The Cowboys’ mission in the ‘21 draft was not unbeknownst to us. They had a blatant desire to ramp up their defensive efficiency once a chaotic ‘20 season came to a close, and based on their deficiencies on that side of the football throughout the year, their desperation for troops in the offseason came as no surprise.
Several free agent signings, plus a slew of draft picks, along with the arrival of new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will be a mixture that Dallas hopes will achieve far greater results than the ones they produced last year.
Acquisitions like Keanu Neal, Brent Urban and Damontae Kazee will certainly provide the team with savvy veteran leadership, and in-game experience that simply can’t be coached. Meanwhile, the new ‘Boys acquired through the draft process are ready and willing to earn their wings on the professional level.
They’ve got a number one pick who’s primed to take over the linebacking corp, and become a stable force up the middle for years to come. They’ve got a highly-thought-of corner who they’re hoping will develop into a lockdown stalwart on the outside. And they’ve bolstered nearly every area with pieces that are expected to come in and make an immediate impact.
One such man is Jabril Cox, a former three-time FCS champ with the North Dakota State Bison who starred at LSU in 2020. The 6’4, 231-lb Kansas City, Missouri product registered 58 total tackles, three interceptions and a lone sack in his senior campaign.
The Cowboys’ fourth-round selection is projected to get opportunities to exert his talents with in-game situations early and often at the Star, and his versatility, combined with an upper-echelon coverage ability is an asset Dallas has missed out on for a long time.
Cox is the consummate cover-man from the outside linebacker’s spot. He spent a majority of his tenure with the Tigers on the defensive end’s hip, or just behind him, which allowed him to slide up and prevent outside run attempts, while still being able to trek backwards on pass plays to track receivers coming over the middle.
He’ll be crucial in nickel and dime packages when the pass is expected, and can make up for some of the deficiencies that hamper the likes of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch in those situations.
His lateral quickness is a forte of his game, and his ability to unleash speed spurts both northwards, and south will be invaluable.
The biggest calling card for Cox, at least athletically, is his explosiveness. Moving downhill, Cox accelerates rapidly, and his straight-line burst can create problems for players who linger in the backfield too long.
Cox’s ability to cover ground quickly also helps in coverage. There, he has the traits to hawk in front of short and intermediate routes, and he found great success doing this, as evidenced by his nine career interceptions. Additionally, his burst enhances his pass-rushing utility. If he’s unblocked, he can absolutely wreck plays.
Athleticism is indubitably plentiful in Cox’s skillset, and if he can combine those tools with hard work in film sessions, and a cerebral knack for reading offenses, he’ll be a key cog in disrupting passing schemes for years to come.