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Draft Central | 2021

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How The Staff Writers Feel About This 2021 Draft


This NFL Draft seemed to have it all, especially from the Cowboys' perspective.

That happens when you pick 11 times. But from drama with the first pick, to head-scratchers, to value picks to even some controversial picks, the Cowboys seemed to have a little bit of everything.

So we asked the staff writers to weigh in on the draft, detailing their most favorite picks and the ones that brought the most questions to the table.

Rob Phillips:

  • Parsons Pick: Besides his obvious talents, Parsons brings a competitive edge that the defense needs. I'm really intrigued to see how he's used in Dan Quinn's scheme. Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones emphasized a specific word Thursday night: "Pressure, pressure, pressure." Not saying Parsons will be an every-down pass rusher, but sure sounds like the Cowboys want to maximize his ability there. I think they'll find a way to play all the linebackers together some.
  • Favorite Pick: Quinton Bohanna. I've been saying for months that interior defensive line was the probably the biggest offseason need on defense. We'll see if Bohanna can crack a really crowded rotation, but I just like the approach here. A 330-pound run stuffer? Yes, please.
  • Best Value: Jabril Cox is a linebacker who covers like a safety. As productive as he was at LSU, I'm very surprised he was still around in the fourth. Cowboys vice president of player personnel Will McClay emphasized the importance of players who thrive in space. A terrific pick to start Day 3.
  • Not Sure About: Fourth-round offensive tackle Josh Ball had some off-the-field issues in college that the Cowboys had to explore before making the pick. Ball says he has matured and moved forward. The Cowboys agree. Assuming that's the case, he's got a chance to compete for the swing tackle job in training camp because he has left tackle traits.

Jonny Auping:

  • Parsons pick: I don't think there's any denying how talented Parsons is. You don't have to watch much film on him to know that, and I'm sure he'll make the team better. But I do think Slater was the best player available. I can't help but think in six years people will wonder how the Chargers got Slater at 13 to protect Herbert for possibly his entire career.
  • Favorite Pick: I love the Jabril Cox pick. I'm sure they were tempted to pick him at 99, but had trouble justifying it after picking Parsons in the first round, which would be understandable. But they just had to pull the trigger on him at 115.
  • Best value: Cox might just provide depth his rookie year, but they might need more than that from him eventually.
  • Not sure about: By all accounts Josh Ball is very talented, but his off-the-field stuff is concerning for the future and doesn't send a great message. I can't claim to know everything about the situation by any means, but I know a lot of teams passed on him and there's a limit to what you can reasonably call a "reclamation project."

Nick Eatman:

  • Parsons Pick: I've said for a while that he was one of my favorite players in this draft and it addressed the biggest long-term need. I think Parsons steps right in and will be one of the team's top 2-3 defensive players.
  • Favorite Pick: Of course, I'm going to love the Bohanna selection. I've been asking for someone to clog up the middle like this. Even in the sixth round, he's got a chance to contribute right away. Who else looks like him?
  • Best Value: Has to be Jabril Cox. I know the Cowboys wanted him closer to the second round. He adds instant depth at linebacker.
  • Not Sure About: There were some head-scratchers along the way but I'm not all there with the second-round pick. For a position that is a major priority, the Kelvin Joseph pick seems a little shaky considering he basically parted ways with two different schools. The Cowboys need him to step in and play right away but he hasn't been someone that teams have been able to count on. Obviously the Cowboys are confident that they can.

Mickey Spagnola:

  • Parsons Pick: Great pick. Cowboys got the best defensive player in the draft and at a position of great need when you consider how poorly the Cowboys played against the run last season. Carolina and Denver did the Cowboys a favor.
  • Favorite Pick: This one is easy. Getting Jabril Cox in the fourth round. Heck, wouldn't have been mad at them if they had taken Cox in the second or third round. I'll say it again, this team needed an infusion at linebacker, especially if they are going to dabble in more 3-4.
  • Best Value: Know this is a bit of a controversial pick, but getting Josh Ball, a potential swing tackle, and I mean for this year not for the future, in the fourth round is a steal if that works out. Don't let the Marshall part of this fool you. He was starting at Florida State before his suspension by the school's judiciary committee following aggressive behavior with his girlfriend as a freshman had him transferring and deciding not to return to Tallahassee.
  • Not sure about: No doubt, second-rounder Kelvin Joseph. He gets runs off by LSU and then transfers to Kentucky. Probably a first-round talent. Character issues drops him into the second, and my second-round pick can't have character issues if I have designs of the corner becoming a step-in starter.

Kyle Youmans:

  • Parsons Pick: I thought the right pick at 10, when the corners were gone, would have been Rashawn Slater. However, with the direction the defense was going and the ability of Parsons to add attitude and speed to that side of the ball? I'm not surprised, nor upset, about the pick.
  • Favorite Pick: Chauncey Gholston is such a sneaky good pick in this draft. His length and athleticism allow him to play inside and outside for Dan Quinn and I can't wait to see him used in stunts and other defensive line looks.
  • Best Value: Usually once a draft there is a 'blinking light' situation where a player you wanted early on just continues to be there in the later rounds. This year, it was Jabril Cox. Great pick in the fourth round.
  • Not Sure About: I absolutely love his story and his mentality, and I'm cheering for him to succeed. But Nahshon Wright's selection in the third is a pick I'll be wondering about for a long time. There is pressure and expectations for being a Top 100 pick. Is he ready?

David Helman:

  • Parsons Pick: I would have drafted Northwestern's Rashawn Slater to bolster the offensive line, but I have to give the Cowboys credit for keeping a cool head. If this pick is going to be worth it, I think it's on Dan Quinn to find ways to get this guy to the quarterback, in addition to using his abilities as a linebacker.
  • Favorite Pick: Jabril Cox. He's not as dynamic as Parsons, but Cox has fantastic coverage ability and is a high character guy for the locker room. There's a lot to like about this pick.
  • Best Value: Sorry for repeating myself, but I think it has to be Cox. Most analysts saw him as a Top 100 pick, maybe even Top 50. There might be some injury concerns with his shoulder, but not the type that I think should have pushed him as far as Day 3. The Cowboys were having conversations about drafting him on Friday night, and they still managed to draft him on Saturday morning. That's the definition of value.
  • Not Sure About: People love to use "off the field problems" as a catch-all for red flags, but that doesn't do justice to the selection of Josh Ball in the fourth round. Ball was drafted out of Marshall because he transferred from Florida State after a suspension for domestic violence incidents. To be clear, Ball was never charged with a crime, but a former girlfriend filed a petition for an injunction for protection against him. It's not my place to play judge or jury, but I really hope the Cowboys did their homework before deciding to make Ball the 138th overall pick in this draft.

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