Justin Hilliard been playing good football for @OhioStateFB over last month— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) January 3, 2021
6'1 231lbs outstanding mix of length/athleticism. Only played 263 snaps on defense coming into '20 w/ injuries early on - granted 6th year eligibility
Staggering 726 special teams snaps in career pic.twitter.com/3dFc7oYGex
Round 6, 192nd Overall
Robert Rochell | Central Arkansas | CB
Central Arkansas’ Robert Rochell is a player being slept on in the 2021 draft class. While the tape does hold some inconsistency, the traits are off the charts for the Central Arkansas corner. Rochell has ideal arm length (32.5”), speed (4.39 40), and explosiveness at the position (42” vertical and 133” broad jump). From a traits perspective, he should likely be drafted on day two, but with such a loaded cornerback class, some of these top 100ish players are going to slide. If Rochell is still hanging around in the fifth or sixth round, the Cowboys should 100% pull the trigger on the small school corner prospect.
College Football returns tonight as Central Arkansas faces Austin Peay (9 pm ET, ESPN).— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) August 29, 2020
Meet UCA CB Robert Rochell. A profile of his journey and why scouts have him labeled as “the most interesting” prospect playing this weekend.
: https://t.co/ejHwrCX0Bw pic.twitter.com/HSG3Idewqy