3 studs the Cowboys should’ve taken over Kelvin Joseph in 2021 draft

Kelvin Joseph, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Kelvin Joseph, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /
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The Dallas Cowboys are regarded as one of the best drafting teams in the NFL, but even the best of the best have blemishes on their resume.

Using a first-round pick on Taco Charlton springs to mind as their biggest gaffe in recent memory, but Kelvin Joseph is quickly ascending up the ladder after two disappointing seasons as a third-round pick in the 2021 showcase.

On top of navigating off-the-field issues, Joseph has failed to establish himself in Dallas’ cornerback room. He was relegated to special teams in 2022, where he made some splash plays, but was often victimized by penalties.

It’s not crazy to peg 2023 as a make-or-break year for Joseph’s Cowboys future, and we can’t help but wonder what Dallas’ own future would look like if they drafted one of these studs instead of the 22-year-old defender.

3 stars Cowboys should’ve drafted instead of Kelvin Joseph

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

3. Nick Bolton, LB

This was admittedly a toss-up between Bolton, Browns linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (No. 52 overall), and Commanders corner Benjamin St-Juste, who actually went one pick before Osa Odighizuwa at No. 74 overall.

Bolton got the nod due to Owusu-Koramoah and St-Juste’s injury histories. In two seasons, Owusu-Koramoah has missed 10 combined games. St-Juste, meanwhile, endured three separate stints in concussion protocol as a rookie before missing five games in 2022 due to an ankle sprain.

Bolton has played 16 and 17 games, respectively, in his first two seasons, and has the production to show for it.

After compiling 112 tackles and 11 TFLs as a rookie, Bolton produced a whopping 180 tackles (second most in the NFL), nine TFLs, and two interceptions, to go with a combined 75.7 run-defense grade and coverage grade, via PFF.

How did Bolton cap a breakout sophomore year? By nearly taking home Super Bowl MVP honors. He delivered the game-changing play with a fumble returned for a touchdown, and would’ve had another scoop-and-score if Miles Sanders’ fumble was ruled a catch.

The Cowboys wouldn’t have any questions about their linebacker room if they drafted Bolton instead of Joseph.