NFL Draft 2021: Dallas Cowboys select Kelvin Joseph No. 44 overall

Kentucky Wildcats defensive back Kelvin Joseph (1) Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
Kentucky Wildcats defensive back Kelvin Joseph (1) Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys entered the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday night with a focus on improving a defense that was historically bad last season. And owning the 10th overall selection in the first round, the Cowboys figured to land themselves a defensive difference-maker.

And while most had penciled in a cornerback for Dallas in the top ten, the draft gods had other plans. After the top two cornerback prospects, South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn and Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II, went off the board at No. 8 and No. 9, the Cowboys called an audible.

Dallas traded the 10th overall selection to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for the 12th overall pick and an extra third-rounder (84th overall) on day two. At No. 12, the Cowboys found their defensive star in Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons.

Entering day two of the draft on Friday night, the Cowboys possessed a whopping four picks in the top 100. Three of which being in the third round. But all eyes were on the team’s top pick in the second round, 44th overall.

Taking a linebacker with their first-round selection, several of the team’s biggest needs were still unaddressed. On day two, it was speculated that the Cowboys could look to draft impact players at cornerback, safety, defensive tackle, and possibly even along their offensive line.

In the end, the Cowboys used their lone second-round selection to draft Kentucky cornerback Kelvin Joseph. The 5-foot-11, 197-pound defensive back is a great athlete who comes with some maturity concerns after a short-stint at LSU in 2018.

Just a one-year starter at Kentucky, Joseph’s inexperience could delay his development into the starter the Cowboys need to play opposite of second-year corner Trevon Diggs. But his talent is unquestioned.

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Kelvin Joseph recorded 25 total tackles, four interceptions, and a defensive touchdown in nine games as a sophomore at Kentucky in 2020. He’s a first-round level talent that will need to put the work in order to maximize his natural abilities and to justify this high day two selection.