Cowboys NFL Draft Strategy: Deal with Defense or Swing for Offense?

What should the Cowboys do on Thursday night. Go smart or go big?
Publish date:

The Dallas Cowboys currently own the No. 10 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Offensively, things should return to normal with Dak Prescott officially under contract through 2025. 

Defensively? Who's to say right now. 

Dallas finished third in the NFC East during the first season under Mike McCarthy. Considering defensive woes, plus Prescott's lower body injury sidelining him post-Week 5, one could give a mulligan to the staff. 

Jerry Jones will not allow a second moving forward. 

There's a difference from being a playoff contender in a Super Bowl contender. Right now, the Cowboys offense will keep them in playoff potential. 

Super Bowl bound? Best own the draft, Jerry.

Looking at the Cowboys roster, which Jones is all but running back for Round 2 in 2021, there certainly are some holes both in the short and long-term game. 

They have the QB right, time to get the rest done.

All that aside, the 2021 draft bodes well in Dallas' favor. There's upside at both the safety and cornerback role. Same could be said at linebacker and offensive tackle. While pass-rusher is a downgrade as a whole, that means Dallas shouldn't reach. 

Even with flaws across the board, Dallas has options entering April 29. One of these three moves could be ones that bolster the roster for years to come. 


Exit Mike Nolan, enter Dan Quinn. Nolan's defense was one of the worst in Dallas history, with the run team finishing dead last in 2020. Although the secondary wasn't atrocious, the team lost both Chiobe Awuzie and Xavier Woods to free agency. 

Quinn brings from Atlanta Keanu Neal, a run-stopping strong safety, and Damonte Kazee, a rangy free safety with the knack for creating turnovers. They solve a problem on paper, but both will be on prove-it deals. 

Dallas drafted Trevon Diggs in the second round last spring and retain slot defender Jourdan Lewis in free agency. The former Alabama alum is best served as the No. 2 option while Lewis is limited inside. 

With an expected run on quarterbacks and wide receivers, the Cowboys could have their pick at cornerback. Alabama's Patrick Surtain II is a well-round corner with No. 1 playmaking skills. South Carolina's Jaycee Horn is a physical in man coverage and posses the traits need to face off against talkative No.1 receivers. 

Virginia Tech's Caleb Farley was once believed to be the top cornerback in the draft before his back surgery. Although his rankings might shaken up, the former Hokie still could be No. 1 on Dallas' big board. 

Cornerback is the obvious need for the Cowboys. Should they stay at 10, this is the move. 


Say Dallas wants to gain more picks to help the team with cost-affordable players? The option of trading back wouldn't be that far-fetched. 

With 2021 being a class featuring five "franchise"  quarterbacks, anyone slipping outside No. 9 would drive a bargain price to move up. With talent at tackle, safety and cornerback, who's to say the Cowboys don't move back to a multitude of picks? 

The San Francisco 49ers moved up nine spots to secure their quarterback of the future. The cost? Three first-rounders and a future third went to Miami. Both Washington and Chicago would need to move up roughly the same number of spots with Dallas to land either Ohio State's Justin Fields or North Dakota State's Trey Lance. 

Two or three future firsts and two mid-round selections, sounds like a win-win overall. 

Dallas still could add a cornerback with the smooth footed Greg Newsome from Northwestern. A left tackle of the future? Virginia Tech's Christian Darrisaw. Could Farley still be there at No. 19 or 20? We think so. 

Sometimes less is more. In this case, Dallas moving back lands them a lesser-known talent, but more draft capital for years to come. 


There's two things to know about draft night with Dallas. The first is Dallas loves to draft offensive players. 

The second is that if Jones wants you, he'll get you. Anyone remember CeeDee Lamb? 

According to multiple reports, Jones and the Cowboys love Florida's Kyle Pitts. Is he a tight end? Is he a wide receiver? Doesn't matter. Line him up and let him play. 

The former Gator exploded in the SEC on his way to a John Mackey Award in 2020. His 770 yards and 12 touchdowns helped Kyle Trask become an overnight sensation. His speed (4.44 40-time) and size (6-foot-6, 246 lbs) makes him a nightmare to tackle in open space. 

After paying Prescott a grand-daddy deal, making sure he lives up to the contract has to be on Jones' mind. Trading up to the No. 4 or No. 5 spot would be costly, but it adds another weapon in 2021. 

Dallas' tight ends finished with a combined 737 yards and four touchdowns. Will Blake Jarwin return to full-form? Is Dallas planning on signing Dalton Schultz and Michael Gallup this offseason? 

Pitts fits both roles and then some. 

After waiting it out with Prescott, Jones has to make sure he hits for the next four seasons. With Pitts, it's another reason the 27-year-old can't make excuses for lack of production. 

And in Kellen Moore's offense? There's a chance this Dallas offense could break records for 2021 and beyond with No. 84 on staff.

If Dallas is trading up, it's for Pitts.