2021 NFL Draft – Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades: The good, the bad, the ugly

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The Dallas Cowboys and their third round abyss

As the title suggests, the third round was a pit of despair for Dallas Cowboys draftniks. The players selected were reaches. They were low-ceiling prospects with very little hope of becoming starters. Visions of the 2009 draft started to surface in the minds of the Cowboys faithful (if you don’t remember the 2009 draft, consider yourself lucky).

Pick 99: Nahshon Wright, CB

Nahshon Wright was arguably the most starting pick of the Dallas Cowboys entire draft. Picked in the top-100, Wright was rated 278 on Dan Brugler’s Big Board. PFF called him a fringe 7th/undrafted free agent. The word “reach” doesn’t even describe it.

Wright earned terrible scores in man coverage. Standing 6-foot-4, 183 lbs, he’s a long strider who plays best in a silo working a vertical route tree. He’s a specific type of Cover-3 CB that has a lot of holes in his game. With only 2 snaps at free safety, a position move would be bold.

When targeted last season, Wright held passers to a 61.5 passer rating giving up 1 touchdown and getting 2 interceptions (on just 24 targets).  He’s a ball hawk. Always looking for the ball. Easy guy to like but hard to explain why he was drafted so early. So many better players on the board.

Initial Grade: D-

Pick 84: Chauncey Golston, DE

Chauncey Golston, the 16th ranked DE on Brugler’s board (123 overall) with a 4th round grade, was the next pick. The extremely likable end from Iowa stands 6-foot-4 269 lbs. He’s like the pick before him in some ways. He’s not fast or bendy but he has some position flex and could play some LDE, LEO, and even some under tackle.

He has ridiculously long arms and will keep would-be blockers at bay with them. He’ll fight for plays much like Tyrone Crawford used to. Not splashy but a good blue collar worker who could be a rotational piece.

Also like Osi, Golston was picked at a time when there were much better players on the board (players with higher ceilings and/or higher floors). PFF had him as fifth rounder.

While position flex may be the goal for Dallas in Round 3, passing on better players (not just a few – dozens of better players) isn’t advisable and the grade has to suffer. It seems the Cowboys were more concerned with building a 2021 depth chart than adding good players.

Initial Grade: C-

Pick 75: Osa Odighizuwa, DL

Osa Odighizuwa, rated by Dane Brugler as the 9th DT in the draft (121 overall) and a 4th round value, was the first pick in the third round for the Dallas Cowboys. At Pick 75 it was a bit of a headscratcher to many analysts since a handful of higher regarded DTs were on the board. But it’s worth noting, PFF rated him as the 71st player in the draft so there are a few draft gurus who value him higher.

Despite being a round too early, the type of lineman the Cowboys selected here was completely on brand. Dallas loves undersized gap-shooting linemen with position flex. Osa Odighizuwa appears to be someone who can play both 3-tech DT and 5-tech DE. Dan Quinn is known to employ a 2-gap DE from time to time and Osa could be the guy to do it.

He’s not great in any one area but has experience playing all across the line and has moldable skills that should make him a good depth piece for the Cowboys the next few years.

He’s a useful player and should make the team but most scouts see a rotational player and not a future starter. There were a handful of better linemen on the board when Dallas picked him (higher floor and higher ceiling guys) and Osi probably could have been picked up later in the draft.

Initial Grade: C-