The 2021 draft for the Dallas Cowboys has been a strictly defensive affair before the team picked offensive tackle Josh Ball. The Cowboys were looking for a developmental tackle in the draft because they don’t need one to play this year. Tyron Smith and La’el Collins will be the starters, and Ty Nsekhe will be the swing tackle, so Josh Ball will have a lot of time to develop. And that is the key word with him, developmental. He has skills, but will need time.
Ball is a very tall tackle at 6’ 8” and this can sometimes cause him problems like playing over his toes and reaching, and a high-pad level is something he’s going to have to constantly be ware of. He shows good footwork and could be a future left tackle in the league. His pass run blocking could use development at this point in his career, although he moves well and can get to the second-level and perform down blocks.
Ball had originally signed with Florida State in 2016 but was eventually dismissed from the team. He is another Cowboys draft pick in 2021 that has some off-the-field issues in his background. His issue with dating violence is problematic and something that many will not be on board with, each person will have to come to their own conclusions on that issue. He will be watched closely for any slip-ups in the future.
He eventually went the JUCO route before ending up with Marshall. In 2020 he was an all conference player in Conference USA.
By all accounts, Ball has the potential to eventually be a starter in the NFL, but still has work to do. He will probably want to add mass to his large frame. He has athletic traits and shows good lateral movement combined with quality footwork. In fact, there is a thought that he moves too quickly and is over-responsive at times which can take him out of position.
Ball’s size and potential for development are his selling points, but his background with dating violence issues on his character probably turned a lot of teams off. The Cowboys have shown previously, and this year, that they are willing to take on risky picks with background issues.
Ball has potential. Whether he can develop it and stay out of trouble will be the key to his success.