The Dallas Cowboys used all of their selections on Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft on Saturday. Below we have an instant grade on each pick, along with links to our Cowboys SI Draft coverage and links to NFL Draft Bible bios on nearly every player.
NFL Draft Bible Scouting Overview: A mainstay for the national champion Bison for three seasons, Cox made the most of his opportunity with LSU in 2020. A long, athletic linebacker who exhibits tremendous range and athleticism, Cox was a major part of three FCS national championships at North Dakota State. He boasted excellent stats while there with 258 tackles, 32 tackles for loss and 14 sacks. With the impact he showed at LSU, his traits were shown to be able to transcend any competition level. He is a dominant sideline-to-sideline linebacker who can also rush the passer. Cox has outstanding coverage ability, in both man and zone. He was one of the best players in the FCS during his tenure at NDSU, and quickly became not only one of the more talented defenders in the SEC, but in all of college football in 2020. With the competition question marks put to rest and another nice showing in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, expect to hear Cox’s name somewhere on Day 2 with the type of talent to become one of the better coverage linebackers in the entire league.
How he fits: Cox gives the Cowboys more depth at linebacker, their second selection at the position group after Micah Parsons. With the retirement of Sean Lee, Cox’s pass coverage skills will be quite useful.
What the Cowboys passed on: The New York Giants took defensive end Elerson Smith directly after the Cowboys. Plus, Duke’s talented pass rusher, Chris Rumph, was right there.
Grade: B-minus. I saw Cox play in person at NDSU and I think he has the talent to be a significant contributor for the Cowboys by the end of Year 1. His immediate role will likely be a third-down pass defender, something he can excel at right away. He proved he can play at the FCS and FBS level. This might be a better pick than some of the Cowboys’ selections on Day 3, if we’re being honest. Hearing the Cowboys had a second-round grade on Cox leaves you confident they got something more than a fourth-round pick.
NFL Draft Bible Scouting Overview: Originally a player for the Florida State Seminoles, Ball had a brief stop at Butler Community College before landing with the Thundering Herd. Ball is a massive human being who is almost impossible to miss on the field. As might be imagined, he is a powerful dude who has some incredibly strong hands at the point of attack. In pass protection, he is a difficult player to get around with adequate length and athleticism for the position. Despite his high pedigree, he was not able to secure a full-time role in his first year with the team in 2019. In 2020, Ball assumed a starting role and showed a lot of promise that once was anticipated as a recruit. He is a heavy-footed mover who struggles to work laterally and to the second level. Ball can lose leverage when working laterally, not able to cover enough ground athletically against speedier outside rushers. Despite manning the left side for the Thundering Herd, Ball may be suited more at right tackle going forward. There are clearly traits to work with here as a developmental piece on Day 3 of the 2021 draft. The biggest question marks for teams will be if he checks out off the field.
READ MORE: Micah Parsons Instant Draft Grade
How he fits: With the return to health of players like Tyron Smith, La’el Collins, and Zack Martin, Ball projects as a backup for 2021. With his size and ability, he looks more like a tackle than a guard down the line. But he could be cross-trained to be both.
What the Cowboys passed on: Right after the Cowboys selected Ball, the Cincinnati Bengals selected another offensive lineman, East Carolina tackle D’Ante Smith.
READ MORE: Kelvin Joseph Instant Draft Grade
Grade: C. One should not have the expectation that you’re going to get an instant starter on Day 3 of the NFL Draft. Ball isn’t ready for that, especially as he toggled from a Power 5 program to junior college and then to a Group of 5 program. The talent is there, and if the Cowboys envision him as a starter one day, they’re going to need to wait a year or two. But the raw materials are there for him to be a swing tackle backup by Year 2, and perhaps a starter by Year 3.
WR Simi Fehoko, Stanford, 6-foot-4, 222 pounds (No. 179 overall)
NFL Draft Bible Scouting Overview: Hidden among another historically deep wide receiver class for the 2021 NFL Draft, Fehoko is the type of high upside athlete who could go a lot higher than some anticipate. A height-weight-speed freak for the position, Fehoko has the look of a possession receiver - or at least most defenders think so until he has blown past them. Featured on “Feldman’s Freaks" list during the summer, Fehoko is the type of athletic dynamo (unofficial 4.37-second 40 at Stanford Pro Day) who will have coaches drooling over the possibilities of future development. Working mostly on a vertical plane, Fehoko is an exceptional deep ball tracker, able to contort his body to work positioning to finish down the field. He has a very projectable frame, boasting a huge catch radius to win at the contact point. Fehoko’s second gear is among the best in the 2021 class regardless of body type. Stanford lined him out all over the field, from in the boundary, slot or as a Z receiver. While he put some outstanding catches on film, Fehoko also has had troubling drops. His long speed is outstanding, but he isn’t the most explosive player off the line of scrimmage. He is inconsistent eating up cushion early in reps, leading to some ineffectiveness in the short area of the field. Fehoko is a pretty flexible athlete but needs some added attention as a route runner early in his career. Far from a finished product, Fehoko’s best football is firmly in front of him. With added attention, Fehoko is the type of big-bodied vertical presence that all teams crave.
READ MORE: DL Osa Odighizuwa Instant Draft Grade
How he fits: He gives the Cowboys another ‘long’ presence on the outside, someone who can go up and get jump balls and overwhelm smaller defensive backs. The sub-4.4 speed is a bonus.
What the Cowboys passed on: A safety, USC’s Talanoa Hufanga, and another wide receiver, Cornell Powell of Clemson.
Cowboys Ex Joe Looney Signs With Garrett's Giants: NFL Tracker
Updated by the minute, our Dallas Cowboys 2021 NFL Free Agency Tracker: News and views on the roster-building effort
Dak Injury: Cowboys Discuss Need For New Backup QB - Foles? Bortles?
The Cowboys simply have the normal reasons to be worried - and they do not presently employ a backup QB who can calm those worries.
Cowboys Growing Frustrated With Amari Cooper Injury Issues?
Now, despite his status as a perennial Pro Bowler, is Dallas suddenly dissatisfied with Amari Cooper?
READ MORE: DE Chauncey Golston Instant Draft Grade
Grade: C. He FEELS like a receiver that could be a potential replacement for Michael Gallup next season, if the Cowboys aren’t able to keep him. Beyond Gallup, Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, there is room for Fehoko to make the team as a fourth or fifth wide receiver this season and be a special teams-type of player. His impact won’t be felt this year, unless injuries hit the receiver group, and to this point it’s been a durable group.
NT Quinton Bohanna, Kentucky, 6-foot-4, 327 pounds (No. 192 overall)
How he fits: He’s a large human being. He’s going to be a one-gap technique player who will be on the field to stop the run on first and sometimes second down. He’s going to do a lot of running back and forth between the playing field and the sideline because his skill set is limited.
What the Cowboys passed on: Alabama OG Deonte Brown and Louisiana RB Elijah Mitchell were the two players taken immediately after him.
Grade: C-minus. Color me skeptical when NFL Draft Bible doesn’t have a bio on a player (and I couldn’t find one for Bohanna). But the Cowboys were awful against the run last year and that’s what Bohanna does best — stop the run. Being a second-team SEC player leads me to believe there might be more to him than just being a run stuffer. He will be the heaviest Cowboys by two pounds, at 327 pounds. Offensive lineman Ty Nshekh weighs in at 325 pounds. I would not be surprised if he played a little in 2021, due to his size alone.
DB Israel Mukuamu, South Carolina, 6-foot-2, 205 pounds (No. 227 overall)
NFL Draft Bible Scouting Overview: Mukuamu entered the draft as a true junior who has started 19 games in his career at South Carolina, splitting time between safety and cornerback. Totaling seven interceptions in his career, he found a knack for being around the ball. Shows exceptional football intelligence with a natural feel for seeing and leveraging route concepts as they develop. He brings outstanding length to the position to aid him at the catchpoint in coverage. Displays the foot speed to have the range needed from a split-field safety. He is an excellent tackler in the open field that rarely misses, consistently showing the ability to bring down ball-carriers utilizing his arm length to contribute to his tackling radius. Tight-hipped player who is high cut at the waist, limiting his short-area quickness and lateral agility. Struggles to consistently show burst when flipping his hips, needing a few steps before he fully accelerates. Will need to add more bulk in order to better fare in man coverage against tight ends and to withstand the length of an NFL season. Mukuamu is a late Day 2 safety prospect who provides potential to be a high-end starting caliber safety in a two-high scheme.
How he fits: After reading scouting reports, Mukuamu feels like a player the Cowboys are going to convert into a safety.
What the Cowboys passed on: Offensive line help in UMass tackle Larnel Coleman and defensive help in Kentucky tackle Phil Hoskins (and let’s be honest — the Cowboys have met their Kentucky quota for this draft).
Grade: D. Maybe this grade is a bit harsh, but I’m not seeing the projection of a player that is going to help you in the next two to three years. The Cowboys have had trouble developing safeties, which is where I think Mukuamu will end up. Personally, I would have liked to have seen the Cowboys use this pick as part of a package to move up earlier in Day 3.
OG Matt Farniok, Nebraska, 6-foot-6, 330 pounds (No. 227 overall)
How he fits: The Cowboys grabbed an offensive guard will need time to develop if he’s to become an NFL backup by Year 2.
What the Cowboys passed on: The immediate pick after Farniok was Ohio State defensive end Jonathan Cooper. That might have made for a better selection here.
Grade: D. In the same round the Cowboys selected Hall of Fame Rayfield Wright once upon a time, Farniok has a long way to go in order to catch up.
You can follow Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.