The 2021 NFL Draft begins on April 29, which means that The Game Haus will be writing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be evaluated heading into this year’s draft, as our staff recaps their last season, highlights their needs and pinpoints their potential 2021 NFL Draft targets.
The Dallas Cowboys are the subject of today’s 2021 NFL Draft profile.
Coming into the 2020 season, the Dallas Cowboys had high hopes that this was their year to win it all. With new head coach Mike McCarthy, the Cowboys and their fans believed this is how they get back to the postseason. They also selected superstar wide receiver, CeeDee Lamb, with the 17th overall pick, another reason why the Cowboys would make a deep postseason run.
However, once again the Cowboys disappointed. They finished the season going 6-10 and finishing third in the NFC East. The Cowboys season was plagued with injuries. After a phenomenal start to the season for quarterback Dak Prescott, he, unfortunately, was Dallas’ biggest loss when he went down in week 5. He suffered a gruesome injury that resulted in a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle. Their offensive line was also hurt for the majority of the season as well. Guard Zack Martin, tackle Tyron Smith and tackle La’el Collins played a combined 0 snaps together.
Not only were injuries a major downfall of the Cowboys in the 2020 season, but their defense played a part too. Their defense was considered one of the worst in the NFL last season. They ranked in the bottom half of the league in many defensive categories including points per game allowed (29.6), rush yards allowed per game (158.8) and opponent’s passing yards per completion (11.1).
Now, the Cowboys find themselves with a high pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. With injuries hopefully past them and Prescott expected to be ready by training camp, the Cowboys hope to be contenders next season.
2021 NFL Draft Picks
The Cowboys have four picks in the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.
First Round (one pick) – No. 10
Second Round (one pick) – No. 44
Third Round (two picks) – Nos. 75 & 99
Cornerback- The Cowboys need all the help in the secondary that they can get. Last season this was a unit that really struggled. They allowed many big plays and had a difficult time guarding receivers. Additionally, with the loss of Chidobe Awuzie, who signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, the Cowboys likely need to replace him as well. With Trevon Diggs up and coming, the Cowboys need another cornerback to pair up with him.
Safety- As mentioned above, the Cowboys need a lot of help in the secondary. Although Dallas has signed three safeties so far through free agency, it is safe to assume that they aren’t done adding to it. The Cowboys have signed Jayron Kearse, Damontae Kazee and Keanu Neal. However, they are all one-year deals, so Dallas might be looking for a young prospect for the long-term future.
Offensive Line- This position is arguably the most underrated one in football. Having an elite offensive line is much needed in the NFL to protect your quarterback. Look at Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl, his top offensive linemen were all out and as a result, he struggled. Last season, this position for the Cowboys was below average. Although their top three linemen were out almost all season, Dallas should keep adding to add depth to the roster.
2021 NFL Draft Targets
Pick No. 10: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Cornerback is Dallas’ biggest need coming into this draft. With many teams needing quarterback and receiver help before them, they have the opportunity in selecting one of the best cornerbacks in this year’s draft.
Surtain does everything that you want in a cornerback. He is physical at the line, has speed and excellent ball skills to guard any receiver in the league. He ran a 4.46 40 time at his second pro day. The former Alabama star can be the perfect addition to Dallas and immediately improve their cornerback unit.
Although he has not spoken to the Dallas Cowboys just yet, there is still time for the team to reach out to him. If the Cowboys can select Surtain, he would pair up with his former Alabama teammate Trevon Diggs. Diggs and Surtain could line up next to each once again.
Pick No. 44: Richie Grant, S, UCF
With the Cowboys’ first two picks in the NFL Draft, they will take the biggest need which is secondary. In the early second round, they will add to the secondary but selecting one of the hardest-hitting safeties in the draft, Richie Grant.
In his four-year career at UCF, he accumulated 290 tackles and 10 interceptions. His best season was in 2018 where he had 108 tackles and six interceptions. Grant might be considered one of the underrated prospects coming into the draft. Just last season, he was a finalist to receive the Thorpe award (the nation’s top defensive back).
Selecting Grant would give the Cowboys a secondary filled with hard hitters including Donovan Wilson and Keanu Neal. By drafting the former UCF star in the second round, the Cowboys can fill their needs early in this draft.
Pick No. 75: Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida State
Over the years, the Cowboys haven’t been able to find an elite defensive tackle. They have drafted players like Neville Gallimore and Trysten Hill, however, so far they haven’t panned out. Dallas has also tried to sign veteran defensive tackles like Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe in the past, but those didn’t work either.
Now, with two third-round picks, the Cowboys will likely use this selection to take a defensive tackle. Marvin Wilson can be a steal in the 2021 NFL Draft if he gets back to his 2019 form. In 2019, he had 44 tackles (8.5 tackles for loss) and 5.0 sacks. However, 2020 was a disappointing year for the Florida State star. He only had 17 tackles (2.0 tackles for loss) and 1.0 sacks in just six games.
Standing at 6-foot-5, 305 lbs, he has the potential to be a solid run-stopper for a Dallas defense that needs help. Last season, they were the 31st ranked run defense. As a result, adding Wilson could prove to be a solid selection for the Cowboys.
Pick No. 99: James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati
The Cowboys could go another defender here but instead will try to protect Dak Prescott for the foreseeable future. With Dallas always selecting 2+ offensive linemen in every draft, they will once again do so in this draft.
Hudson comes in at 6-foot-4, 305 lbs and has the skills to block some of the games best. For someone of Hudson’s size, he is extremely athletic and can lead the way on blocks. The only problem with Hudson is that he only started one full season for the Bearcats, so it might take some time for him to develop in the pros. However, he will get to learn behind Zack Martin, Tyron Smith and La’el Collins, some of the best linemen.
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