The Cowboys have a critical 2021 NFL Draft ahead as they try to enjoy a rebound season with a healthy Dak Prescott. Jerry Jones’ team is sitting on 10 picks, starting at No. 10 overall in the first round.
Dallas can go in several different directions early and late, but in the end, it must focus on looking for key defensive upgrades. Offense will get its share of consideration, too, because of Prescott and the established prowess, but more so in nuts and bolts than primary areas of need.
Here’s how Sporting News projects all of the Cowboys picks from April 29-May 1 through all seven rounds:
Cowboys mock draft 2021
No. 10 overall, first round
- Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama (6-2, 203 pounds)
The Cowboys should be focused on two main courses above all else: cornerback and offensive tackle, with a strong side of luxury tight end. At tackle, they could go after Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater or Oregon’s Penei Sewell if either is available, more so the latter. But corner is in the wheelhouse and the decision will be between Surtain and Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley. Surtain is a very safe pick and fills a big need. There’s no question his size, skill set and pedigree give him shutdown potential as an outside coverage man.
No. 44 overall, second round
- Carlos Basham Jr. EDGE, Wake Forest (6-5, 275 pounds)
When the Cowboys pick again, they should think more about stashing sleeper offensive linemen later in the draft and look for a pressure boost up front to help their upgraded secondary with Surtain. Basham was very productive using a variety of moves for the Demon Deacons.
No. 75 overall, third round
- Paris Ford, S, Pittsburgh (5-11, 190 pounds)
This has been another weak position in the secondary for Dallas with considerable veteran turnover the past few offseasons. The Cowboys need a well-rounded option who can help covering inside playing off Surtain as well as contribute against the run.
No. 99 overall, third round (compensatory)
- Spencer Brown, OT, Northern Iowa (6-9, 314 pounds)
After going defense three times, Jerry Jones can tap into a hidden gem of a tackle with a massive frame who should remind him of recent Cowboys starter Doug Free.
No. 115 overall, fourth round
- Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida State (6-4, 303 pounds)
Wilson, once a first-round consideration because of his pure power, disappointed in 2020 with his physicality and effort, but his past shows that he packs plenty of pop if an NFL team can coach him back on track. The Cowboys like to take chances on fallen stars.
No. 138 overall, fourth round (compensatory)
- Alim McNeill, DT, NC State (6-2, 317 pounds)
The Cowboys go back-to-back defensive tackle to beef up their front and it wouldn’t be surprising if they jumped on McNeill a pick or two earlier. This other inside force from the ACC also has a powerful base and flashes a dynamic pass rush.
No. 179 overall, fifth round (compensatory)
- Frank Darby, WR, Arizona State (6-0, 201 pounds)
They are set in 11 personnel for now with Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, but the Cowboys could benefit from bringing along a fourth option with good size and speed meant to be a big-play field-stretcher contingency for Gallup’s 2022 free agency.
No. 192 overall, sixth round
- Jack Anderson, G, Texas Tech (6-5, 314 pounds)
The Cowboys go to Lubbock for Anderson, who has rare quick feet and athleticism for an inside prospect and can round into a more complete blocker by better using his power.
No. 227, sixth round (compensatory)
- Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky (5-11, 197 pounds)
Here’s a second cornerback to put in the draft haul for additional size and depth. Joseph is a natural playmaker with good on-ball and pursuit instincts.
No. 238, seventh round (compensatory)
- Sam Ehlinger, QB, Texas (6-1, 220 pounds)
The Cowboys saw they didn’t have much promise in the way of developmental dual threats behind Dak Prescott last year so it would be good to go down to Austin to bring in Ehlinger, with whom they have had good pre-draft conversation.
Need Your Help Today. Your $1 can change life.