Everybody has their favorite prospects they’d like to see the Dallas Cowboys draft at some point in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. Cheering on and crossing your fingers for the players you’d like to see join America’s Team is part of the fun, and that is the topic of the day for this article.
Opinions, of course, will vary, but today we’ll examine a player from each position that would be a perfect fit to join the Dallas Cowboys. We’re keeping it as realistic as possible, so you won’t see any Kyle Pitts or Penei Sewell anywhere on the list. Each one of the players listed below could be in play for the Cowboys at some point in the draft.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
QB Sam Ehlinger, Texas
It’s highly unlikely the Dallas Cowboys invest much, if any, draft capital in the QB position in the 2021 NFL Draft. If they do it will likely be on a developmental prospect like Sam Ehlinger. He reminds a little bit of Jalen Hurts coming out of college last year and a little of Dak Prescott coming out of Mississippi State. All three were strong, mobile QBs with questionable arm strength and accuracy coming out of college.
RB Kene Nwangwu, Iowa State
Like with QB, it’s unlikely the Cowboys invest much in the RB position with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard already in the mix. Taking a late-round flyer on a player like Kene Nwangwu isn’t out of the question though. Buried on the depth chart behind David Montgomery and Breece Hall, he didn’t see much action during his time at Iowa State, but when he did he showed game-breaking ability. He could serve the same type of role with the Cowboys and factor in as a kick returner as well.
WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Iowa
Ihmir Smith-Marsette is a smooth moving WR with natural speed to threaten defenses vertically in the passing game. He has inside/outside versatility and is a dangerous threat on gadget plays such as end arounds, jet sweeps, and reverses. He also has special teams value as a kick returner. He could carve out a niche role with the Cowboys early on as a deep threat and versatility to play multiple roles. He could also be in the mix as Michael Gallup’s eventual replacement in the not-too-distant future.
TE Shaun Beyer, Iowa
Shaun Beyer is a former WR turned TE who spent the majority of his career at Iowa playing in the shadows of both TJ Hockenson and Noah Fant. He flashes the ability to be a consistent weapon as both a blocker or and receiver, but may never be anything more than a TE2 at the next level. With Dalton Schultz entering a contract year and the unknown about how Blake Jarwin will return from his season-ending knee injury, the Cowboys could use more depth at the position.
OT D’Ante Smith, East Carolina
The Cowboys need to start thinking about life without Tyron Smith. Finding his eventual replacement sooner rather than later could lead them to D’Ante Smith, an intriguing developmental OT prospect. At 6’5”, 305 pounds he has the prototypical size for the position, but it’s his length (35” arms, 85” wingspan) that immediately passes the eye test. He does need to clean up his technique, however, he has starting potential in a year or two with a little more time to develop his craft.
IOL Robert Hainsey, Notre Dame
Robert Hainsey was a three-year starting right tackle and two-year team captain during his time at Notre Dame. What’s most intriguing about him is the fact that he has four position flex and we all know how much the Cowboys love that kind of versatility. It’s possible he could be a 10+ year starter at either RT, C, or either OG positions at the next level. He would provide much-needed depth on the Cowboys interior OL and has a chance to become a starter as soon as next season.
EDGE Dayo Odeyingbo, Vanderbilt
Dayo Odeyingbo is an EDGE prospect who possesses a similar skill set to that of the recently retired Tyrone Crawford. At 6’5”, 285 pounds he has the versatility to play both on the outside as a DE and the ability to kick inside to DT as well. He’s an explosive athlete with impressive length (35 ¼” arms, 86 3/8 wingspan) and starting potential. He did have a recent Achilles injury that could mean he needs a redshirt season, but is upside is worth stashing for a year if need be.
DT Alim McNeill, NC State
If the Dallas Cowboys come out of the 2021 NFL Draft with only one DT, it should be Alim McNeill. He’s a perfect fit as a 1-tech in Dan Quinn’s 4-3 system. He’s a strong player who knows how to utilize his length to his advantage. He consistently sets and resets the line of scrimmage in both the running and passing game and he surprisingly has a little juice as a pass rusher as well. He’s just starting to scratch the surface of his talent.
LB Jamin Davis, Kentucky
Jamin Davis is my favorite LB prospect in the entire 2021 draft class for the Cowboys. He has the versatility to play all three LB positions in the 4-3 defensive scheme and the sideline-to-sideline range to be a difference maker. Due to concerns with both Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, the Cowboys could be looking to add an LB early and Davis definitely the bill and could be the future of the position. His athleticism and length remind a lot of Indianapolis Colts LB Darius Leonard.
CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
Jaycee Horn should be the top cornerback prospect in the entire 2021 draft class. He has the ability to play out of the slot or on the outside, and the physicality with which he plays the position is something currently lacking in Dallas’ secondary. His attitude, feistiness, and physicality brings to mind Jalen Ramsey, who the Cowboys passed over for Ezekiel Elliott back in 2016. He brings more to the table than Patrick Surtain and would be a perfect fit opposite Trevon Diggs
S Ar’Darius Washington, TCU
Ar’Darius Washington is proof that big things can come in small packages. At 5’8”, 180 pounds he’s definitely on the small side, but he makes up for his small stature with his read-and-react skills and awareness in coverage. If he wasn’t a little undersized, we’d be hearing his name mentioned as one of the best safety prospects in the 2021 draft class, but that sadly is not the case. Regardless, though, he has starting potential and would provide much-needed depth early on for the Cowboys.