The Dallas Cowboys did the right thing this offseason by finally locking down Dak Prescott, their franchise quarterback. But though the most important piece is solidified in place, there is still work to be done on the rest of the roster.
The Cowboys will have a new defensive coordinator, as former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn joins Mike McCarthy’s staff as DC. Quinn brought in some familiar faces, such as safeties Damontae Kazee and Keanu Neal, but you can expect some more defensive picks upcoming in the 2021 NFL Draft, even in the secondary.
On offense, most of the starters are spoken for. The Cowboys still boast one of the top pass-catching units in the league with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb. They also still have Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield with Prescott. The offensive line is still good when it comes to its starters, but as we saw last season, if the unlucky injury bug bites some of their veterans, there isn’t much behind them to step in.
With those roster strengths and weaknesses in mind, here’s what a potential Cowboys seven-round mock draft could look like.
Round 1 (No. 10 overall): Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Cornerback is by far the biggest area of need for the Cowboys. Usually, you don’t want to come into the draft with a glaring need at any position so you have the flexibility to choose the best player available, but the Cowboys don’t really have that. It has to be cornerback here and Surtain is one of the best to choose from.
Round 2 (No. 44 overall): Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
With cornerback shored up, the Cowboys will have some flexibility in the second round. They would be wise to go somewhere in the trenches but can take whoever might be available at the time. In this mock draft, Texas’ Ossai was on the board, and he would make for a high-upside pick at a premium position. The Cowboys do have DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory, but that shouldn’t sway them away from Ossai if he’s there.
Round 3 (No. 75 overall): Ar’Darius Washington, S, TCU
The Cowboys bringing in Neal and Kazee in free agency allows them to wait on addressing safety, but if the talented Washington is on the board when they pick in the third round, he should be well on their radar and could make the most sense as the pick. Washington can also give Dallas some slot corner versatility.
Round 3 (No. 99 overall): Tyler Shelvin, IDL, LSU
The Cowboys need more impact in the middle, and though they have some young guys in Neville Gallimore and Trysten Hill, they should continue to add speed and size in that room. Shevin brings a nice pass rush upside to the nose tackle position.
Round 4 (No. 115 overall): Stone Forsythe, OT, Florida
I am not sure if Forsythe makes it to the fourth round, but wherever his stock has him land, the Cowboys should be interested. Tyron Smith has not played a full season since 2015 and only played in two games last season. They need more from their reserves.
Round 4 (No. 138 overall): Rodarius Williams, CB, Oklahoma State
The cornerback additions shouldn’t stop after the Cowboys’ top pick—at least we think their first cornerback addition will be with their top pick. Even with Jourdan Lewis back, he’s better as a slot cornerback. Trevon Diggs as their CB1 on the outside is shaky enough. They could definitely target an outside corner like Williams in the middle rounds.
Round 5 (No. 179 overall): Tyree Gillespie, S, Missouri
This would be a secondary depth pick and would depend on what the Cowboys were planning with Washington. If they want him more as a slot cornerback, then they could stand to double-dip at safety. Regardless, it’s a good pick for versatility. They just need new blood on the back end.
Round 6 (No. 192 overall): Khyiris Tonga, IDL, BYU
Here’s another player who I’m not sure actually makes it to this pick. Tonga is a big, strong dude who can truly anchor in the middle of a defense. He doesn't give you much pass rush individually, but what he does, he does it very well. If the Cowboys want a true space/gap eater on the inside, Tonga would be perfect as a late-round (maybe mid-round) pick.
Round 6 (No. 227 overall): Cade Johnson, WR, South Dakota State
You know the Cowboys aren’t going to go the whole draft without adding some offensive flair. Johnson is an elusive slot receiver who can also give the Cowboys some upside on special teams, which is important for these later picks.
Round 7 (No. 238 overall): Royce Newman, OT, Ole Miss
It’s one of the last picks in the draft, so just take a chance on a player who you believe shows good potential development at a position of value. For the Cowboys and their previously mentioned need for offensive line depth, that’s where they will likely keep their eyes.