The Cowboys could benefit from something that hasn’t happened in the NFL draft in more than 60 years - Michael Gehlken, DMN
The Cowboys may get lucky as offensive players are all the rage at the top of the draft.
If first-round defenders were televisions, Dallas seems likely to be most interested in a very specific model, a cornerback with great length, technique and ball skills suiting coordinator Dan Quinn’s defense. Two such options are second-generation NFL products, one manufactured at Alabama and the other at South Carolina.
In other drafts, the Cowboys might worry that neither Patrick Surtain II nor Jaycee Horn will remain available by their turn to shop.
Not this year.
Thursday’s first round is expected to open with an unusual run on offensive players. In fact, the level to which the quarterback, offensive line and receiver aisles are stormed could be historical. Conceivably, this could leave the Cowboys with their pick of every defender in the store at the No. 10 overall pick.
Another Tony Pollard wouldn’t be bad for business.
While you hope for longtime starters and Pro Bowlers from any round of the draft, a guy like Pollard is a more realistic best-case scenario for your picks from the 3rd-5th rounds. Someone who can hit the ground running (no pun intended) and provide immediate depth, plus starting potential, is huge.
Just look at the value Pollard’s already provided and still is for the Cowboys. He’s only halfway through his rookie contract and counted less than $1 million in each of the last two seasons. Tony’s 2021 cap hit is right at $1 million and is still a nice discount for a backup RB and versatile offensive weapon.
Comparatively, Alfred Morris averaged about $1.75 million each season when he was serving as Zeke’s backup from 2016-2017.
Pollard isn’t the only mid-round win Dallas has had recently. We’re heading into this season with Michael Gallup (3rd round) and Tyler Biadasz (4th round) as projected starters on offense, plus Connor McGovern (3rd round) and Dalton Schultz (4th round) in key depth roles.
2021 NFL Draft: Nick Bolton a Day 2 Name to Watch for the Dallas Cowboys - John Williams, Inside the Star
Linebacker aid wouldn’t be too shabby either.
One such position that seems settled at the moment but really isn’t is the linebacker spot. Jaylon Smith was great in 2018 but has only been solid to average since. He’s showing difficulty changing direction and at times gets caught trying to do to much in the running game. With some improved defensive tackle play, perhaps Smith can return to the player he was in 2018, but that remains to be seen.
Leighton Vander Esch similarly played great in his rookie season, but has dropped off the last two seasons as injuries have limited him and taken a toll on his play. Vander Esch has missed 13 games the last two seasons combined and if his neck continues to be a problem, could lead to more missed time. It’s unlikely that the Dallas Cowboys will pick up Vander Esch’s fully guaranteed fifth-year option, which would be for about $9 million because of the uncertainty of his health. However, at such a low price, they could take a gamble that Vander Esch stays healthy and provides that level of play.
This is why there has been a lot of talk about drafting a linebacker in the 2021 NFL Draft. The Cowboys have both short and long-term needs at the position. Names like Micah Parsons and Zaven Collins have dominated the Dallas Cowboys linebacker draft discussions, but one name that isn’t getting enough discussion is Missouri Linebacker Nick Bolton.
Several experts believe this answer is a yes.
Every season there is a lot of hype, and subsequent hope, when it comes to the Cowboys and their aspirations. This year? Not only will the Cowboys have a mostly healthy roster, but they will also add talent with the 10th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
With a seemingly gifted roster, it leads the question: Just how talented is the group compared to the rest of the NFL?”
According to Pro Football Focus, which analyzed all 32 teams and their rosters, the Dallas Cowboys come in with the ninth overall most talented roster. This list was ranked by predicted wins above replacement (WAR) of each of the players on the roster.
As PFF points out, the reason Dallas is ranked so high is because of their potent offense and the return of franchise quarterback Prescott. It is not hard to extrapolate that the offense could once again be high powered with the likes of running back Ezekiel Elliott and receivers CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup.
Will dreams come true?
Realistic Dream Pick: Caleb Farley, CB
Not everyone’s going to like this pick because Caleb Farley has some serious medical issues that need to be addressed. But once upon a time, he was considered the clear CB1 in this class. He has the strong film and the highest athletic ceiling.
His unplanned back surgery last month threw a wrench in things and caused him to fall below Surtain and even Horn. But the Dallas Cowboys aren’t scared of drafting injured players if they see a full recovery on the horizon. And if that’s the case here, they wouldn’t hesitate to grab Farley at 20.
As we’ve discussed in the past, this isn’t another back injury Farley has suffered. It’s part of the original injury that was never fully addressed. Doctors hoped he could heal without surgery on this disk, but when it became clear he couldn’t, they essentially finished the first procedure.
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