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Cowboys 2021 Mock Draft: Defense Dominates, Offensive Line Gets Insurance

It's almost time for the . For the , it's a critical one as they try to make their way back to the for the first time since 2018.

The Cowboys have holes to fill on the defensive side of the ball on all three levels. Offensively, they're loaded with weapons like Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, , Michael Gallup, and Blake Jarwin. However, with issues galore on the offensive line in 2020, adding depth seems to be a smart way to go in case there are any setbacks.

That's exactly what the focus was in this particular mock draft. Of course, it was all dependent on what happened in the first nine picks. With Kyle Pitts and Patrick Surtain off the board, as well as the top two offensive linemen Rashawn Slater and Penei Sewell, the Cowboy's journey to bolstering their roster begins. Now, let's get to doing so via The Draft Network.

Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

Round 1-Pick 10

It all starts with the cornerback position. was a three-year starter for South Carolina and was highly productive. He amassed 85 tackles, three sacks, 17 pass breakups, and two forced fumbles in his first two collegiate seasons. His junior year was cut short to due him opting out after seven games. However, Horn was still excellent with the only two interceptions of his career and six pass breakups.

During his time with the Gamecocks, Horn excelled not only in man coverage on the outside but he also slid inside to the slot. At 6'0 and 205 pounds, he used his size and physicality to play against bigger receivers while also having the ability the play against smaller guys with speed. He attacks at the catch point, has great eye discipline, and reads routes extremely well. His aggressive playing style is very disruptive and can rattle receivers during their routes. Horn is a Day 1 starter for the Cowboys if drafted and would make quite the duo at cornerback with .

Jamar Johnson, S, Indiana

Round 2-Pick 44

Cowboys NFL Draft Targets: Safety Jamar Johnson

Although the Cowboys have put some resources into the safety position with the signing of and Jayron Kearse, they need more, and Jamar Johnson out of Indiana would be a Day 2 steal for them. Johnson played a reserve role as a freshman in 2018 and produced just two tackles. As a sophomore, he upped his game to 25 tackles (4.5 tackles for loss), two interceptions, three sacks, a forced fumble, and a defensive touchdown. Johnson finished his career at Indiana with his best season in 2020 with 42 tackles (3.5 tackles for loss), four interceptions, a sack, four pass breakups, and a forced fumble while garnering First-Team All-Big Ten honors.

The most intriguing part about Johnson's game is his versatility. Not only did he play safety at Indiana he was plugged into the “Husky” position which is a combination of safety, cornerback, and linebacker, giving him quite the skill set. In coverage, Johnson was an absolute stud. In 406 career coverage snaps, he didn't allow a single touchdown and compiled seven interceptions for the Hoosiers on 44 targets. If Johnson is the pick here, he could learn behind Kazee and be groomed into a starter for the future, or challenge to start right away.

Osa Odighizuwa, DT, UCLA

Round 3-Pick 75

Cowboys 2021 Mock Draft: Defense Dominates, Offensive Line Gets Insurance 3

It's time to hit the defensive line with the Cowboy's first pick in the third round, and it's on the interior which they desperately need. Defensive Tackle Osa Odighizuwa only recorded 15 tackles and a sack as a freshman but upped his game tremendously over the following two seasons. He amassed 75 tackles (16 tackles for loss), 6.5 sacks, three pass breakups, and a forced fumble. A outbreak with the Bruins only allowed him to play in seven games last season but he recorded 30 tackles and a career-high four sacks while receiving First-Team All-Pac 12 honors.

He lacks the ideal size for a defensive tackle at 6'2 and 282 pounds but his explosive lower-body power allows him to get great leverage against big offensive linemen and attack gaps. Also, he can slide outside and rush from the edge which gives him great position flex. Odighizuwa is a very good run defender which would help the Cowboy's 31st ranked run from a year ago. His relentless motor, quick first step off the line of scrimmage, good hand usage, and ability to keep offenses behind the chains (27.5 tackles for loss in college) would be a welcomed addition to the Cowboys defensive front.

Robert Hainsey, OT/G, Notre Dame

Round 3-Pick 99

Robert Hainsey's Position Flex is Exactly What Cowboys' O-line Needs

We stay in the trenches with the Cowboy's second pick in the third round, but this time is on the offensive line. Robert Hainsey was a three-year starter for the Irish. He does a great job of getting his hands on defensive linemen by extending his arms with a good initial punch. Never stops moving his feet to maintain great leverage. Once he's engaged he keeps his hands inside to control defenders. Effective pulling from the tackle spot and is very good in combo block situations and gets to the second level of the defense.

Hainsey's most valuable trait is being able to play multiple positions. He spent most of his time at but was recruited as a coming out of high school. The former All-ACC performer played tackle, guard, and center at the and consistently won at all three positions. With the recent injury of Tyron Smith and from the tackle position, and neither Connor Williams nor locking down the spot, Hainsey would provide incredible depth at multiple positions and could be groomed into a quality NFL starter.

Patrick Jones II, DE, Pittsburgh

Round 4-Pick 115

Cowboys 2021 Mock Draft: Defense Dominates, Offensive Line Gets Insurance 8

We get back to the trenches on the defensive side of the ball with the Cowboy's first of two fourth-round picks. Patrick Jones II spent five years with the Pittsburgh Panthers. After he redshirted his true freshman season in 2016, Jones II played in a reserved role and only totaled seven tackles and a half-sack in 2017. As the Panthers' top reserve at a year later, he upped his production to 23 tackles, four sacks, and a forced fumble. Over the next two seasons, Jones II put his name among the better edge rushers in the nation as he registered 83 tackles (24 tackles for loss), 17.5 sacks, four pass breakups, four forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery.

Jones II is a natural with his hand in the dirt as a 4-3 defensive end. He's effective against the pass (as evidenced by his sack total in his final two collegiate seasons) and the run, which the Cowboys need immensely after being the second-worst in that area in 2020. He can bull rush, win with good bend off the edge, stunts inside well, and has the motor to pursue plays laterally. Jones II would be an excellent pick in the middle of the draft and provide great depth behind and .

Charles Snowden, LB, Virginia

Round 4-Pick 138

Cowboys 2021 Mock Draft: Defense Dominates, Offensive Line Gets Insurance 4

Let's switch gears to the second level of the defense. The linebacker position in Dallas needs to be upgraded, and Virginia's Charles Snowden is a freakish type athlete at 6'6 that can add tremendous value at the position in the middle of the draft. As a freshman, he only amassed 13 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Once he became a starter during his sophomore season, his star began to shine brightly. He racked up 62 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, eight pass breakups, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. His junior season was more of the same as he registered 72 tackles, five sacks, four pass breakups, and a fumble recovery. He would wrap up his collegiate career with 44 tackles, six sacks, three pass breakups, and a forced fumble while receiving Second-Team All-ACC honors.

With and Leighton Vander Esch coming off of down seasons, and the uncertainty of Sean Lee's future, Snowden could provide excellent depth at the linebacker spot, or even become a starter early. He may be undersized at 235 pounds but his speed and athleticism make him a threat to rush from the edge, which he had experience doing in college. Also, he can be effective in coverage as evidenced by his 15 career pass breakups on the collegiate level. He is coming off of a broken ankle that cost him some playing time in 2020 but is said to be 100% ahead of schedule.

Shemar Jean-Charles, CB, Appalachian State

Round 5-Pick 179

Cowboys 2021 Mock Draft: Defense Dominates, Offensive Line Gets Insurance 5

In a league that's geared towards high-powered offenses, cornerbacks are of immense importance. Shemar Jean-Charles out of Appalachian State is an under-the-radar prospect at the position. Jean-Charles spent his first two collegiate seasons as a reserve and special teams contributor and only registered 15 tackles and five pass breakups. Over his final two seasons, Jean Charles out his name alongside the best cornerbacks in the nation with 80 tackles, two interceptions, 26 pass breakups (led the nation with 17 in 2020), and a forced fumble.

Don't let his size at 5'11 and 184 pounds fool you, he's a feisty and physical competitor at the cornerback position. According to Pro Football Focus, Jean-Charles allowed the second-lowest completion percentage for cornerbacks who faced at least 20 targets and gave up the fewest receptions for all cornerbacks that saw 50 or more targets in 2020, and had the highest forced incompletion rate since 2019. He played mostly on the outside in college but may have transition inside due to his size. If so, he'll provide good depth behind and Anthony Brown in the slot while still being able to help on the outside as well.

Robert Jones, OT/G, Middle Tennessee State

Round 6-Pick 192

Cowboys 2021 Mock Draft: Defense Dominates, Offensive Line Gets Insurance 7

We go back to the offensive line with Robert Jones out of Middle Tennessee State. He's a bulldozer at 6'4 and 320 pounds that spent his first two collegiate seasons at Highland Community College in Kansas where he played left guard. Once he joined the Blue Raiders, he played right tackle for two years and earned Honor Mention All-Conference USA honors twice and didn't allow a sack in 2019.

Once Jones gets his hands on defenders he does a good job of driving them backward with his power. His large frame and thick lower body mass allow him to gain leverage on defensive linemen. He also does a good job getting to the second level on combo blocks and making lunch meat out of linebackers. Took reps at tackle and guard (projected to be a guard in the NFL) at the Senior Bowl and looked good at both positions. If drafted, he'll be a developmental prospect that can provide depth at multiple spots with the chance to be groomed into a starter.

Quinton Bohanna, DT, Kentucky

Round 6-Pick 227

Cowboys 2021 Mock Draft: Defense Dominates, Offensive Line Gets Insurance 6

We slide back inside to the defensive interior with a mountain of man out of Kentucky, . The 6'4 and 330-pound behemoth played in 37 games during his four-year career with the Wildcats. He amassed 58 tackles (9.5 tackles for loss), two sacks, four pass breakups, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Bohanna isn't a sack artist, but he has value in another area.

Bohanna is a force in the middle of the defensive line. As a in Kentucky's 3-4 scheme, he did a good job of holding his own against double teams with his quick first step and lower body strength to be effective stuffing the run, which is what the Cowboys need. Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn will a hybrid 4-3 scheme but it will also feature some 3-4 components to it according to Head Coach Mike McCarthy. Bohanna could provide nice depth to an interior rotation that features , , Trysten Hill, and .

Marcus Murphy, S, Mississippi State

Round 7-Pick 238

Cowboys 2021 Mock Draft: Defense Dominates, Offensive Line Gets Insurance 9

We end the Cowboys by adding another piece to the safety position. Marcus Murphy spent three years with the . He played mostly as a special teams contributor as a freshman, and only logged nine career starts in his final two years. Murphy registered 67 tackles, two interceptions, and three pass breakups in 23 career games.

His lack of experience comes from missing eight games due to a for violating team rules in 2019 and opting out of the final month of the 2020 season. Murphy has some upside with his speed and instincts, but needs a lot of development, as seventh-round picks do. He would serve as a special teams contributor with the chance to become a quality backup at safety.

Well, there you have it. The Cowboys add versatility and potential starters on defense and quality depth on the offensive line (and versatility too). Now, let's get America's Team back to the postseason.

Matthew Lenix
Matthew Lenix
I write dope stuff about the Dallas Cowboys and what not.

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