The Dallas Cowboys selected Oregon State cornerback Nahshon Wright with the No. 99 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on Friday. Below we provide our instant grade on the selection.
And if you, as a Cowboy fan, preferred Dallas find a way to sign veteran cornerback and likely future Hall of Famer Richard Sherman?
Wright is telling you, you basically just did that.
“I look at myself as a more athletic and agile Richard Sherman,'' Wright tells the DFW media. "That scheme just fits perfect.”
The Dallas Cowboys wrapped up their second night of the NFL Draft by taking Oregon State cornerback Nahshon Wright with their No. 99 overall selection.
NFL Draft Bible Scouting Overview: Wright has length for days that teams will covet. He’s a young player who is only a true junior with two years of starting experience after spending his freshman year in junior college. Most comfortable in zone coverage where he displays a good feel for deciphering and spacing route concepts with notable awareness. Excels at using his length at the catch point, showing high-end ball skills with five career interceptions through 18 career games. Provides projectable press-man skills while showing the ability to mirror at the line of scrimmage and excel using his length. High-cut waist hinders his athletic ability, lacking burst to close downhill and when transitioning out of his hips. Inferior play strength is a concern showing an inability to get off blocks and bring power on contact as a tackler. An intriguing prospect who is scheme-specific; could reward a Cover 3 press-man team with a Pro Bowl-caliber player.
How he fits: Wright was the second cornerback the Cowboys took in the draft, after Kentucky’s Kelvin Joseph. Wright steps into a position group at cornerback that is in need of assistance, as Anthony Brown is the senior member of the group. As I wrote in the Joseph analysis and grade, the only sure-fire starter in the cornerback group in 2021 is second-year pro, Trevon Diggs.
What the Cowboys passed on: Right after the Wright selection, other corners came off the board — Washington’s Elijah Molden to Tennessee, Syracuse’s Ifeatu Melifonwu to Detroit, and Michigan’s Ambry Thomas to Michigan. Molden and Melifonwu felt like more polished players than Wright at this point in their respective careers.
Grade: C. This feels like the first reach of the draft by the Cowboys. Now, expectations should be tempered for any third-round pick. They’re not likely to come in and be a starter in Year 1 (though they can certainly be productive). Wright was NFL Draft Bible’s No. 20 corner (ESPN.com had him at No. 34).
He ended up being the No. 12 cornerback off the board. I’d have concerns about his lack of experience at the Pac-12 level, and the fact that he was only an honorable mention selection in the conference (for comparison’s sake, Molden was a two-time All-Pac 12 first-team selection).
So, what attracts the Cowboys to Wright? First, he’s 6-foot-4 and every NFL team needs a tall corner (Molden is 5-foot-10, for what it’s worth). Second, NFL Draft Bible’s projection of Wright as a Cover 3 corner is key here.
Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn - he of the "Legion of Boom'' D in Seattle, featuring Sherman, who is now a free agent - plays a lot of Cover 3, so it makes sense to find players that fit the scheme.
I’m skeptical that Wright can fit the scheme this year on a consistent basis. But Wright himself? No skepticism. All confidence.