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5 Biggest Losers From the Dallas Cowboys 2021 Draft

Fans aren't the only ones who can be left depressed after an Draft. Not only are there the poor potential rookies who didn't hear their names called during the seven rounds, but then there are veteran players whose positions on their teams are hurt by the influx of new talent. Who were the biggest losers for the from the 2021 draft?

Yesterday we looked at the Cowboys' biggest winners; whose job security was most solidified or improved by what happened during the draft. Now we're going to look at the other end of that spectrum.

You will notice that a few of these spots list a couple of players together. That's because their fates were already linked by a common status and perhaps competing with each other for a roster spot. But now, neither may make the team after the rookie additions.

OTs Brandon Knight & Terence Steele

It was bad enough for these young prospects that Dallas added veteran Ty Nsekhe as the likely swing tackle in 2021. But at least they were still the guys with upside and actually had some real-game to go with it.

Now Dallas has added 4th-round rookie Josh Ball out of Marshall. He's scouted as a superior talent to where he was drafted and only fell due to conduct issues in college. If the personal problems are behind him, Ball would have a hard time not making the .

Unless the young guys blow the 35-year-old Nsekhe out of the water then this isn't looking pretty for Knight or Steele. Some teams only keep three offensive tackles and Dallas is already at four, assuming Ball gets rookie deference and isn't an immediate bust. Right now, neither Knight or Steele project to return to the team in 2021 unless it's on the practice squad.

DE Dorance Armstrong

The Cowboys keep adding young defensive ends and it may finally be too much for Armstrong in his fourth season. With Iowa's coming in the 3rd Round, Dorance may no longer have a chair when the music stops.

Armstrong was a 4th-round pick in 2018 but has had limited opportunities in his first three seasons. While he may still be one of the better pure pass rushers in the backup mix, Dorance has now been here a while and is on his third .

One saving grace for Armstrong could be Dan Quinn's comments after the draft that Dallas will still employ some looks from the . While on the smaller side to be a pure 4-3 , Dorance is one of the best options to play in an OLB/ role.

In the end, Dallas may look to fill the with less-experienced developmental options like Golston, , and Ron'Dell Carter. A 3rd-round pick is no small investment in Golston, so that makes one guy that will have an especially hard time beating for a roster spot.

DT Antwaun Woods

It was reported just before the draft that Woods had signed his restricted tender and would be returning to the Cowboys in 2021. But the veteran then saw Dallas add two defensive tackles in the draft, which could mean trouble for Woods and his unguaranteed contract.

The Cowboys already had two young DT prospects in and from the last two drafts. They also added veterans and in .

Now come rookies and Quinton Bohanna. While Bohanna was only a 6th-round pick and hardly a lock for the roster, he does feel a specific need as a true which the team has sorely needed in recent years.

This creates a real numbers issue for . While he has value in his ability to play either DT spot, his $2.1 million RFA salary has zero guaranteed money. That makes him very vulnerable to be released if Dallas is happy with their younger options and other veterans.

In the end, Woods has the potential to still be one of the top DTs on the roster and keep his spot through performance. But unless he has a truly standout , this influx of new talent may be his undoing.

LBs Jaylon Smith & Leighton Vander Esch

No surprise here, right? With a 1st-round pick spent on and 4th-rounder being seen as one of the steals of the draft, trouble's brewing for Smith and Vander Esch's long-term job security.

We already saw this manifest yesterday when Dallas declined to pick up Leighton's 5th-year option for 2022. They're willing to let him become an unrestricted free agent next year rather than keep him on about a $9.1 million salary.

Dallas clearly expects Parsons to be a major player on the for the next several years given where he was drafted. That would be a stretch for Cox but he has the potential to claim a starting role if he lives up to the current hype.

Before the draft we already projected that one of Smith or Vander Esch wasn't long for this Cowboys world. But now that we have two exciting young rookies, could both be entering their finals seasons in Dallas?

Remember, Jaylon becomes realistically cuttable next year. Dallas can get cap relief either releasing him outright or even more after June 1st, 2022. Unless he improves significantly from last season then he won't be worth a scheduled cap hit of over $11 million.

So yes, things were already a bit bleak for Jaylon and Leighton even before the 2021 Draft began. But with the additions of Parsons and Cox, it feels as if Dallas is planning for at least one of them to definitely be gone after this season. If both deliver, we could see a complete change-up at linebacker next year.

LBs Francis Bernard & Luke Gifford

Wait, more linebackers? Yes, because while and Leighton Vander Esch may not lose their jobs until 2022, these backups just might have seen their immediate job security go right down the tubes.

Before the draft I wrote about how Bernard and Gifford could be in trouble if Dallas brought in some fresh faces. That's exactly what happened, and now both have gone from being key backups to potentially not making the team in just one weekend.

Not only did the Parsons and Cox but it was also adamantly reiterated that would be converting to linebacker in Dallas. That gives you Neal, the two rookies, Smith, and Vander Esch as your top five LBs on paper.

Based on team that probably leaves just one spot on the 53-man roster for either Bernard or Gifford. Their one saving grace could be if Dallas goes short at , given Neal's versatility, and perhaps keeps seven linebackers.

The ripple effect here is obvious. Two new guys just gobbled up two roster spots; spots that would've probably gone to Bernard and Gifford before the draft. Now the two hopefuls have a lot less hope, and perhaps only one roster spot to fight over, heading into training camp.

Jess Haynie
Jess Haynie
Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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