Every general manager and scout will express their love for each of the draftees in the 2021 class. Evaluators will spend the next few weeks pointing out the positive traits of each prospect while evaluating their work on the practice field in OTAs and mini-camps. Although those glorified practices will serve as a starting point for how the final roster will come together, the draftees will be given the benefit of the doubt in many instances due to the comprehensive evaluation of their film during the pre-draft process and the vision of their long-term potential based on debates and conversations within the draft room.
Given some time to pore over my scouting reports on each of the Cowboys' draft picks, I decided to rank my Top 5 selections based on their talent and potential within the team's scheme. Here are the five draftees with the potential to pop immediately as young players:
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State: The ultra-athletic linebacker is an instinctive tackling machine with sideline to sideline range and A-plus blitz skills. Parsons is a blue-chip defender with the potential to contend for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors as a stat-stuffer at the position. The 6-foot-3, 246-pounder should collect 100-plus tackles with a handful of sacks and pressures that showcase his talents as a disruptive force on the second level. With Dan Quinn poised to insert No.11 into the starting lineup as a "Mike" linebacker in a hybrid 3-4 scheme, Parsons' versatility and playmaking potential could quickly reverse the Cowboys' defensive fortunes.
Osa Odighizuwa, DT, UCLA: It is hard to find energetic, interior pass rushers with outstanding quickness, length, and strength but the UCLA standout could be the total package at the position. Odighizuwa combines an ultra-quick first step with polished hand skills that enable him to work the edges of blockers with a variety of jiu-jitsu-like combat moves at the line. As a natural pass rusher with a non-stop motor and cat-like quickness, the 75th overall pick is the perfect inside pass rusher to feature within a Nickel package on obvious passing downs.
Jabril Cox, LB, LSU: The NFL's shift towards a pass-centric approach makes it imperative to have more speed and athleticism on the field at all times. Cox fits the bill as a dynamic second-level defender with outstanding instincts, awareness, and cover skills. He immediately vies for playing time as a sub-package linebacker assigned to track running backs and tight ends while awaiting his turn as an every-down linebacker. Considering the shifty running backs that are dominating the league as pass-catching threats, Cox gives DQ a "checkmate" defender on the chessboard.
Simi Fehoko, WR, Stanford: The addition of a big-bodied pass catcher with speed to burn could make the Cowboys' potent WR corps nearly impossible to defend in the near future. Fehoko is a big play specialist with the capacity to stretch the defense as a vertical threat while also handling some of the dirty work between the hashes. The Stanford product displays outstanding hand-eye coordination and ball skills snagging balls in traffic. Fehoko's toughness, concentration, and production make him an intriguing option as a WR4 to start his NFL career.
Israel Mukuamu, S/CB, South Carolina: Whenever you can put a safety on the field with cornerback-like cover skills, you improve the versatility of the secondary. Mukuamu is a long, rangy athlete with a rugged game that should enable him to hold his own on the island or between the hashes. His awareness, superb ball skills, and sticky hands will lead to more takeaways once he settles in at his new position. Although Mukuama will start near the bottom of the depth chart, the 6-foot-4, 212-pound safety could rise up the charts quickly if he is able to combine his natural tools with more confidence and awareness as a pro.