This is the time of year where there seems to be thousands of mock drafts circulating and every top prospect has been analyzed and scrutinized. You have read every Top 100 list, and you’ve had a ‘pet cat’ prospect in mind for months. As we approach closer to draft weekend, mock drafts will fade away, all the lists will have been read, and Cowboys fans are left pondering just how important this draft is for the franchise.
We always hear that every draft is important for the future success of the team, and that every swing and miss on a pick sets the organization back for years, but just how important is this 2021 draft for the Dallas Cowboys? It can’t be understated how massive this draft in particular is as it pertains to the team’s immediate success moving forward. This draft will shape the team’s fortunes for the foreseeable future, more so than others. Understandably, that is said for every draft, and although that statement is true every year, there is much more to factor in for this current Cowboys team.
Dak Prescott finally got paid and with his newly-signed deal comes with a high price tag. As deserved as it may be, it is a lot of money allocated to one position and having immediate team success would make everybody in the organization feel good about the return on their investment. Jerry Jones himself suggested this contract was negotiated with an understanding of how the new television deal would affect future money, alluding to the fact it would give the team the much-needed cap space to build around Prescott as the years went on and the salary cap balloons. Winning with a quarterback that is on a rookie contract is the preferred formula for franchise success. However, it is not the only way to secure a Lombardi Trophy, and Dallas needs to find a way to make sure that happens, sooner rather than later.
The Cowboys can absolutely win now as they have a solid nucleus of leaders on the team that can play winning football, along with a high-powered offense and an assortment of skill-position weapons. Their offensive line, when healthy, is still one of the best units in the league and all indications are is that will be the case heading into the 2021 season.
The defense has issues at every level and this unit is everybody's main concern, however they do have talent to build around. Players such as DeMarcus Lawrence, Trevon Diggs, and Leighton Vander Esch are talented pieces that can be added to. Every Cowboys fan knows that spending big money in free agency is not what they like to do, but drafting well affords them the opportunity to not have to over pay on the free agent market. By being successful during the draft, you can build upon how this team is currently constructed and add players who can produce while being on rookie deals.
Mike McCarthy and his staff know just how important it is to get it right this year. Last year was tough for every team as they all dealt with unprecedented challenges, but it seemed from the start the Cowboys could never gain traction to really be a threat and that wasn't all COVID-19’s fault. The hiring of Dan Quinn coupled with the reemergence of a familiar scheme has the team optimistic that a quick turn around can happen on defense. McCarthy and staff have stated that they like to draft quality football players and build the scheme around them, not the other way around. It is encouraging to think they would have a best player available approach, and if they were to do so and are true to their board, they can have tremendous value at each pick will also adding a high level prospect to better the roster.
Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones reiterates belief in drafting best player available like CeeDee Lamb.— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) April 19, 2021
"If he's by far the best player left on the board, you've got to have confidence you can make that selection," he tells @1053thefan. "Right guy presents himself...be ready to jump."
The draft is going to be defensive minded and coming out of draft weekend with more than a few contributors on that side of the ball needs to be the main goal. If Jerry and Stephen Jones are going to be successful while being frugal on the open free agent market, they have to assure that their draft is a home run.
This team is never short on hype and we have heard for years that they are in their Super Bowl window, but to date the ultimate goal has not been particularly close. The face of the franchise got his money, the defense is getting a second chance, and the offense is loaded. Everything is out there for the taking for this Cowboys team, and nailing this year’s draft will go a long way in determining how high the ceiling really is.