Cowboys projected to land four compensatory draft picks

Dallas Cowboys Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Cowboys Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

With the NFL’s salary cap projected to drop in 2021 due to the impact of the pandemic, and the fact the Dallas Cowboys have to find a way to pay quarterback Dak Prescott once again, America’s Team could be seriously cash-strapped this offseason.

That means the Cowboys are likely not going to be anything but bargain buyers in free agency and instead relying much more heavily on the draft to infuse talent into their roster. And luckily for Dallas, they are projected to receive a bounty of compensatory draft picks by the NFL.

According to, the Cowboys are predicted to receive a total of four additional draft selections, one of each in the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds. That’s due to their multiple losses of high-profile players to free agency last year.

The Cowboys lost cornerback Byron Jones, defensive end Robert Quinn, wide receiver Randall Cobb, and safety Jeff Heath as well as plenty of others to the open market in 2020. And it’s those four specific losses that are expected to result in extra draft compensation for Dallas in April’s draft.

Currently, the Cowboys have six draft picks heading into the annual selection event. That includes the 10th overall pick in the first round. Dallas traded away their 2021 sixth-round pick to the New England Patriots in exchange for defensive lineman, Michael Bennett, back in October of 2019.

Dallas also sent their 2021 fifth-rounder to the Philadelphia Eagles in last year’s draft to trade up for Wisconsin center Tyler Biadaiz. But the Cowboys are also scheduled to get a conditional late-round pick after trading defensive end Everson Griffen to the Detroit Lions last year. It’s reportedly a sixth-round selection that could become a fifth-rounder if unknown conditions were met this past season.

If the compensation projection is correct, the Cowboys would enter the 2021 NFL Draft with 10 total picks. One in the first round, one in the second, two in the third, two in the fourth, one in the fifth (maybe more), two in the sixth (maybe less), and finally, one in the seventh round.

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Having that kind of draft capital, particularly in the earlier rounds, could do wonders for the turnaround of the Dallas Cowboys’ defense. The defense is the area of the team believed to have the biggest needs going into the draft. And with a new defensive coordinator at the helm in Dan Quinn, the team will surely look to help fortify that side of the ball with players to fit his new scheme.