Defense. Defense. Defense. All around Cowboys Nation you can almost hear fans chanting for the Dallas Cowboys to draft the best defensive player in the first-round in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft with the 10th overall pick. But, history actually suggest that might not be a good idea.
I’m a firm believer we can learn a lot from history, which is why I decided to take a look at how the Dallas Cowboys used their last 10 first-round draft picks and what became of the player selected. What I discovered completely shocked me and it might you as well.
Of the Dallas Cowboys last 10 first-round picks six have been spent on offense and four on defense. That’s pretty close to being an even split, but once you learn the outcome of those selections you’ll see for yourself it favors drafting offensive players by a wide margin.
Offensively the Dallas Cowboys have pretty much hit home runs with their last 10 first-round picks. Five out of six of those drafted have at least made three Pro Bowls. The only omission from that group right now is Wide Receiver CeeDee Lamb, who should earn that distinction as well based on how well he played as a rookie. Sadly, the same can’t be said for the defensive players they drafted.
Of the four players drafted with the Dallas Cowboys last 10 first-round picks two have been complete busts and two have made a Pro Bowl appearance. Surprisingly enough, that sounds a lot better than it actually is because none of these players received a second contract from the Cowboys. Well, there might still be hope for one.
Morris Claiborne and Taco Charlton are obviously the first-round busts we’d all like to forget about. Neither one came anywhere close to living up to their draft pedigree with the Cowboys or anyone else. The Charlton pick particularly still hurts considering Dallas could’ve drafted TJ Watt, a three-time Pro Bowler.
The Dallas Cowboys did have two Pro Bowlers of their own though, Byron Jones and Leighton Vander Esch. Sadly though neither turned in the cornerstone player the Cowboys were envisioning. They let Jones walk last offseason instead of paying him a second contract and LVE has the Sean Lee syndrome and can’t seem to stay healthy.
As you can see, the Dallas Cowboys are pretty much batting zero with the defensive players they’ve selected with their last 10 first-round draft picks. These were the types of players the defense was supposed to build around. It’s no wonder the defense is in the state it is now. Those are some major whiffs that can’t be ignored.
Now, I’m not saying the Dallas Cowboys should avoid drafting a defensive player with the 10th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. I just think they need to be more vigilant when evaluating these players than they may have been in the past. They simply can’t afford to let history repeat itself.