The Dallas Cowboys currently hold the 10th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Barring a trade, the Cowboys will have some significant talent to pick from that could help the team to their first playoff appearance since 2018 - or at least that what recent history tells us.
Let's look back at the last 10 players drafted with the 10th pick to see exactly what type of impact each player had on their team, not just in their rookie year, but the course of their tenure with each team.
2020: Jedrick Wills Jr., Tackle, Cleveland Browns
Wills made an immediate impact on the Browns as he took 90% of the offensive snaps for Cleveland in 2020. The tackle out of Alabama helped shore up the offensive line, a unit that struggled to give Baker Mayfield any time to throw the ball in 2019.
Additionally, Wills excels in run-blocking scenarios, something that has allowed the Browns' run game to reach new heights this past season. Wills is the prototypical tackle that every team is looking for when they draft with the 10th pick.
2019: Devin Bush Jr., Linebacker, Pittsburgh Steelers
Bush had a solid rookie year in 2019 in which he started 15 games and played in all 16. He was able to amass 4 fumble recoveries, 1 touchdown and a sack. That type of production year in and year out is what would be expected from the 10th overall pick.
However, his 2020 season was marred by an ACL tear that saw his season end in October. Those types of injuries are nearly impossible to predict, but if Bush can return and play like he did in his rookie season, then Pittsburgh won't have any regrets about the 2019 pick.
2018: Josh Rosen, Quarterback, Arizona Cardinals
Rosen is the first draft bust in this list. His stint with Cardinals was abruptly ended when head coach Kliff Kingsbury took the reins and opted to draft Oklahoma-product Kyler Murray.
The decision looks to be paying off as Murray is one of the best up-and-coming quarterbacks in the league while Rosen is fighting for his professional career in San Francisco. Even then, with the 49ers trading up in the draft this year, there appears to be little room for Rosen between Jimmy Garoppolo and the presumably rookie quarterback.
2017: Patrick Mahomes, Quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl champion and MVP. NFL MVP. Three-time Pro Bowler. Arguably the best quarterback in the NFL. If Dallas can hit on a guy that has the equivalent talent and skillset at their respective position as Mahomes possesses at his ... jackpot.
2016: Eli Apple, Cornerback, New York Giants
Apple was a helpful addition to the Giants in 2016. He proved that he was of NFL-starting caliber, played well opposite of Janoris Jenkins and then finding himself on the New Orleans Saints in 2018.
While he has bounced around the league, he has always been an decent option for teams looking for cheap starting help at the cornerback position, or good depth. Apple will continue to have a career in the NFL simply because he can do just enough to stay on the field and make his case to help his team. Not exactly the talent a team looks for that early in the draft, but certainly better than a pick like Rosen.
2015: Todd Gurley, Running Back, Rams
Gurley has had three seasons of 1,000 rushing yards or more with his best season coming in 2017 when he had 1,305 yards on the ground and racked up 788 receiving yards as well. Gurley quickly established himself as an every-down back and one of the best in the league.
However, Gurley also represents a tale of caution as the running back position has a notoriously short shelf life and is prone to injury. In Gurley's case, he has had knee issues that have prohibited him from looking like the back he used to the last couple of seasons. An excellent pick for his early production but the longevity may not be there.
2014: Eric Ebron, Tight End, Detroit Lions
Ebron has always had the talent to be one of the elite in his position in the NFL. Unfortunately, other than his 2018 season in which he had 750 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns, Ebron has been plagued by injuries and regressing play.
As the 10th pick in 2014 NFL Draft, Ebron had all the talent to be exactly what the Lions were hoping for, however, that has never come to fruition. At least not while he was with Detroit.
2013: Chance Warmack, Guard, Tennessee Titans
The guard has not played a snap since 2018, but his 2013-2015 seasons were absolutely stellar. He helped reinforce a Titans line and was the star of the show when Tennessee was not very good, like 2-14 record-not-good.
Unfortunately, Warmack saw his decline after moving to the Philadelphia Eagles and then signed a one-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks in 2020 before opting out due to COVID-19. He did his job for the Titans, therefore, as far as a draft pick goes, he did his job for his team.
2012: Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback, Buffalo Bills
Gilmore quickly established himself as one of the most elite, consistent and lock-down corners in the league. He had a down season in 2020 while making $17 million and it is yet to be determined whether is was a blip or Father Time has arrived.
One thing is for certain: Gilmore was an excellent pick in 2012, and ranks up there with Andrew Luck as one of the best picks of that year's draft.
2011: Blaine Gabbert, Quarterback, Jacksonville Jaguars
Gabbert was the first of the quarterbacks Jacksonville took with a top-10 pick in the span of four drafts, the other being Blake Bortles. Sometimes it is easy to get the two confused as both played to a level of mediocrity, aside from Bortles' one good season in 2015. Both are also bouncing around different teams as journeymen backups.
As the last player on this list, it goes without saying that the Cowboys this year would like to avoid a player with results like Gabbert. And the 10-year odds say they probably will.