The Dallas Cowboys entered the 2021 NFL Draft hoping to address their defensive needs, which were numerous on a unit that allowed the most points in franchise history (473) last season. And through the first three rounds, that all that they did.
The Cowboys spent the entire first two days of the NFL’s annual collegiate selection event collecting defensive prospects. In the first round, Dallas drafted Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons with the 12th overall selection after trading back two spots with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Cowboys then addressed their secondary concerns with the selection of Kentucky cornerback Kelvin Joseph in the second round. And with three draft picks in the third round, Dallas added UCLA defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa, Iowa defensive end Chauncey Golston, and Oregon State cornerback Nahshon Wright to the growing defensive roster.
According to Jon Machota of The Athletic, this is the first time since 1982 that the Cowboys have spent their first five draft selections on the defensive side of the ball exclusively.
Entering day three of the draft, the Cowboys owned a whopping six more selections. Those include two picks in the fourth round (115, 139), one in the fifth (179), two more selections in the sixth round (192, 227), and a final one in the seventh (238).
And with their first selection in the fourth round, No. 115, the Cowboys drafted LSU linebacker Jabril Cox. He’s the second linebacker added to the depth chart in the draft along with Parsons.
The Cowboys roster is rather sparse at linebacker outside of Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and converted safety Keanu Neal. Cox joins Luke Gifford, Francis Bernard, and Azur Kamara who will need to fill the roles left vacant by exiting veterans Joe Thomas, Sean Lee, and Justin March this offseason.
At 6-foot-3, 232-pounds, Cox racked up 58 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, a sack, five pass deflections, three interceptions, and one defensive touchdown as a senior for LSU as a one-year starter. He projects as an excellent coverage linebacker who NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein says is below average in diagnosing and using his hands, which might be reasons why he fell as far as he did in the draft.