There are several members of the Dallas Cowboys 2021 NFL Draft class that could play pivotal roles for the team this season. The Hall of Fame game will be the first opportunity to really see them in a game-like situation and could be telling as to how much, if any, the coaching staff can rely upon them this year.
The team’s rookies should be on full display in the Hall of Fame game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Many of them will be on the field early and often Thursday night. This will be their first opportunity to prove themselves worthy of a starting job or defined role with the Cowboys this year. As such, there will be plenty of eyes on them in this first preseason game.
Sadly, not all of the Cowboys 2021 NFL Draft class made the trip to Canton, Ohio for this preseason matchup with the Steelers. Third-round pick defensive end Chauncey Gholston and fourth-round pick offensive tackle Josh Ball are among the 16 players that didn’t make the trip for the Hall of Fame game. This is unfortunate, but there’s still plenty of rookies to watch.
#11 LB Micah Parsons
Micah Parsons has had a lot thrown at him in training camp thus far and so far there’s been nothing but good news about the Cowboys first-round draft pick this year. He’s been everything advertised. His athleticism and versatility has been on full display in practice, whether it’s in coverage as a linebacker or as a pass rusher rushing off the edge. As a potential difference-maker this year he tops the list amongst Dallas’ 2021 draft class to watch in the Hall of Fame game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
#24 CB Kelvin Joseph
To date, Kelvin Joseph hasn’t done much to stand out from any of the other cornerbacks currently on the Cowboys roster. He’s shown flashes here and there of why Dallas invested a second-round pick in him, but the consistency isn’t there as of yet. With the competition currently wide open to start opposite Trevon Diggs this year, Joseph has an opportunity to prove he’s the man for the job. A strong showing against the Steelers this week could convince the coaching staff he’s ready to start sooner rather than later.
#75 DT Osa Odighizuwa
It’s really difficult for defensive tackles to stand out in training camp practices when hitting and tackling is discouraged/frowned upon. Because of that Osa Odighizuwa isn’t a name we’ve heard much, if anything, about. Despite not making the headlines so far, the Cowboys are expecting a lot from their third-round pick in 2021. He is expected to play a vital role in the defensive line rotation this year, hopefully upgrading the unit. But first, he has to prove he’s up for the job and that starts this week against the Steelers.
#40 CB Nahshon Wright
Nahshon Wright was, without a doubt, the Cowboys most controversial draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Many believed he was highly overdrafted, but the Cowboys apparently didn’t believe so. Up to now he’s shown a few flashes here and there, but like Kelvin Joseph the consistency simply isn’t there right now. He could need a strong showing in preseason to contribute this year and find a role beyond a possible spot on special teams. That starts this week against the Steelers.
#48 LB Jabril Cox
While fellow rookie linebacker Micah Parsons has been receiving nearly all of the fanfare with his play at training camp, the opposite is true with Jabril Cox. Despite being considered the steal of the draft as a fourth-round pick by the Cowboys, Cox hasn’t really been able to find his footing as of yet. The Hall of Fame game against the Pittsburgh Steelers is a great opportunity for him to showcase his unique coverage skill set in a game-like situation. Maybe playing under the bright lights will help him step up his game.
#81 WR Simi Fehoko
Other than CeeDee Lamb, we really haven’t heard much about any of the other Dallas Cowboys receivers in training camp. Despite that, Simi Fehoko is someone who could really make a name for himself Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He should receive plenty of playing time in the Hall of Fame game, which you give him ample opportunity showcase what a WR with his kind of size/speed can contribute to the Cowboys passing game in the not-too-distant future.
#98 DT Quinton Bohanna
Like Osa Odighizuwa, Quenton Bohanna isn’t someone we’ve heard a lot about since being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. We’ve heard he looks noticeably lighter when he arrived at training camp, but as far as on the field production is concerned there hasn’t been much to report. As a big-bodied, space-eating defensive tackle, he should have ample opportunity to prove he can clog things up in the middle to help everyone else around him make plays.
#38 S Israel Mukuamu
As things stand right now, Israel Mukuamu could be caught in a numbers game to make the Cowboys final 53-man roster. As a player on the bubble, he’s going to have to really put together some good film on defense, but most importantly prove his worth on special teams. John Fassel will be on the lookout for players who can upgrade his special teams units and if Mukuamu wants to make it through final cuts this is an area of his game he’s really going need to stand out.
#68 OG Matt Farniok
One of the biggest concerns right now with the way Dallas Cowboys roster is currently constructed is their lack of depth along the interior of their offensive line. If anything were to happen to Tyler Biadasz there would be quite a bit of reshuffling to cover his loss. That, of course, could be easily fixed if Matt Farniok can prove himself trustworthy to handle the backup job at both guard and center. It’s a lot to ask from a seventh-round pick, but maybe he’ll prove to be yet another late-round gem for the Cowboys.