The 2020 NFL season was one to forget for the Dallas Cowboys. Despite injuries derailing their season, the Cowboys were still in the playoff race come Week 17. The good news is the offseason has gone much better than the regular season. First, the Cowboys agreed on a long-term deal with franchise quarterback Dak Prescott. Then, after some cap manipulation, the Cowboys re-signed Jourdan Lewis and added several veterans on defense. Dallas holds the 10th pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft and has several holes that need to be filled.
To help with this mock draft, I used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator.
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Round 1, Pick 10: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Even before they lost Chidobe Awuzie to the Cincinnati Bengals in free agency, cornerback was a need for the Cowboys. Last year Dallas nailed their selection of former Alabama star Trevon Diggs in the second round. It would be foolish for Dallas not to return to the Alabama pipeline and select Diggs’ former teammate, Surtain. In his three years at Alabama, Surtain had four interceptions and 24 passes defended despite teams throwing away from him. With Kenny Golladay and Curtis Samuel now in the division, the Cowboys must address the cornerback position early in the draft.
Patrick Surtain II in 2019 & 2020:
🐘 1,026 coverage snaps
🐘 3 TD's allowed pic.twitter.com/JIJgo3Z8c3
— PFF College (@PFF_College) March 12, 2021
Round 2, Pick 44: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
While Dallas has focused on the defensive side of the ball in free agency, they did sign former Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe to be their swing tackle. However, it’s only a one-year deal, and the Cowboys still need depth along the offensive line. Meanwhile, Leatherwood had an impressive career at Alabama and can play multiple spots on the offensive line, including both tackle spots and guard. While Dallas has their offensive tackle spots locked up for the next few years, Leatherwood could take over at left guard in 2022 as Connor Williams is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
Round 3, Pick 75: Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest
Last season, the Cowboys had 31 sacks, but no player had seven or more. Furthermore, the only two players with more than four were DeMarcus Lawrence with 6.5 and Aldon Smith with five. However, Lawrence faces a double team on almost every snap, and the Cowboys announced that Smith wouldn’t be back with the team in 2021. Meanwhile, Basham had a great career at Wake Forest, totaling 19.5 sacks and 35.5 tackles for a loss over his final three seasons. The Cowboys have to find a way to get pressure on the quarterback, so expect them to use multiple picks on pass-rushing help.
Round 3, Pick 99: Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Dallas has one of the better linebacker duos in the NFL with Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith. However, the Cowboys will have to decide on Vander Esch’s fifth-year option soon, and with his injury history, they might decline it. Furthermore, the Cowboys can save $5 million in cap space by releasing Smith after the 2021 season. Even if both are back in 2022, linebacker is still a position they need to address. Before suffering a torn ACL in 2019, Moses was considered a first-round pick coming off his breakout 2018 season. While Dallas signed Keanu Neal to play linebacker, that shouldn’t stop them from adding a linebacker in the draft. If Dallas lands Moses at the end of the third round, it would be a steal.
For more on Moses, check out our scouting report on him here.
Round 4, Pick 115: Andre Cisco, SAF, Syracuse
Entering free agency, the safety position needed to be addressed. Dallas added Neal (who mostly will play linebacker) and Damontae Kazee in free agency. However, they lost starter Xavier Woods, as he signed with the Minnesota Vikings. While the signings of Neal and Kazee are valuable, they aren’t long-term solutions. Meanwhile, during his time at Syracuse, Cisco totaled 136 tackles and 13 interceptions. The Cowboys love Donovan Wilson at strong safety. Pairing him with Cisco would give Dallas one of the better young safety duos in the league.
I like me some play making safeties! Andre Cisco pic.twitter.com/5g4giyNTDY
— CROCKPOT🤴🏾 (@eric_crocker) September 12, 2020
Round 4, Pick 138: Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida State
In the past two drafts, the Cowboys have used day two picks on defensive tackles. In 2019 they used a second-round pick on Trysten Hill, and in 2020 they used a third-round pick on Neville Gallimore. However, neither has done much in their career so far. Recently, veteran defensive linemen Tyrone Crawford retired, leaving a massive hole in Dallas’ defensive line. Meanwhile, Wilson almost declared for the 2020 NFL Draft after his breakout 2019 season with 8.5 tackles for a loss and five sacks. However, he struggled with injuries his senior year, and his draft stock suffered because of it. If Dallas gets the 2019 version of Wilson, they will have found themselves a 10-year starter in the middle rounds.
Round 5, Pick 179: Wyatt Hubert, EDGE, Kansas State
Despite spending a third-round pick on Basham, the Cowboys would be wise to spend one of their day three picks on another edge rusher. Hubert didn’t get much media in college, but he was a force during his time at Kansas State. Over his three-year career, Hubert totaled 33 tackles for a loss and 20 sacks. The Cowboys have six selections on day three of the draft. If they don’t use at least one of them on an upside pass rusher, that would be a massive mistake.
#KansasState EDGE Wyatt Hubert can win at the top of the rush and has a couple of moves in his bag of tricks. High-effort guy. Consistently attacks throwing arm. Think he can find a role in the NFL – one of a handful of juniors heading to @seniorbowl next week! pic.twitter.com/hyXQ06ANbA
— Fran Duffy (@EaglesXOs) January 18, 2021
Round 6, Pick 192: Drake Jackson, iOL, Kentucky
This pick might seem like a waste. However, you can never have too many good offensive linemen. Last season, four of the five starting offensive linemen missed time because of injuries. Furthermore, the depth at center is thin as veteran Joe Looney is a free agent. While 2020 fourth-round pick Tyler Biadasz had a good rookie season, the Cowboys have no backup center currently on the roster. During his time at Kentucky, Jackson served as the anchor of the offensive line for four seasons. He showed an ability to handle nose tackles one-on-one and was an excellent combo blocker. After a season full of injuries, the Cowboys should invest multiple picks in the offensive line.
Round 6, Pick 227: Cornell Powell, WR, Clemson
Yes, the Cowboys have the best wide receiver trio in the NFL with Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup. However, the depth behind them is thin. Furthermore, Gallup is entering a contract year. After investing a first-round pick on Lamb and a massive contract on Cooper last year, the Cowboys likely won’t re-sign Gallup. Meanwhile, Powell had a breakout 2020 season in part due to the season-ending injury to Justyn Ross. He finished tied for first on the team with seven touchdowns and second with 882 receiving yards. Powell then had a good performance during Senior Bowl week. While he might not play much as a rookie, Powell would be an excellent replacement for Gallup next year.
Grown man play by Cornell Powell.
— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) November 8, 2020
Round 7, Pick 238: Feleipe Franks, QB, Arkansas
Quarterback isn’t a critical need for Dallas. However, backup quarterback Andy Dalton signed with the Chicago Bears, leaving Dallas without a trustworthy backup. When both Prescott and Dalton missed games last season, the offense was horrific. Meanwhile, in his final season at Arkansas, Franks completed 68.5 percent of his throws for 2,107 yards and 17 touchdowns in nine games. He is far from a finished product but has the size, arm strength, and mobility to develop into a reliable backup. While Franks will never turn into the starter, the Cowboys would be wise to use one of their later picks on a developmental backup quarterback.
For more on Franks, check out our scouting report on him here.