With the NFL Draft now just 15 days away, a lot of the focus for the teams is on the players they’ll add to their roster over the final weekend of the month of April. Much of how they view their current roster will determine how the Dallas Cowboys proceed as they work through their 10 picks over the seven rounds.
It’s assumed that the Dallas Cowboys will add players at cornerback, defensive tackle, or tight end, but that doesn’t mean those players will be day-one starters at their positions or ready to lead their position group. The Dallas Cowboys need these four players to take their games to the next level.
The Dallas Cowboys are almost guaranteed to take a cornerback with one of their first two picks in the NFL Draft. In free agency, they didn’t really do anything to address the position, leaving them in a spot where they have to take a player in the top 50 at cornerback.
As the Cowboys look to add a starter in the next few weeks, they need Trevon Diggs to help stabilize the Cowboys secondary.
Diggs had an up and down rookie year. He showed a lot of promise as a cover player and displayed an instinct for creating turnovers. His play was good and he battled through injuries in his rookie season. Heading into his second season in the NFL, the Cowboys need him to step his game up to another level.
As it stands he’s the most talented cornerback of the group and though he won’t be asked to travel in Dan Quinn’s cover-3 defense, he has to become a guy who can take care of his side of the field. As it stands now, the defense will need to be able to offer some help to the other side. Just like a nation can’t fight a war on two fronts, a defense can’t provide help to corners on both sides of the field. If the Cowboys bring in a rookie to start on the opposite side, the Cowboys can’t be worrying about Diggs’ side of the field.
Trevon Diggs needs to begin showing signs of being a lockdown corner in 2021. How much progression we see from Diggs’ game this season will go a long way to determining how much better the Dallas Cowboys’ defense is in 2021.
Trysten Hill or Neville Gallimore
The Cowboys will likely spend at least one selection in the 2021 NFL Draft at the defensive tackle spot. There’s a good chance they’ll spend two. Though much of the attention has been on the 1-technique defensive tackle spot, they could still look to add a 3-technique.
However, the Cowboys have two players at the position that they’re still looking for answers on; Trysten Hill and Neville Gallimore.
In 2020, Trysten Hill’s second season in the league, he started to show flashes of a solid defensive tackle. Displaying the penetration ability that got many excited about him in a Cowboys uniform, he still struggled a bit with the physicality on the interior. Hill was showing promise before succumbing to a season-ending injury. Through two seasons with Hill, we still don’t have a lot of answers as to his long-term prospects in the NFL or with the Dallas Cowboys.
Neville Gallimore was someone the Dallas Cowboys considered taking in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft until Trevon Diggs fell into their laps. Getting Gallimore in the third round was just another high value pick made by the Cowboys front office during last year’s draft.
Gallimore struggled a bit in his rookie year. There were some positive things to take away, like his work ethic and determination. But like Hill, it was evident that he was struggling with the jump in physicality at the NFL level, as most rookie defensive tackles do.
Gallimore, like Hill, is really good at creating penetration and getting into the backfield. Going into the 2021 offseason workouts that will start in May, the defensive tackle duo has a lot to prove.
One of them needs to rise to the occasion and become a five to six sack player for the Dallas Cowboys on the interior. They’ve missed that interior pass rush since David Irving’s big half-season a few years back. The Cowboys also need Hill or Gallimore to improve against the run in order to help their linebackers be better against the run.
The Cowboys defense needs to improve significantly for the Dallas Cowboys to get where they want to go in 2021. And much of that starts the with Trysten Hill and Neville Gallimore.
The reality is, the Cowboys probably won’t draft Kyle Pitts. Either because he wasn’t available for them to select or because they decided to go with the best player available at a position of need. In any case, with all the swooning over and flirtation with Kyle Pitts, the pressure has to be on Blake Jarwin to finally breakout in 2021.
Heading into the 2020 season, Blake Jarwin was one the players I was most excited to watch play. In prior years he’d shown signs that he has a game-breaking ability that the Cowboys hadn’t had at tight end in quite some time. Unfortunately, his 2020 was cut short by an ACL injury when running a route during the first game of the season.
Even if hey don’t take Pitts, but take another tight end in the draft, the Cowboys will still need Blake Jarwin to emerge as a passing game threat over a full 17-game season.
When the draft is over and the Cowboys tight end depth chart will still have Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz sitting at the top of it. There will be more pressure on Jarwin to bounce back from his injury and be the explosive athletic tight end the Dallas Cowboys have hoped for since he joined the team.