2021 NFL Draft Grade: Dallas Cowboys

Jan 3, 2021; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) scores a touchdown against the New York Giants in the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports


Round 1 Pick 12: LB Micah Parsons

Round 2 Pick 44: CB Kelvin Joseph

Round 3 Pick 75: DT Osa Odighizuwa

Round 3 Pick 84: DE Chauncey Golston

Round 3 Pick 99: CB Nahshon Wright

Round 4 Pick 115: LB Jabril Cox

Round 4 Pick 138: OT Josh Ball

Round 5 Pick 179: WR Simi Fehoko

Round 6 Pick 192: DT Quinton Bohanna

Round 6 Pick 227: CB Israel Mukuamu

Round 7 Pick 238: G Matt Farniok


Dallas’ 2020 season was all but lost when Dak Prescott fractured his ankle. With Prescott presumably ready to take on the 2021 season, the attention turns to the defense. After an abysmal campaign in which the group gave up the second-most rushing yards, the front definitely needed some improvement. Dallas traded back from 10 after both Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain went off the board, and they were still able to land linebacker Micah Parsons at 12. 

Parsons is an extraordinary player, and for Dallas to be able to acquire more draft assets and still pick him is a great sequence of moves. In addition, the Cowboys added more bulk to the defensive line in Osa Odighizuwa. This isn’t the greatest pick that they could have made here as Odighizuwa’s ceiling as a player doesn’t seem overwhelmingly high, but he can be an effective run stopper. I still would have taken a guard to open up some running lanes for Ezekiel Elliott, though. 

Defensive end Chauncey Golston is not someone I would have selected at 84, either. He has solid technique; however, his extreme limitations athletically hinder his production. He will struggle to get through the faster offensive tackles in the NFL. A guard like Wyatt Davis or Kendrick Green would have been a really nice pick here too. 

The secondary was remodeled a bit as well with the selections of both Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright. Joseph especially checks the boxes you want to see with a young corner. He showed great instincts at Kentucky and his playmaking skills on the ball were elite. He doesn’t get burned in coverage and works with ideal size at 5’11. 

Wright on the other hand feels like a reach at 99, especially considering who was left on the board. Both Elijah Molden and Ifeatu Melifonwu are superior talents right now, and they would have brought a competitive edge to Dallas’ secondary. Ironically, both went immediately after this pick. 

Grade: B-

The Dallas Cowboys had two great picks to start their draft, but after that it feels underwhelming. They made very safe picks with guys that will probably be effective, but do not have nearly as high a ceiling as other players being taken around them. The fact that they chose not to address the offensive line until Day Three hurts their grade further. Jabril Cox is another athletic SEC linebacker though, so he could raise Dallas’ grade before too much time passes.