The Dallas Cowboys and the NFL are a little more than two months away from the NFL Draft, and a lot of names will be mentioned to America’s Team. Mock drafts are a good exercise to see what these names could be and how they might fall to the Cowboys.
At this point, most of Cowboys Nation seems to be targeting cornerback or defense in particular with the Cowboys’ first pick at number 10. One of the two names that seem to be high on everyone’s target list, Caleb Farley and Patrick Surtain II, is likely to be there when the Cowboys go on the clock in April. However, if a team comes with a trade back, it might be more profitable for the Cowboys to move back in the draft and still target the cornerback position.
And a trade back is what happened in this 3-round mock draft for the Cowboys. Using the mock draft simulator from Pro Football Network, which allows for trades in their free simulator, the Cowboys selected five players to add to their defense.
Round 1, Pick 10 – Trade Back with the New England Patriots
For pick 10, New England sends numbers 15 and 46 overall.
Round 1, Pick 15
Jaycee Horn, Cornerback, South Carolina
Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis are likely on their way out the door in free agency. The Cowboys will be returning Trevon Diggs, Anthony Brown, and Maurice Canady at cornerback. Suffice it to say, the Cowboys have a need at the position.
Though many expect the Cowboys to fill that hole with either Patrick Surtain or Caleb Farley at 10, if they can trade back in the draft, pick up an extra second-round pick and select Jaycee Horn, this should be the way forward.
“Horn is one of the most physical, aggressive cornerbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft. The South Carolina cornerback has a long, lean build, and uses his length both at the line and in coverage. He’s not shy when attacking his opponents in press coverage, and his aggressive nature also shows up at the catch point, where he doesn’t hesitate to impact the ball.”
Ian Cummings, Pro Football Network
Round 2, Pick 44
Richie Grant, Safety, Central Florida
Richie Grant is a player that’s been on the rise since the end of the season and saw his stock jump tremendously after the Senior Bowl as well. Grant is a playmaker at free safety and a guy who would fit perfectly in Dan Quinn’s scheme to complement Donovan Wilson at strong safety. The Cowboys need someone with the range and coverage chops that Grant provides.
Here’s what I wrote about Richie Grant a couple of weeks ago after watching him play.
“Grant is a durable safety with the ability to play in single and two-deep high safety looks and provide coverage in the slot. He shows a willingness to come up in run support to make the tackle and is willing to stick his nose into the play. Grant shows good range and good instincts. On crossing routes generally shows good awareness to sift through the traffic to stick with his guy in man coverage.”
Round 2, Pick 46
Alim McNeil, Defensive Tackle, North Carolina State
The Dallas Cowboys have a couple of promising three-technique defensive tackles in Trysten Hill and Neville Gallimore. However, they desperately need players that can play the one-technique defensive tackle. Alim McNeil fits the bill.
He’s a run-stuffing defender who can fit into a nice rotation with Antwaun Woods until McNeil can take over as the starter along the defensive line.
|*2018||North Carolina State||FR||11||14||10||24||5.5||3.5||0||0||0||3||0||1|
|2019||North Carolina State||SO||10||16||12||28||7.5||5.5||0||0||0||2||0||0|
|*2020||North Carolina State||JR||11||6||19||25||4.5||1.0||1||18||18.0||1||0||1||1|
|Career||North Carolina State||36||41||77||17.5||10.0||1||18||18.0||1||5||1||2|
“McNeill is a powerful interior defender that is capable of controlling and resetting the line of scrimmage with his heavy hands and functional strength. While he wasn’t often asked to shoot gaps, he also has positive flashes of gap-penetration skills during his time at NC State.”
Joe Marino, The Draft Network
Round 3, Pick 75
Dylan Moses, Linebacker, Alabama
Another area the Dallas Cowboys need to address is the linebacker spot. Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch have declined since their breakout 2018 seasons, and though addressing the defensive tackle spot should help, it’s still a good idea to add someone with speed, aggressiveness, physicality, and the experience of Dylan Moses.
Even if Smith and Vander Esch continue to start in 2021, adding Dylan Moses to the group gives them someone who can step in if Vander Esch continues to struggle with injuries. It also provides them a player that can rotate with Jaylon Smith minimizing his exposure.
“He has plenty of body armor to withstand constant contact and the physical asking price of the position combined with his physical mindset. He’s a supremely unique athlete at the position. He has true sideline-to-sideline range and it’s rare to see him outran. When able to diagnose plays cleanly, Moses flies downhill with reckless abandon. When having exposure to anyone with the opposite color jersey on, he’s looking to embarrass them in any way possible.”
Jordan Reid, The Draft Network
Round 3, Pick 99
Bobby Brown, Defensive Tackle, Texas A&M
As I discussed above, the Cowboys need help at the 1-technique defensive tackle spot. It would not surprise me to see the Cowboys double-dip at the position. Bobby Brown might be more physically prepared to step in and help right away than McNeil is. But either way, a 1-technique rotation of Woods, McNeil, and Brown would fully solidify the Cowboys’ interior run defense allowing Hill and Gallimore to fully focus on playing the three-technique.
Bobby Brown III is an interior defender that’s built like a brick house. He possesses a very mature body that helps him maintain leverage as a run defender on the interior. He’s proven to anchor well and has the lower-body strength to stand pat at the point of attack. Brown III does everything that you can ask a run defender to do on the interior of the first level. While he isn’t a big sack artist, he has the ability to create pressure strictly off of gaining penetration with his natural strength. Playing mainly the 1-technique, he has gained lots of experience against double teams.
Jordan Reid, The Draft Network