Dallas Cowboys: Top 5 potential first-round draft picks in 2021

Gregory Rousseau, Miami Hurricanes, (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Gregory Rousseau, Miami Hurricanes, (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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Gregory Rousseau, Miami Hurricanes
Gregory Rousseau, Miami Hurricanes, (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Let’s take a look at who the Dallas Cowboys might draft first in 2021

Heading into the last week of the 2020 NFL season the Dallas Cowboys had a wide range of possibilities. With a win and a loss by the Washington Football Team on Sunday night, they could have won the dreadful NFC East. However, Dallas saw their playoff hopes dashed with a disappointing loss against the New York Giants.

All things considered, the loss was probably for the best for America’s Team. Washington ended up winning their matchup (with some assistance from the Philadelphia Eagles) which essentially rendered the teams’ loss earlier in the day inconsequential.

The organizations’ loss did allow them to improve their draft stock. The Cowboys are officially penciled in with the tenth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The wide range of possibilities heading into the final week of the season made it difficult to accurately predict what Dallas might do on draft night.

With 2020 behind us it is now time to take a quick look into the future of America’s Team. The team has several pressing needs on both sides of the ball and a less than desirable cap situation heading into next season. Those factors make the 2021 NFL Draft even more important to the future of the Cowboys.

Here is a list of the top five players who the Cowboys should realistically (Sorry Trevor Lawrence fans) select with the 10th overall pick.

5. Gregory Rousseau, Edge Rusher, Miami

The Dallas Cowboys defense finished the year giving up the fifth-most points per game in the NFL with 29.6. The unit also gave up the second-most rushing yards per game with 158.8. Consequently, any list that talks about what the Cowboys should do with their draft pick will heavily feature players on the defensive side of the ball.

Miami edge rusher Gregory Rousseau fits this trend and would add an explosive presence to Dallas’s defensive line. The young defender exploded onto the college football scene back in 2019 when he managed to accrue an astonishing 15.5 sacks which allowed him to lead the ACC in that category.

Rousseau, like many prominent college football players, decided to opt-out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has heavily affected the United States. The six-foot-seven defensive lineman will instead turn his focus to the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft.

The Cowboys did not have a single-player record double-digit sack totals during the 2020 season. The teams’ leader in sacks was defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence who finished the year with 6.5. The organization will also have to decide whether it wants to bring back the player who finished in second place in this category as edge rusher Aldon Smith’s contract is expiring at the end of the year.

Dallas’s pass rush showed some improvement towards the end of the season. The team got a spark from the return of defensive end Randy Gregory who finished the year with 3.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss despite only playing in ten games.

Regardless of whether the organization decides to bring back the veteran Smith they could certainly use help along their defensive line. Rousseau would add much-needed size to the teams’ defensive front and would significantly improve Dallas’s inconsistent pass rush.

The Dallas Cowboys are in desperate need of help on the defensive side of the ball. Selecting one of the top-rated defensive players in the upcoming draft class would certainly improve the teams’ struggling defense. However, there are bigger needs for Dallas heading into the 2021 NFL Draft.