It has officially been one week since the Dallas Cowboys finalized their 2021 draft class and we have all had an opportunity to sit and reflect on it since then. There wasn’t a whole lot that shocked people when it came to the Cowboys outside of the Nahshon Wright pick. While it wasn’t the same sort of draft as last year in terms of maximizing value with every pick, it did line up with what the team has said will be the focus all offseason long: improving the defense and improving speed.
Dallas began the draft with 10 picks and many thought that this many selections would provide them an opportunity to move up if they truly liked somebody in a given round. Not only did the Cowboys not trade up, but they even moved back in the first round and picked up an extra third-round pick in the process giving them 11 total picks. And they made 11 selections.
There are obviously some picks that you likely loved and some that left you scratching your head. In the spirit of optimism let’s ask the question: who was your favorite 2021 Dallas Cowboys draft pick?
There are many who probably do not view this pick as their favorite of the class simply off of the fact that it’s hard, no matter how good they are, to justify a linebacker with the 12th overall pick. Value is an important piece of context here.
That being said, Parsons represents a lot of hope at the linebacker spot when it comes to the football aspect. His athleticism is something that the position has been lacking for some time and frankly something the team has tried and failed to find in his predecessors. What is particularly noteworthy about Parsons’ selection is that it allowed the Cowboys the flexibility to decline Leighton Vander Esch’s fifth-year option on Monday, proving that they are seemingly done settling within the middle of their defense.
It is quite possible, it is in fact probable, that Parsons winds up being the best player from this Cowboys draft class. However, the value again is something that sticks in people’s craws and so it is a difficult thing to take in overall.
Grading off of value it is difficult not to think that Jabril Cox was the best selection that the Dallas Cowboys made all throughout the 2021 NFL Draft. They landed a player many thought would go as high as the second round with the 115th overall pick. That is pretty incredible.
Cox is also regarded as the most versatile coverage linebacker in the class which is something that could go a long way in Dan Quinn’s defense. Having someone that can play in space and drop back makes them all the more valuable which means that Cox should have a role immediately given the current linebackers’ inability to do what he does best.
Obviously the Cowboys did not address cornerback with their first-round pick, and that was really because they didn’t have the opportunity to do so with Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain II going with the two picks before they first came on the clock.
After taking Parsons in round one, the Cowboys did walk away with Kentucky’s Kelvin Joseph. The future of the secondary is being entrusted to both Joseph and last year’s second-round pick, Trevon Diggs. They should be the team’s top cornerbacks in no time, but there is a sense of settling associated with this pick.
None of that is meant to serve as a knock against Joseph in any way, but many fans will forever wish that he was either Horn or Surtain fairly or unfairly. Joseph certainly has the athleticism to develop into an elite NFL cornerback some day, but whether or not he reaches that ceiling will determine how he is viewed by people forever.
We shouldn’t slight the rest of the picks. There are different reasons you may prefer one of the other picks. Maybe it’s the versatility of defensive lineman Osa Odighizuwa, or the stability of defensive end Chauncey Golston. It could be the size of the two secondary picks Nahshon Wright and Israel Mukuamu. The sheer athleticism and size of wide receiver Simi Fehoko has a lot going for it. Josh Ball has a ton of upside at tackle, Quinton Bohanna gives the Cowboys the 1-tech they’ve long sought, and Matt Farniok is very versatile in the interior of the offensive line.