This is an exciting time for rookies coming into the NFL, some would say this is the best day of their lives, but for every happy rookie there’s an NFL veteran who is now questioning his future with the team. Those veterans who may have thought they were in good standing with the team are now wondering if they are on the chopping block this season or next season. With OTA’s and training camp around the corner, these players are now going to be in a battle to see who will be a starter or backup and who will be looking for a new team in the near future.
This is what is currently happening with the Dallas Cowboys roster. Veterans who have either had injury issues or a lack of production on the field will be looking over their shoulder for an approaching rookie. Let’s take a look at the winners and losers coming out of this 2021 Draft for the Cowboys who used 11 picks to rebuild their roster.
Linebackers Micah Parsons and Jabril Cox
The Dallas Cowboys made it very clear that their biggest priority in the draft would be to bring in players on defense that would be able to help this team either now or in the next two seasons. Their picks at linebacker give them the ability to do that immediately. Parsons is a genetic freak who has the speed to cover sideline-to-sideline, rush the passer, stop the run and drop back into zone coverage.
Cox may not have all of the skills that Parsons has but there is one thing that he does very well on the field and that’s cover running backs and tight ends. Pairing him with Parsons on the field gives the Cowboys speed and would allow the Cowboys to stop allowing teams to isolate their linebackers in coverage. Both of these players would be able to immediately contribute on defense for the Cowboys with Parsons being a likely starter coming into camp.
Cornerback Kelvin Joseph
The Cowboys past decisions to pass on players with questionable pasts or who just didn’t fit the mold of the “right kind of guy” meant passing on some talented players. The fact that the Cowboys decided to take Joseph looks like they are now focusing more on the talent and that is a blessing for Joseph who was falling thanks to questions about his love for the game.
Joseph’s talent on the field can’t be denied and the Cowboys saw that and took him in the second round. Their need at the position now has Joseph in a position to come in and immediately start opposite last year’s second-round pick in Trevon Diggs. If he’s able to focus on football instead of his rap career, has the potential to be a great player for the Cowboys.
Safeties Donovan Wilson and Damontae Kazee
Once again the Cowboys got our hopes up that they were going to take a starting caliber safety out of this draft class and plug him into a position that has been a need for years. While Cowboy fans aren’t too happy about this, safeties Kazee and Wilson should be very happy about the fact that the pick wasn’t made. Wilson can come in knowing that he’s going to be this team’s starting strong safety, and as long as Kazee is healthy he will be coming in as the Cowboys starting free safety.
The Cowboys did say that they would be trying out some corners at safety, but the starting safeties in the immediate future are Kazee and Wilson.
Wide Receiver Simi Fehoko
The Cowboys didn’t really need to take a player at this position but they did and that’s a big win for Fehoko who’s coming to an offense that already is seen as a juggernaut when everyone is healthy. The reason this is a win for Fehoko is that he can come in and immediately challenge for the fourth receiver position. But next year, with both Cedrick Wilson and Michael Gallup’s futures uncertain, he could move up. He will be able to show his abilities early with a high chance of seeing the field on occasion and set himself up for the future.
Defensive Tackle Quinton Bohanna
The Cowboys have needed to true run-stopping defensive tackle with the ability to take on double teams. Bohanna, who was one of the bigger defensive tackles in this draft, comes in and could get serious playing time on this defensive line if the Cowboys see him as a better fit over current starter Antwuan Woods. It’s a great place to land for Bohanna.
Linebackers Leighton Vander Esch, Luke Gifford, Francis Bernard
The Cowboys made two big moves at linebacker in this draft and that puts into question the futures of Gifford and Bernard who weren’t drafted by this coaching staff. The biggest loser, though, out of this group has to be Leighton Vander Esch who is the current starter but the drafting of Parsons in the first round leaves his status with the team beyond this year in question. The Cowboys have yet to announce picking up his fifth-year option which leads many to believe this could be his last year with the team.
Jaylon Smith could also be on this list but the Cowboys allowed his signing bonus to hit their cap when they could have released him earlier in the offseason. So for right now, Smith seems to be safe but if he doesn’t step his game up he could be out the door with LVE, and Jabril Cox could take his spot.
Wide Receivers Noah Brown and Cedrick Wilson
The Cowboys new coaching staff has decided to bring in a wide receiver of their choosing in Fehoko. So now he’s already coming in with a leg up on these two receivers because they weren’t picked by this staff. They may give him more opportunities in training camp to succeed and push one of these receivers down the roster or even off it. Only time will tell, but as of right now these two are going to be fighting each other for a spot on a roster.
Defensive Tackle Antwaun Woods
Woods has been performing okay at defensive tackle for the Cowboys. The problem for Woods has been his up and down play during the season. At times he’s able to control the line of scrimmage and open up lanes for linebackers, but far too often he’s being blocked out of the play and the linebackers can’t get past offensive linemen at that point. So the Cowboys bringing in Bohanna is kinda of a big deal for Woods as Bohanna is a lot bigger and has shown that he can take on double teams and make things easier for linebackers on a more consistent basis. Woods will be coming into camp ahead on the roster, but Bohanna has a lot of time to show he can take over the position.