The Dallas Cowboys kicked off the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday night addressing their defensive needs in the first round with the selection of Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons. That after the Cowboys lost out on the draft’s top two cornerbacks in Alabama’s Patrick Surtain and South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn who were drafted in the top ten.
Entering day two of the draft on Friday night, the Cowboys figured to find themselves a potential starting cornerback after missing out on both Surtain and Horn in the first round. Corner was potentially the team’s biggest positional need after losing starter Chidobe Awuize to free agency this offseason.
So with the 44th overall selection, the Cowboys drafted cornerback Kelvin Joseph out of Kentucky. Joseph figures to compete for a starting role as a rookie and now pairs with another second-round selection from last season, cornerback Trevon Diggs, in an improving Dallas secondary.
Owning three draft selections in the third round, the Cowboys projected needs entering the round included safety, defensive tackle, defensive end, and offensive line. With the 75th overall selection, Dallas elected to draft Osa Odighizuwa, a defensive tackle out of UCLA. That makes three straight picks in the 2021 draft invested directly into the Cowboys’ defense.
At 6-foot-1, 282-pounds, Odighizuwa was a nose tackle for the Bruins who’s a former wrestler and uses those skills to manhandle offensive lineman. He’s got position-flex to play any position along the defensive line and should help a Cowboys’ ailing rushing defense that ranked 31st in the NFL in 2020.
According to Pro Football Focus, Odighizuwa had the fourth-most pressures among defensive tackle in this draft class last season with 25. He recorded 30 total tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss, and 4.0 sacks in seven games for UCLA as a senior in 2020.