Dallas Cowboys 7-Round Mock Draft: Balancing Value, Risk, and Need

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
1 of 7
dallas cowboys
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

We’re less than two weeks away from the 2021 NFL Draft and the excitement and intensity in Cowboys Nation is reaching fever pitch. The Dallas Cowboys have built a reputation for being a smart, yet bold, team in the draft. Never afraid to grab the best player available, regardless of immediate need, the Cowboys excite and infuriate fans regularly.

This year appears no different.

Stephen Jones went out of his way earlier in the offseason about his willingness to draft outside of immediate need, and jump on a steal if it presents itself. The Dallas Cowboys even cited the CeeDee Lamb pick from 2020 as an example of what they’re willing, and able, to do.

The Dallas Cowboys navigate between value, talent, risk, and need in this 7-round mock draft.

To get a taste of how difficult it is to find that balance, look no further than Cowboys Nation. Fans are ferociously debating whether or not the Cowboys should force defensive picks early or if they should sneak a offensive playing in if he’s the best player available.

Based on comments from Stephen and actions from 2020, I think we know which side of that argument the Cowboys stand…

So let’s get drafting! As always we’ll utilize the Draft Network mock draft simulator for realistic outcomes and we’ll use a mix of their player assessments and Dan Brugler’s assessments for our player scouting reports.

Dallas Cowboys 7-Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 10

DeVonta Smith, WR


While Kyle Pitts is dominating first round conversations, I think DeVonta Smith is the most likely controversial decision the Dallas Cowboys face at Pick 10. Pitts is too dang good to survive nine picks and if someone doesn’t plan on picking him, someone is going to try to trade up. And this pick could very well be Jaylon Waddle if he’s here since it’s the same logic.

light. Related Story. Why a pass-catcher at 10 makes perfect sense for the Cowboys

Last week I discussed the logic of drafting a pass-catcher at 10 for the Dallas Cowboys. While it doesn’t make immediate sense today, it makes perfect sense for the team going forward. The move would ultimately let the Dallas Cowboys upgrade their WR ranks and save money over the next four years in the process.

The selling point is drafting a pass-catcher early would swing the pay disparity a little more to the defense since it would make both Gallup and Amari Cooper expendable (in 2021 and 2022 respectively).

Drafting a WR would let Dallas upgrade their WR ranks and save money over the next four years in the process.

But let’s talk DeVonta Smith. The 2020 Heisman trophy winner has somehow flown under the radar in this ultra-talented WR top-10 trio and seems the most likely to fall to 10. Many forget Smith tallied 117 receptions for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns in the abbreviated 2020 schedule.  They forget he’s just the second WR in Alabama history to accomplish such a feat.

Smith is separation machine. His route running and elite grasp of the nuance needed, make him a pro-ready player. It also makes him the perfect fit in Dallas since Dak Prescott like to see his receivers open rather than throw contested balls.

Smith is widely considered WR3 this draft because of his slender build. Despite being fairly durable throughout his career, he’s only 175lbs. His inability to play the X role is going to scare some teams off. Luckily the Dallas Cowboys don’t need an X receiver.

Smith’s skill set is the perfect complement to CeeDee Lamb’s more physical brand of play (Lamb is built for the X), and the two players figure to be the building blocks this offensive passing attack going forward. It also makes Michael Gallup immediately expendable.

Do the Dallas Cowboys need a starting CB more? Yes. But as far as overall talent and positional value, DeVonta looks like the better pick.


I also present, Exhibit A above. The super slight Smith lines up all day against the biggest, strongest, fastest press corner in football, Jaycee Horn. And Smith abuses him. Not just as a receiver but Smith also blocked him out of plays. Horn’s junkyard dog mentality is apparently situational.

I’ll state again, drafting a pass catcher at 10 will free up roughly $16 million in 2022. $16 million that can go to the defense.