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Best available players on Day 3 in the 2021 NFL Draft for the Cowboys

There are some surprising names still on the board in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Washington State v USC Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Cowboys were apparently very serious about fixing their defense, spending all five of their picks so far, all of which came inside the top 100, on defense. First it was Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, and Friday’s action brought the likes of Kentucky cornerback Kelvin Joseph, UCLA defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa, Iowa defensive end Chauncey Golston, and Oregon State cornerback Nahshon Wright.

But the Cowboys aren’t done yet, or at least they shouldn’t be as far as adding talent on defense goes. Plus, odds are good that they’ll go after at least one offensive player before this draft is over. And luckily for Dallas, there are some good options still on the board at a few positions.

Dallas still doesn’t value safeties, but there are some valuable safeties available

So much for a change in approach to the safety position. We’ll likely never know if the Cowboys’ short-lived attempts at trading up in the second round were for a safety or someone else, but the fact remains that they didn’t spend a single one of their five top 100 picks on a safety. In other words, par for the course in Dallas.

But all hope is not lost! Indiana’s Jamar Johnson would be a really good developmental fit at free safety behind Damontae Kazee, while USC’s Talanoa Hufanga is a versatile, hard-hitting safety who would form a fierce duo with Donovan Wilson. There’s also TCU safety Ar’Darius Washington, whose 5’8”, 176-pound frame has likely contributed to his slide, while Caden Sterns of Texas, James Wiggins of Cincinnati, Damar Hamlin of Pitt, and Richard LeCounte III of Georgia are all still waiting to hear their names called too. If Dallas wants to add a free safety to develop behind Kazee, they have some options, but those guys won’t be there for long.

Is a 1-technique defensive tackle in their sights?

If so, there are still a lot of interesting names out there. Odighizuwa plays defensive tackle, but he’s more of a 3-technique that can flex to end in base packages, so Dallas would still stand to gain from drafting a bigger 1-technique. Both USC tackles, Jay Tufele and Marlon Tuipiulotu, are available and could fill such a role. Iowa’s Daviyon Nixon, Florida State’s Marvin Wilson, and Ohio State’s Tommy Togiai are there too.

If Quinn and the Cowboys really want to go big, and we mean BIG, there’s options there too. Bobby Brown III from Texas A&M, Tyler Shelvin from LSU, Khyiris Tonga from BYU, and Tedarrell Slaton from Florida are all up for grabs; the smallest of those is Brown at 321 pounds, while Slaton tops it off with 350 pounds.

How much are the Cowboys thinking about wide receiver and tight end?

Much has been said about Michael Gallup and his rookie contract approaching its end this year, but the same is true of Dalton Schultz. Of course, Schultz just had a breakout year and could look to get a starting gig in free agency next year, potentially prompting Dallas to draft his successor at TE2.

If so, Dallas is in luck as only five tight ends have been selected thus far. Miami’s Brevin Jordan and TCU’s Pro Wells are the two big names left, while Boise State’s John Bates has been mocked to the Cowboys a few times in the past. There are many more riches at receiver, where USC’s Amon-Ra St. Brown and Oklahoma State’s Tylan Wallace headline the remaining class. Iowa’s Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Arizona State’s Frank Darby, and Illinois’ Josh Imatorbhebhe are other names to watch heading into the fourth round.

Is Tyron Smith’s successor still out there?

Mike McCarthy hinted at the possibility of selecting an offensive lineman in this draft, and the idea of trying to find a developmental tackle as Tyron Smith insurance has been discussed plenty this offseason.

There aren’t a whole lot of options remaining after a run of tackles on Friday, but there are some names to keep an eye on. Jaylon Moore of Western Michigan, Stone Forsythe of Florida, D’Ante Smith of East Carolina, James Hudson of Cincinnati, and Alaric Jackson of Iowa all fit the bill as prospects with a lot of long-term potential who could do well learning under a player like Smith.

Finally, will they take a quarterback?

McCarthy also hinted at wanting to bring in competition for the backup quarterback position, so it’s a real possibility that they target one on the final day. There are plenty of quarterbacks still out there who carry the “developmental” label, which is why they’re still available.

Ian Rapoport reported an interest in Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book, while Texas’ Sam Ehlinger, SMU’s Shane Buechele, Appalachian State’s Zac Thomas, and Wake Forest’s Jamie Newman could all make sense. The question is how early Dallas would be willing to take one of these guys, especially if they don’t fill some of their remaining defensive needs first.