FRISCO (SILVER STAR NATION) — The first round of the 2021 NFL Draft is in the books, and the Dallas Cowboys made the best of the hand they were dealt.
With an obvious need at the cornerback position, the Cowboys had their sights set on either South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn or Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II. But, when Dallas was on the clock with the 10th overall pick, both corners had been taken.
So, they made a move back two spots via a trade with division-rival Philadelphia that netted them an extra top 100 pick and still landed them the guy they would’ve picked anyway in Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons.
Parsons addresses a glaring need at the linebacker position, but the Cowboys still have tons of holes to fill on their roster.
Luckily, they have ten picks left to try and fill those spots, four of which will come Friday during the second and third rounds.
Dallas’ Day 2 Strategy
The Cowboys have four picks on Friday, all of which fall within the top 100 overall picks:
- Round 2, Pick 44
- Round 3, Pick 75
- Round 3, Pick 84 (via Philadelphia Eagles)
- Round 3, Pick 99 (compensatory selection)
So again, the question will arise; Should the Cowboys take the best player available, or should they draft the best player at a position of need?
Luckily, the Cowboys may not have to pick between the two, as a plethora of top prospects remaining on the draft board would fill a position of need in Dallas.
The most glaring need for the Cowboys still lies in the secondary. They’ll certainly look to add an impact cornerback or two, and possibly even an additional safety. Watch for them to snag some interior offensive lineman and possibly a defensive lineman as well.
And, with the amount of picks they have in the third round, many analysts are speculating the Cowboys could bundle a few and trade up for an earlier pick in the second round, or even an extra second-round selection.
Either way, there are plenty of players left on the board that could make an impact almost immediately. Here’s a handful to keep your eye on Friday evening.
Azeez Ojulairi, DE, Georgia
At 6 foot 2 inches tall and 249 pounds, Ojulari may not have elite size, but what he lacks in that department, he makes up for in instincts, athletic ability and explosiveness.
Scouts have said he has “violent hands” and can often use them to beat lineman and get to the quarterback.
He’s played in multiple defensive schemes adding a level of versatility to him as a player. Projected to go in the top-20, he’s got what it takes to become an impactful pass rusher in the NFL.
College Stats: 14 sacks, 18.5 tackles for loss in 24 games
Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
Barmore is a naturally powerful beast of a human.
At 6 foot 4 inches and 310 pounds, he’s immediately able to knock the lineman out of position and shows flashes of quickness and violence you want from a pass-rushing defensive tackle. Some scouts say he’s got better physical gifts than Johnathan Allen.
The problem with Barmore is experience.
He’s only started six games in two seasons at Alabama. However, it should be noted those two seasons, he amassed 63 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, and 10 sacks.
He’s a versatile natural athlete who should start in the NFL relatively quickly.
Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Teven Jenkins is a 6 foot 6 inch, 317 pound destroyer.
Jenkins has outstanding body control, and with as much body as he has to control, he needs it.
He’s able to tie up pass rushers early and stay attached, never giving up on plays.
Once he gets the upper hand, pass rushers foolish enough to face him are finished.
Balance is the issue for Jenkins. He’ll rely too much on his power and fail at fundamental techniques, which is where he gets beat if he ever does.
He needs to become more consistent and work on nailing the fundamentals. But, he’s huge and he’s light on his feet, and he’s one of the most competitive offensive linemen in this draft.
Landon Dickerson, OL, Alabama
Dickerson moves with balanced footwork and solid fundamentals, all at 6 foot 6 inches tall and 333 pounds. He’s easily able to handle blitzers and can maul linebackers in the running game.
He’s a mauler, he’s a finisher, and he’s versatile, able to play any of the interior line positions.
Dickerson’s issue is health and discipline. But, if he can stay healthy, he’s tough and competitive.
Dickerson can start on an NFL offensive line today, with an All-Pro level ceiling.
Richie Grant, S, UCF
Grant explodes on tape.
In his three year career at Central Florida, he racked up 10 picks and 27 passes defended.
In his final two years, he only allowed three touchdowns.
He’s got wide receiver instincts. He’s able to high-point the ball and fly downhill to make the play. He has NFL-level range, expert eyes and ball-hawking tendencies.
Grant’s problem is consistency. But, should he improve his route anticipation and reads, he’ll likely compete for a starting job in year one.
Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
The name should sound familiar. He’s the son of former New England and Philadelphia cornerback Asante Samuel.
And he resembles him in more than just his name.
Samuel plays with outstanding reaction time and ball awareness. It doesn’t take him long to find and diagnose the play.
And, he’s a good enough athlete to get to the play and confident enough to stick with it and attempt to disrupt it.
At 5 foot 10 and 180 pounds, his size is just about the only knock against him. Even in spite of that, he racked up three interceptions in just 8 games last year.
Samuel projects to be an NFL starter with Pro-Bowl upside, just like his dad.
Trevor Moehrig, S, TCU
Moehrig played cornerback and wide receiver in high school, and his natural instincts at those positions transfer very well to the safety position.
At 6 foot 1 inch tall and 2020 pounds, e’s an athletic ballhawk with seven picks and 28 passes defended while at TCU.
He’s quick to react against both the run and the pass, but he’s lacking the finishing ability of more polished defensive backs in this draft.
Still, he projects to be able to start immediately in an NFL defense due to his versatility and play recognition.
Elijah Molden, CB/S, Washington
Molden is instinctive and athletic, able to quickly process plays, and well-coordinated in zone and man coverage alike. He’s versatile, having played both safety and cornerback in the past.
His reaction time is quick and he can make plays on the ball, racking up 5 interceptions in his final 17 games.
His size is an issue, at just 5 foot 10 inches and 192 pounds. He doesn’t have elite speed either, making him vulnerable to playing outside routes.
However, his instincts and competitive nature, along with his ability to read an offense, should land him a starting job on an NFL team.
Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky
Joseph is a classic example of first-round talent that needs to be developed.
He’s a big-time athlete, able to move fluidly with high-end ball skills.
He’s a consistent playmaker, as evidenced by the four interceptions he totaled in 9 games last year.
He’s got maturity concerns, as those nine games are the entirety of his college sample size.
He’s got a room to grow, but first-round physical talent. It’s a dice roll, but several teams might just take the chance.
More Day 2 Players To Watch
- Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas (6’6″, 314 pounds) — Cosmi is not the strongest lineman in this class, but he’s arguably the most fundamentally sound. He blocks with quickness and urgency. He’s sharp, polished, and likely a solid NFL starter.
- Elijah Moore, Wr, Ole Miss (5’10”, 178 pounds) — Moore may be small, but he’s fast. He’s an athletic route-runner with great hands. He’s a match-up nightmare, able to make defenders miss regularly. He’s flexible and should be considered a chess-piece receiver.
- Carlos Basham Jr., DE, Wake Forest (6’3″, 274 pounds) — Basham’s got power, he hustles, and he can’t be controlled. He’s a productive player, tallying 20.5 sacks and 35.5 tackles for loss in 45 games. It’s possible to slow him down, so he needs to be a more creative rusher, but his size and explosiveness will intrigue teams to take a chance on him.
- Creed Humphrey, OL, Oklahoma (6’4″, 302 pounds) — Humphrey has outstanding strength and intelligence, using his wrestling background to out-physical his opponent. He’s the top prospect at center in this draft. He’s also got versatility and can play guard. He’s got the intangibles to be a solid NFL starter in the interior offensive line.
- Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU (6’3″, 205 pounds) — Marshall draws a lot of comparison to Courtland Sutton of Denver, relying on his size and speed. He needs some refinement and has some injury concern, but should become an NFL starter relatively quickly.
- Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina (5’10”, 212) — He’s a linebacker turned running back. And he runs like it. He’s a punisher. He’s incredibly strong with a nasty stiff arm. He’s an inconsistent runner who needs to make a bit of progress, but he’s basically a more compact Leonard Fournette.
- Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF (6’0″, 186 pounds) — Robinson is a quick footed, urgent athlete with excellent athletic ability. He reacts quickly to the ball and can stay in stride with routes. He needs to improve his mental game, but he’s got the skillset to start in an NFL secondary.
- Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina (6’1″, 189 pounds) — Brown is drawing comparisons to Stephon Diggs. Not much more needs to be said, except he needs reps to prove he’s reliable. His big-play ability will help him rack up touchdowns in the NFL.
- Wyatt Davis, OG, Ohio State (6’4″, 315 pounds) — Davis gets the upper hand against defenders. And quick. He’s got power, control, and a competitive edge. Sometimes, he can be a bit too eager, but if coaches can reel that in, he’s an NFL-ready guard.
- Brady Christensen, OT, BYU (6’5″, 302 pounds) — He’s an older prospect who will have to adjust to NFL-style pass rushers, but he displays quickness in pass protection and gets the job done as a run blocker.
- Josh Myers, OL, Ohio State (6’5″, 310 pounds) — With experience at both guard and center, Myers is another versatile offensive line option. He’s got great instincts and core strength. He needs to develop his pass blocking ability, but he’s definitely smart enough to do just that.
- Dillon Radunz, OL, North Dakota State (6’6″, 301 pounds) — He’s got some strength concerns, but he’s got the quickness to make his blocks. He has issues, but they’re all coachable. He’s aggressive, instinctive, and versatile. He should eventually start as either a guard or a tackle.
- Daviyon Nixon, DT, Iowa (6’3″, 313 pounds) — Nixon has a background in basketball and has only started a handful of games as a defensive tackle, yet he amassed 8.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. He’s quick with a lot of body control and can defeat blocks with ease. He’s explosive and intelligent. He projects as a one-technique run-stopping starter in the NFL.
- Nico Collins, WR, Michigan (6’4″, 215 pounds) — Collins is a very tall, very quick, and very capable of winning 50-50 balls. He shows flashes of being a playmaker, but he doesn’t have the consistent ability to separate. However, his size and route-running make him a candidate to start in the NFL.
- Robert Rochell, CB, Central Arkansas (6’0″, 193 pounds) — He needs to develop more and become more well-versed in fundamentals. But, he’s an NFL-level athlete with a high level of burst and instincts.
- Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse (6’1″, 216 pounds) — Well-rounded ballhawk who easily recognizes routes and puts himself in a position to make plays. Lots of plays. Like, 13 interceptions and 28 passes defended in 24 games. He’s inconsistent and will occasionally give up negative plays, but if he can be more controlled, he’ll be an NFL starter.