Film room: 3 best value picks for Cowboys in their 2021 draft class - John Owning, Dallas Morning News
Which draft pick do you think will provide the most value?
You know that feeling when you’re the only person among a group to laugh at someone’s joke? I felt that same way when the Cowboys selected defensive lineman Osa Odighizuwa with the first of their three third-round picks. While many were lamenting that Odighizuwa was picked a round too early, I was ecstatic that Dallas grabbed one of my pet cats. I’m confident that Cowboys will get great value out of this third-rounder.
Now, I’ll be honest, turn on the tape of UCLA’s defense last year and it’s easy to be underwhelmed. Odighizuwa never played poorly, but he just didn’t rack up the gaudy statistics you’d expect, as he never posted more than five sacks or 30 stops in a season.
However, it’s important context to know Odighizuwa’s impact was consistently blunted by UCLA’s defensive scheme, as the tendency to play with three-man surfaces up front enabled opposing offenses to consistently double team Odighizuwa at the point-of-attack. In addition, Odighizuwa was forced to occupy and control blockers rather than attack upfield, which hindered his ability to create disruption in opposing backfield — though it did develop his ability to take on and control blockers — while the volume of slanting and looping pass-rush paths blunted his impact as a pass-rusher.
While there are always winners from the draft, there are also always losers. Check out which players on the current roster had their stock drop the most last weekend.
DE Dorance Armstrong. The Cowboys keep adding young defensive ends and it may finally be too much for Armstrong in his fourth season. With Iowa’s Chauncey Golston coming in the 3rd Round, Dorance may no longer have a chair when the music stops. Armstrong was a 4th-round pick in 2018 but has had limited opportunities in his first three seasons. While he may still be one of the better pure pass rushers in the backup mix, Dorance has now been here a while and is on his third defensive coordinator.
One saving grace for Armstrong could be Dan Quinn’s comments after the draft that Dallas will still employ some looks from the 3-4 defense. While on the smaller side to be a pure 4-3 defensive end, Dorance is one of the best options to play in an OLB/Edge role.
In the end, Dallas may look to fill the depth chart with less-experienced developmental options like Golston, Bradlee Anae, and Ron’Dell Carter. A 3rd-round pick is no small investment in Golston, so that makes one guy that Dorance Armstrong will have an especially hard time beating for a roster spot.
The Cowboys desperately need their rookie class to make an immediate impact. Here are three players who have the best shot at doing that.
LB Jabril Cox. The Cowboys didn't stop drafting defensive players after the first two picks. All five of their Day 1 and 2 picks were on the defensive side of the ball, but they may have found another immediate contributor in LSU linebacker Jabril Cox. Cox was the 132nd player and 11th linebacker on our big board, but that was lower than consensus. He was 48th overall and a projected second-round pick, according to NFL Mock Draft Database's aggregated data.
The linebacker transferred from North Dakota State after three seasons to play his final year at LSU. Regardless of where he was playing, it was his coverage abilities that stood out. According to PFF, he played 1,114 snaps of pass coverage at both schools and only gave up two touchdowns while picking off two passes.
The knock on the 23-year-old, and the reason why he's a tough evaluation, is his run defense. He is much more likely to attempt to run around blocks and rely on his athleticism to make the play instead of engaging and shedding blockers. Given Dallas' run defense last season, that may keep Cox off the field on run downs. But his ability to cover is going to be the ticket on to the field in situational football. Early Stats Predictions: 32 tackles, two interceptions, three passes defended
It’s never too early to look ahead.
1. Offensive Tackle. How many more years will we get out of Tyron Smith’s neck and back? This is the question that will come up every offseason. And every offseason, the Cowboys will need to have a backup plan capable of playing at least three games for them in that season. Smith has missed at least three games a season since 2016. La’el Collins showed some injury warts last year as well. The Dallas Cowboys are looking to get by with these two, hoping they’ll return to an optimal level of health, but they hedged their bets by signing veteran offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe in free agency.
At some point they’ll need a long-term option to replace Smith and 2022 might be the year to pull the trigger. But much of their need for offensive tackle will depend on how healthy Smith and Collins are in 2021.
Dallas Cowboys: 3 positions where signing a free agent still makes sense - Steven Mullenax, FanSided's The Landry Hat
There are still some quality players on the open market that the Cowboys could pursue.
Cornerback. With a whopping 13 players on the Cowboys’ current roster having their listed position as a cornerback or defensive back, there are plenty of bodies vying for a limited amount of spots on the depth chart. And the newest addition, second-round rookie Kelvin Joseph, enters his first season with the highest of expectations.
Still, rookie corners often need extra time to develop into starters, regardless of their draft status. With that in mind, signing a veteran free agent with starting experience (perhaps even someone familiar with Dan Quinn’s scheme) that can be a bridge for Joseph alongside current veterans like Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis makes too much sense.
Potential Free Agent Targets: Richard Sherman, Casey Hayward, Bashaud Breeland, Steven Nelson
ICYMI:The 2021 Dallas Cowboys Draft Class officially has their jersey numbers! - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys
A full list of jersey numbers for the entire 2021 draft class.
It has not even been a week since the 2021 NFL Draft was completed, and with it the 11 picks made by the Dallas Cowboys, but we are all very excited to see the incoming rookie class in action.
One of the more exciting things in the aftermath of the draft is rookies being assigned (or choosing) their new jersey numbers. We now live in a world where a number (no pun intended) of different players have far less restrictions on what they can wear and that is evidenced by the Cowboys’ first-round pick in Micah Parsons. He will be wearing number 11.
The Cowboys announced the jersey numbers for their entire rookie class on Wednesday. Only Parsons is representing a traditionally unconventional number for his position in 11. Apparently Cedrick Wilson - who previously held the number - is switching to number 1 which he wore in college, which was something that was also previously not allowed for wide receivers. Welcome to the new normal.
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