Offseason | 2021

Mick Shots: A Much Deeper Dive Into The Draft


FRISCO, Texas – Time for some NFL Draft leftovers.

Leftovers are good, right? Just like cold, leftover pizza the next morning.

By the numbers, the Cowboys used every one of those 11 draft choices they ended up with after the trade down two spots with the Eagles, picking up that third third-round selection. Then they will add 13 undrafted free agents, making that 24 additions to the now 90-man roster they reached on Wednesday by releasing six players, most notably defensive tackle Antwaun Woods, who had recently signed his one-year, $2.1 million restricted free-agent tender.

Woods, who had started 32 of 39 games played over the past three seasons, got caught up in a numbers game after the Cowboys signed two defensive tackles in free agency and then drafted two more, including the 327-pound Quinton Bohanna in the sixth round. Along with adding a couple of defensive ends who have the ability to move inside.

Wasn't so much his $2.1 million base salary as it became a numbers game. Woods was a favorite of former defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, and wouldn't be surprised if Marinelli, now the defensive line coach with the Raiders, recommends his signing.

There's an opening shot. Now let's grab a few more slices.

  • Armchair GMs: There is always a lot of second-guessing that goes on after a draft, and this year is no different. Some has to second-round pick Kelvin Joseph, the Cowboys taking the Kentucky cornerback by way of LSU with the 44th selection in the draft. By the time the Cowboys' turn came up, six cornerbacks had already been drafted: Jaycee Horn, Patrick Surtain II, Caleb Farley, Greg Newsome II, Eric Stokes and Tyson Campbell. The Cowboys made an attempt to trade up with the Jets for the second pick in the second if Campbell was there, but Jacksonville took him with the first pick of the round. And the cost of trading back into the end of the first for Campbell was too pricey. Joseph was the next best option, assuming the Cowboys' thirst for tall, long-armed corners eliminated the 5-10 Asante Samuel Jr.
  • About Face: Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops was not happy with Joseph toward the end of the season, saying his star corner came to him before the South Carolina game and wanted to sit out. "He didn't want to opt out, but he didn't want to play this week," Stoops said at the time. "Didn't want to risk injury, (and) I said, 'That's understandable, but that's not how we're going to do it.' I can't just have him out there standing around saying, 'I'm not playing in this game.'" Even though Stoops then encouraged Joseph to simply opt-out, he later would have this to say of the corner: "He's not been one bit of a problem for me in the two years that he's been here. He's not been a problem whatsoever. He's always done a good job, he's been on time, he's worked hard. He bought into our culture and our program and has been a lot of fun to coach."
  • Told You So: Wonder if the NFLPA, encouraging players not to work out at team facilities this offseason or participate in OTAs and minicamps out of an abundance of COVID caution, will financially help out Denver right tackle Ja'Wuan James. The Broncos projected starter, who had been working out at the facility until the NFLPA put out its memo, ruptured his Achilles working out at an off-site facility in the Denver area and not under the supervision of the team training staff, meaning the Broncos can place him on the non-football injury list and would not be responsible for paying his $9.85 million base salary for 2021 and the potential $5 million guaranteed for 2022. Denver also could go after the leftover portion of his signing bonus. Here is a guy who signed a four-year $51 million deal in 2019, but after spraining an MCL and tearing meniscus in his knee that year and opting out of 2020, James has only played 63 snaps over three games for the Broncos. And now this. Seems the good majority of the Cowboys players are participating in the team's strength and conditioning program, and those few who aren't might should be reconsidering their decision.
  • Half-Dozen Released: To reach the 90-man roster limit in order to sign their 13 undrafted free agents, notable players that the Cowboys released along with Woods are offensive lineman Adam Redmond and cornerback Savion Smith, who started one of six games he played in last year. The other three were practice squanders: defensive tackle Walter Palmore, defensive end Ladarius Hamilton and cornerback Kemon Hall.
  • · Mud Island: If you didn't know, Mud Island Park is a peninsula in the Mississippi River adjacent to Memphis, hometown to the Cowboys' sixth-round pick, defensive tackle Quinton Bohanna. Well, seems like he takes the "mud" part to heart. When asked if he's had this underdog mentality since high school, Bohanna said, "Always. I'm from Memphis, Tennessee. I don't know if y'all know much about the city, but we are just a grit and grind city. Everything we get, we get out of the mud, and that's me." That would be music to the ears of future Cowboys Hall of Fame tight end Jason Witten, who has always maintained the secret to his success is "in the dirt."
  • Bohanna II: There was a bunch of yelling and screaming in the background when ol' Quinton was on his conference call with the Cowboys media, causing someone to ask him if those were his nephews making all that noise. "That's my auntie, my cousins," Bohanna said of his Cowboys-fan family. "They're all country as hell." As much as the Cowboys need his 330 pounds to clog up the middle, we need this guy to make the team for interview purposes.
  • Under The Radar: Keep an eye on wide receiver Simi Fehoko, the Cowboys' fifth-round selection out of Stanford. Know this: Not only in 2020 was he an All-Pac 12 first teamer, but he also placed on the Pac-12 All-Academic Honor Roll, and should remind you, that is at Stanford. He's already 23, turning 24 in November, having served a two-year LDS mission commitment in Seoul, South Korea, before entering college. If you hadn't caught the game, in Stanford's double-overtime win over UCLA, 48-47, Fehoko caught a school-record 16 passes for 230 yards and three touchdown, the second forcing overtime and the third Stanford's TD in the second overtime. Also this: Of his 62 career receptions over three seasons, 77 percent of those (48) went for either a first down or a touchdown. Keep an eye on this guy, since he also plays special teams, saying, "They haven't really mentioned it at all, but I'm sure I'm going to come in and be able to make an immediate impact on special teams. With my size (6-3, 222), speed (4.3 time in the 40) and ability (one blocked field goal), I have no problems coming in and playing." So might better get used to saying sih-mee fay-ho-ko.
  • Four-Day Leftovers: The Cowboys obviously had an eye on cornerback Nahshon Wright, their third-round pick (99th overall). While he wasn't that high on a lot of amateur draft boards, the Cowboys coveted his 6-4 frame. Because after selecting him, there was a run on cornerbacks, with corners taken on five of the next six picks, along with another in the fourth round before the Cowboys grabbed linebacker Jabril Cox with their 10th pick in the fourth … When you are selected with the 12th pick in the first round, you are awarded a key to the city where you grew up, Micah Parsons bestowed that honor by Harrisburg, Pa. … Always like when players are multi-sport athletes, as is Cowboys third-round defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa, a three-time heavyweight wrestling champion in the state of Oregon, going undefeated in his final two high school seasons (46-0 and 45-0).

And earning the last word this post-draft week goes to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, taking part in his 33rd NFL draft, discounting those who figured the Cowboys were thrown off guard when corners Horn and Surtain were selected with the eighth and ninth picks ahead of the Cowboys at No. 10: "We've been talking about the cornerbacks being gone at eight and nine for days, but certainly today we intensively talked about the possibility all day long, about being ready. There were no surprises, no consternation about the circumstances to make this pick."

And to me, there darn-well shouldn't have been. In fact, Parsons should have been the pick no matter what.

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