It's easy to get locked into one position or one side of the football when you're looking at the NFL Draft. Given the needs on the defensive side of the football for the Dallas Cowboys, it's understandable why so many are looking to take a defensive player with the 10th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
The Cowboys have needs at cornerback, safety, linebacker, edge rusher, and 1-technique defensive tackle. The Cowboys have a host of directions they could go in the first round. Several of the positions the Cowboys could use may be available for them to select with their top 10 pick. Players like Patrick Surtain and Jaycee Horn could be available for the Cowboys to help solidify the secondary. A linebacker like Micah Parsons or Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah could put the Cowboys on the right track to transition from Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch in the next couple of years.
At defensive tackle, Christian Barmore could make sense if the new defensive staff feels like they need to upgrade from Trysten Hill or Neville Gallimore.
And while there will be several options for the Cowboys at 10 to upgrade the talent on the defensive side of the ball, the Cowboys shouldn't pigeonhole themselves into picking defense at 10.
It's projected that as many as four quarterbacks could be selected in the first nine picks. Suppose that is the case, that leaves players like Penei Sewell, DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Ja'Marr Chase, and Kyle Pitts as offensive options that could be available for the Cowboys when they go on the clock at number 10. And if Mac Jones somehow finds himself picked in the first nine picks, then the Cowboys will have a tough decision to make.
Of course, having these elite offensive prospects fall to them could encourage a team behind them to trade up to 10, where the Cowboys could pick up another second-round pick or, at worst, a third-round pick in a trade back.
If the Cowboys were to forgo selecting one of the top defensive players at 10, they would still have options available in the second round. Players like Greg Newsome at cornerback or Richie Grant at safety could be in play for the Cowboys, helping their secondary. Someone like Alim McNeil would help their defensive line.
The point being, though the Cowboys will likely spend quite a few of their draft picks in April on the defensive side of the ball, one shouldn't rule out using a draft pick on the offensive side of the ball. Sure, the Cowboys have invested a ton on the offensive side of the ball over the last decade, especially in the draft, but for the most part, that's worked.
Considering who they've drafted in the first, they haven't had a miss when spending a first-round pick on the offensive side of the ball. Tyron Smith, Dez Bryant, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, Ezekiel Elliott, and CeeDee Lamb have made huge impacts on the Cowboys. Each has made a Pro Bowl aside from Lamb, but his time is coming.
The defensive side of the ball hasn't been as kind to the Cowboys. First-round selections on defense include Leighton Vander Esch, Taco Charlton, Byron Jones, and Morris Claiborne. Only Byron Jones could be considered a hit, and yet the Cowboys didn't think enough of him to offer him a second contract.
Despite the offensive talent that will probably be available for the Cowboys, it remains likely that they'll add a defensive player to solidify that side of the ball. However, it wouldn't be wise for them to go into the draft and not consider taking a player like Kyle Pitts, Jaylen Waddle, or any of the other non-quarterback options. With the expected departure of Michael Gallup in the 2022 offseason, the Cowboys could begin integrating one of these top offensive players in 2021.
It's always important to keep all options on the table when you go into the draft because you never know how a draft might play out. That's exactly how CeeDee Lamb became a Dallas Cowboy, and I think everyone's still happy about that selection.