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2021 NFL Draft Grades: Cowboys’ Day Two grades are all over the place

A review of the draft grades the Cowboys have received so far for their second-day picks.

NFL: NOV 12 Cowboys at Falcons Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In contract theory and economics, information asymmetry describes situations where one party has more or better information than the other.

Such an information asymmetry also exists between NFL teams and fans, and more so this year than ever before, as the pandemic has wreaked havoc with the usual pre-draft process. Suddenly, teams are drafting players you’ve never heard about before; players you worry may not even make the team.

But is that because teams like the Cowboys know exactly what they are doing and may “eventually look like geniuses here,” as one grader writes, did they perhaps task Dan Quinn with building a Seattle-style defense in one draft as another grader opines, or is this just your big dumb team trying and failing to outsmart everyone else once again?

Only time will tell.

Here’s a quick look at some of the media grades that have come in so far for the Cowboys picks yesterday.

51. Dallas Cowboys - Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Grade: A-

The Cowboys addressed their greatest need with a big corner with natural coverage ability built to handle all types of receivers on the outside. He has good ball skills and can be physical, which also makes him an asset against the run. Joseph enjoyed a late rise into Round 2 consideration.

Chris Trapasso, CBSSports: Grade: B+

Some inconsistencies on film staying in phase, but also some high-level reps. Watch the Alabama game. Covered those receivers better than anyone. Long, explosive, plant-and-drive cornerback. Cowboys had to address the corner spot.

Steven Ruiz and Charles McDonald, For The Win: Grade: B-

More help for the the Cowboys defense. Joseph isn’t the most polished cornerback prospect, but he’s got athleticism for days, running a 4.34 40-yard dash at Kentucky’s Pro Day.

SI.com: Grade: B-

This is a risky pick in the top 50. Joseph has all the talent in the world, but there are significant concerns surrounding him. If he can mature on and off the field, the Cowboys will get a longtime starter. That is a big if, but the Cowboys don’t have much talent in their cornerback room.

Brent Sobleski, Bleacher Report: Grade: C

Uncertainly swirls around Kentucky cornerback Kelvin Joseph.

Joseph flashed first-round capabilities during his time on the field. But inconsistencies with his performance coupled with limited opportunities shroud exactly what type of prospect he really is.

Eric Edholm, Yahoo Sports: Grade: C

Classic boom-or-bust pick. The Cowboys wanted to move up for Tyson Campbell, we believe, but settled for another long, athletic corner in Joseph. He brings character concerns, irritating two different coaching staffs (LSU and Kentucky), so Mike McCarthy and Dan Quinn could have their hands full. If he matures, Joseph has some serious skill. He’s a blazer with ball skills.

Sheil Kapadia, The Athletic: Grade: C

He started his career at LSU before transferring to Kentucky. Joseph (6 feet, 197 pounds) ran a 4.34 and has the measurables to be an NFL corner. But he had just nine total starts, and according to The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, some teams have maturity concerns about Joseph. He’s a boom-or-bust type of prospect.

75. Dallas Cowboys - Osa Odighizuwa, DT, UCLA

SI.com: Grade: A-

The Cowboys continue to improve their defense. Odighizuwa was a Senior Bowl standout, showing the ability to play all over the defensive line. He uses leverage, quick hands, athleticism and length to beat blocks and get after quarterbacks.

Chris Trapasso, CBSSports: Grade: A-

Leverage monster who gets up and under blockers and drives them back. Decent hand work. Athleticism is solid too. Deceptively long. Overachiever who’ll create disruption for Dallas.

Sheil Kapadia, The Athletic: Grade: B

Odighizuwa (6-foot-2, 282 pounds) had 11.5 sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss in 43 games at UCLA. He played nose tackle in the Bruins’ 3-4 scheme. Odighizuwa should get a chance to compete for playing time right away and if nothing else could be a rotational pass rusher for Dallas.

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Grade: B

The Cowboys stayed on track with another solid player for their defensive rebuild, a strong 4-3 rotational tackle who supports his quickness in getting into the backfield with consistent high effort.

Steven Ruiz and Charles McDonald, For The Win: Grade: C+

Odighizuwa makes sense in a Dan Quinn defense. He’s a big dude who can control blockers and he’s relentless after the ball is snapped. If he can turn into a productive pass rusher, that will be a bonus.

Eric Edholm, Yahoo Sports: Grade: C

His older brother played for the Giants, but now he’s with their rivals in Dallas. Odighizuwa is an undersized 3-technique who can make up for his lack of height with 34-inch arms, but he was up and down in his career with the Bruins despite playing a lot the past three seasons. He’s not a special specimen but has impressive flashes and could be solid in a rotation.

Brent Sobleski, Bleacher Report: Grade: D

The idea of becoming more stout at the point of attack by adding a 282-pound interior defender doesn’t entirely compute.

UCLA’s Osa Odighizuwa is stronger than his frame suggests, but he’ll now be facing professional offensive linemen who know how to use their size and bulk to their advantage. While the Cowboys needed defensive tackle help, this might not have been the way to go.

84. Dallas Cowboys - Chauncey Golston, DE, Iowa

Sheil Kapadia, The Athletic: Grade: B

Golston (6-foot-5, 269 pounds) had 12 sacks, 27 tackles for loss, 10 passes defended and three interceptions in 43 games for the Hawkeyes. He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection last year and a team captain. He’s a fine option here as a rotational pass rusher who can line up on the edge or the interior.

Steven Ruiz and Charles McDonald, For The Win: Grade: B-

Cowboys needed some defensive line depth and maybe Golston can hit for them. He’ll be an average athlete at the next level but was dependable at Iowa and generally does not play himself out of position. He’s not going to wow anyone but his high floor makes this a decent value.

Eric Edholm, Yahoo Sports: Grade: C+

More defensive help for Dallas in Golston, a hard-nosed end with great length and some power to his game. When moving in a straight line, Golston looks pretty quick at times. But when asked to change direction and turn the corner, he looks stiff. A base end with rotational value. Not an exciting pick, but he could carve out a solid career

Chris Trapasso, CBSSports: Grade: C+

Hand work machine. Big, crazy long. But limited athletically. Not much spring or bend. Sensible position to address for Cowboys.

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Grade: D

Dallas wasted a pick here for its defensive rebuild on a prospect who was a consensus deep Day 3 pick. Golston does a lot of little things well as a more well-rounded 4-3 end, but he has some lacking power to slide inside and some lacking athleticism to be trusted in the pass rush outside. He’s a limited backup at best.

Brent Sobleski, Bleacher Report: Grade: D

Osa Odighizuwa is an undersized defensive tackle who will likely experience issues with bigger and more physical NFL linemen. Chauncey Golston is a defensive end whose best qualities are holding the point of attack and playing along the interior in sub-packages instead of actually rushing the passer from the edge.

Dallas may take a mix-and-match approach with its defensive line rotation, but its two third-round picks are basically bodies to fill out the lineup.

SI.com: Grade: D-

This is a shocker on day two. Golston has big hands and was solid at the Senior Bowl, but this is a reach. He looked like a day three value. Golston is a better run defender than pass rusher, which could hurt his value at the next level.

99. Dallas Cowboys - Nahshon Wright, CB, Oregon St.

SI.com: Grade: B-

A converted wide receiver, Wright is 6’4” and has great ball skills to win at the catch point. He fits the zone defense that Dallas employs and has the instincts and hands to be a playmaker.

Brent Sobleski, Bleacher Report: Grade: C

Nahshon Wright is Dallas’ second cornerback selection after Kelvin Joseph. The 6’4” Wright has the length to excel in zone coverage and constrict passing lanes.

Steven Ruiz and Charles McDonald, For The Win: Grade: C

The Cowboys must have let Dan Quinn take over the draft on Day 2 because this is another Seattle-style pick. Wright is a big corner who looks more like a safety. With his struggles in man coverage, that might be a move he makes eventually.

Eric Edholm, Yahoo Sports: Grade: C-

A shockingly long corner (over 6-foot-4) but painfully lean (182 pounds) corner who opened eyes in two years after a junior college stint. Wright works well as a press-man corner and could be effective in the Cowboys’ cover-3 looks, but he’s still raw and too easily pushed around if receivers can get off his jam.

Chris Trapasso, CBSSports: Grade: D+

Tall, long cornerback who wasn’t really on the radar this early. Needs to sit on underneath routes but doesn’t have the speed to run with NFL receivers.

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Grade: D

The Cowboys went for another cornerback but this one is an absolute late-round style reach. Wright has a big frame which padded his production resume, but he has a long way to go before he can be trusted in key coverage against NFL wide receivers.

Sheil Kapadia, The Athletic: Grade: D

Maybe the Cowboys will eventually look like geniuses here, but this selection was one of the round’s biggest head-scratchers.

Wright moved from junior college to Oregon State in 2019. He started 16 games in two seasons and had 11 passes defended with five interceptions. Wright is tall (6-foot-4) and has long arms. Plus he ran a 4.47. Perhaps the Cowboys saw the traits and felt like they could develop Wright into a starter. But he turns 24 in September and was not among Brugler’s top-300 prospects.


Chad Reuter of NFL.com gives the Cowboys an A- for their first three rounds:

The Cowboys didn’t get a cornerback in the first round, so selecting Joseph to fill that need in Round 2 was a sound decision. The former LSU recruit has the talent to be special. Odighizuwa can play inside or outside for the Cowboys, using his length and active playing style. Golston is the young power defensive end Dallas needed to add in this draft. Wright was a reach in the top 100, in my opinion, but he has potential as an outside corner with the height to battle big NFL receivers.


Now that you’ve had a night to sleep over it, how do you feel about the Cowboys’ Day Two draft haul?