Dallas Cowboys Draft: 7 defensive tackle prospects in 7 different rounds

Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports
Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports /
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20190830 Th /

Mustafa Johnson, Colorado

Value: Reach

Johnson concludes the final 7-of-7 of this draft cycle putting an exclamation point on just how thin this interior defensive line class is. Johnson’s claim to fame was his 7.5 sack sophomore season. His junior season was cut short due to injury and his senior season was never going to be long after the PAC-12 ordered a conference-only schedule.

The Buffalo wins mostly with effort as he only displays adequate athletic ability displaying good lateral quickness, good change of direction, and solid but adequate acceleration, explosiveness, and foot speed. At only 6-foot-2, 290 pounds, he is often considered a “tweener” and without good athletic traits his projection to the next level becomes incredibly difficult to judge. Johnson might as well be considered a good collegiate player.

Because Johnson’s upfield burst is solid, it allows him to initiate contact at the point of attack and use his good upper body strength to leverage the gap by directing his opposition in different directions. He has the necessary grip strength to throw blockers off and tackle the ball carrier near the LOS.

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As a pass rusher he can win with power utilizing a club or bull rush but his adequate bend doesn’t allow him to complete his moves. That said, he does seem to complete sacks by collapsing the pocket with secondary bull rushes from good physical toughness and good effort. Johnson was a lot more productive in the pass rushing department compared to several others on this list so clearly something is working.

Because Johnson isn’t as put together in his legs, he can get beat on double teams quite easily. With his marginal arm length, if defenders seal him inside on inside and outside zone runs he struggles to leverage the gap because he isn’t strong enough to absorb double teams and because he isn’t quick enough to work around and penetrate the backfield. As a pass rusher he isn’t quick enough out of his stance to win with speed or take advantage of his good lateral quickness on counter moves.

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Just like that we have concluded the 7-of-7 series for the 2021 NFL Draft class. Hopefully you learned something about prospects later on in the draft and where they fall on boards. Some position groups are deeper than others, but it still might make sense to draft said position early because the quality of the top prospects is just that much better. We will know soon about how the Cowboys feel about the five positions I wrote about his cycle; hopefully they can once again draft incredibly well giving us false hoping heading into the 2021 NFL season.