3 Cowboys 2021 draft picks who can make their marks in 2022

Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Cowboys, Jabril Cox
Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

Dallas Cowboys rookie linebacker Micah Parsons was able to do something that most draftees and rookies can’t… make an immediate and lasting impact on his team. Not only did Parsons take home a host of awards and honors this year, but he also outplayed some of the veterans on the team in his first year in the league.

The same thing can’t be said for the entire 2021 NFL Draft class for the Cowboys. Most of the players who were drafted last year barely saw the field. Some basically had redshirt years thanks to injury or practice squad placement. For most, they simply weren’t good enough to take over the depth chart above them. As a reminder here is who Dallas drafted last year:

  • Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State (12th overall)
  • Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky (44th Overall)
  • Osa Odighizuwa, DL, UCLA (75th Overall)
  • Chauncey Golston, EDGE, Iowa (84th Overall)
  • Nahshon Wright, CB, Oregon State (99th Overall)
  • Josh Ball, OT, Marshall (138th Overall)
  • Simi Fehoko, WR, Stanford (179th Overall)
  • Quinton Bohanna, DL, Kentucky (192nd Overall)
  • Israel Mukuamu, CB, South Carolina (227th Overall)
  • Matt Farniok, OL, Nebraska (238th Overall)

Aside from Odighizuwa, Bohanna, and Parsons, most of these draftees barely played. With a lot up in the air for the Cowboys roster due to a difficult cap situation and a long list of free agents, it is likely that many of these guys will need to step up next season to fill in for players no longer on the roster. Will they be ready to make an impact on the team?

There are three players in particular who have a chance to shine in 2022. With several issues ahead, the Cowboys may be relying on these second-year players to fill in and play more next season.

3 of the Cowboys 2021 draftees who can go from benchwarmer to many snaps in 2022

3. Jabril Cox, LB

Jabril Cox was drafted in the fourth round by the Cowboys out of LSU. After transferring from North Dakota State to LSU in 2020, the linebacker proved his skills were worthy of the SEC. He started in all 10 games at LSU, had two interceptions, one pick-six, 58 tackles, six tackles for loss, and five broken-up passes. Cox was invited to the Senior Bowl in 2021, and he was even considered a top steal of the draft by Sports Illustrated.

Cox played in seven games for the Cowboys in 2021, mostly helping out on special teams. Unfortunately, the rookie tore his ACL in Week 8 against the Minnesota Vikings. Before his injury, many expected Cox to get more defensive snaps in at linebacker. Mike McCarthy even had this to say to the press after the Week 8 contest:

"“He was taking some steps every week. I thought he was playing very well for us on special teams.  So, it’s exactly what you’re looking for for a rookie.  He was challenging, competitive, just doing a good job on both teams. So, just frankly prepared himself, and if it ever got to him, we would have been very confident with him in there. So, sad to see that last night.”"

It seems like Dallas wants to add Cox to a thin linebacker corps and he will likely be back by training camp time after his ACL recovery. The Cowboys could use reinforcements at linebacker. This past year, Keanu Neal was able to get the job done, but more help is still needed. Cox likely won’t start in 2022, but with a strong showing in the preseason and the hope that he makes the most of the snaps he does get, he could become a reliable resource on the defense.