There are still five games left in the regular season for the Dallas Cowboys. The NFL Draft is about five months away at this point, but with the Cowboys struggling to hang in the wasteland that is the NFC East, it appears time to begin looking at draft prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft.
College football is still in their season, so it gives us a great opportunity to watch players that may be available for the Cowboys when they go on the clock in April. So I’ve gathered up the latest mock drafts from the last week or so for us to get an idea of the players people think are top 5-10 talents in the 2021 class. It’s incredibly hard to project how the draft will turn out in April let alone November, but these mock drafts help to provide names to consider.
Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The Cowboys have a lot of turnover coming in the secondary in 2021. Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Xavier Woods are all free agents. There’s a possibility Anthony Brown could also be on the way out if his play continues to be up and down. That leaves the cornerback group requiring a lot of attention next offseason and Caleb Farley could be the answer to pair with Trevon Diggs on the outside.
“Dallas has several needs but cornerback is near the top of the list. Following the loss of Byron Jones, the Cowboys were void of a cornerback capable of instilling fear in the opponent.”
Josh Edwards, CBS Sports
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
To say linebacker is a problem for the Dallas Cowboys would be a bit of an understatement. That extends to both Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. Neither has looked like the players that were one of the best linebacker duos in the league back in 2018.
Micah Parsons has an incredible size and athletic combination that makes him very intriguing. Would the Cowboys invest a premium pick at linebacker in 2021 after doing so in 2016 and 2018. If they were going to do it, Parsons seems like a legit option.
“Six of the bottom 10 defenses at stopping the run own losing records and most likely won’t compete in the postseason. Dallas ranks 30th in rushing yards allowed per carry (4.9) and their 153.8 ground gains surrendered is second worst in the NFL. Parson’s ability to cover sideline to sideline helps him neutralize many of today’s zone blocked running schemes. An incredible tackling radius, elite level mobility and instinctual intelligence make him an ideal selection for Dallas’ beleaguered defense.”
Glynn Morgan, NBC Sports
“The Cowboys defense has been historically bad this year. Adding the best defensive player in the draft can only contribute to improving that unit. Jaylon Smith has been inconsistent and Micah Parsons will be a three-down player for the Cowboys.”
Drae Harris, The Draft Network
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
If you were to look at the Dallas Cowboys projected offensive line for 2021 on the surface, it would be odd to use a top-five pick on an offensive tackle. Tyron Smith and La’el Collins are both high-quality starters and still have plenty of years left to be effective starters. However, if you dig a bit deeper, the injury situation to both Smith and Collins brings a cloud of doubt over their long-term viability.
Penei Sewell appears to be on a similar trajectory as Tyron Smith who also came into the NFL at a very young age and possesses a ton of natural athletic ability and strength to grow into potentially one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL.
“The Cowboys have been adamant since the Dak Prescott injury that they’re going to be committed to Prescott in the future. If their word is to be believed, then Dallas must begin to inspect their roster to find opportunities to get younger and cheaper. Left tackle is a good spot to start, given the durability issues present with Tyron Smith—no matter how good he is. Sewell is the best player available at this point in the draft order. That said, Dallas will probably have suitors for this pick given the buzz around some of the other quarterbacks available. That’s a tough choice to make, but Dallas must protect Prescott in 2021 and beyond for the Cowboys to be their best.”
Kyle Crabbs, The Draft Network
Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
This is easily the biggest surprise of any of the mock drafts I scoured. Matt Valdovinos does excellent work and his connections to many who cover the Dallas Cowboys gives him quality insight into the situation.
It’s certainly in the realm of possibilities and though the Dallas Cowboys front office has maintained it’s intent on signing Dak Prescott to a long-term contract, the injury and the Jones’ infatuation for cap space are wild cards in the discussion.
“The first surprise of this 2021 3 round NFL mock draft, Zach Wilson makes his way to Jerry World. Despite the Cowboys already possessing an elite quarterback, it’s hard to ignore the combination of Dak Prescott’s injury, how far the two parties were in contract talks last season, and the Cowboys sitting in a position to take one of the top quarterbacks in college football this season. I believe paying Dak Prescott is the only correct choice, but I wouldn’t put it past the Cowboys to make a business decision like this.”
Matt Valdovinos, Pro Football Network
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There will be more names pop up and get associated with the Dallas Cowboys, but this is a start. As the remainder of the college football season plays out and the early parts of the offseason unfolds, more names will be linked to the Dallas Cowboys before we get to April. This is only the beginning.