Texas Christian University

Leave it to the Dallas Cowboys to pour Texas Pete on the first round of the NFL Draft, essentially reshaping the entire NFC East in the process. Instead of sitting tight at No. 10, having seen Kyle Pitts head to the Atlanta Falcons at No. 4 and just narrowly missing on cornerbacks Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain, II -- who flew off the board at No. 8 and No. 9, respectively -- owner Jerry Jones gave the green light (pun intended) to trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. The move landed Dallas the 12th- and 84th-overall pick, along with superstar Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, and allowed the Eagles to leap in front of the New York Giants to steal away Heisman winning wide receiver DeVonta Smith.

The selection of Parsons introduces a mixed bag of questions, but if defensive coordinator Dan Quinn can refine his prowess as a stand-up linebacker, his physical gifts could combine with that polish to make him flat-out lethal. He'll also have the aid of former Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator and linebacker ace George Edwards, whom the Cowboys assured an expanded role under the new defensive regime, and potentially the addition of retiring former Penn State linebacker Sean Lee to aid in the coaching efforts.

But where do the Cowboys go from here, having now resolved a glaring need at linebacker? They still have several holes to fill and most of them are on the defensive side of the ball, with the most pressing being in the secondary. Unable to get their hands on Horn or Surtain, there are still premium options at cornerback they'll consider going into Day 2, and the same applies for the safety position along with defensive front and offensive line. They now own four combined picks in the second and third round -- 44th-, 75th-, 84th, and 99th-overall -- which gives them a ton of firepower and the capital required (considering they still have 10 picks remaining in the draft as a whole) to potentially trade up at some point to catch a falling star.

Here are a few names in each remaining position of need you'll want to keep an eye on as Day 2 gets underway:



Trevon Moehrig


Elijah Molden


Ar'Darius Washington


Richie Grant


Will the Cowboys pull the trigger and trade up for Moehrig, whom they are very high on? 

It's possible, but still a discussion for the team. As it stands, they're leaning toward staying at No. 44 and hoping a player like Molden is still there, but don't rule out a last-minute change of heart -- if they deem Moerhig is ultimately worth the move. Toss in his former TCU teammate Ar'Darius Washington as a candidate as well, along with Richie Grant, although it feels as if they're not as high on Grant as most (there is some interest, though). This could make Grant a sleeper pick, assuming another team doesn't wake up and take him off of the board early on Day 2. But if that happens, it simply pushes one of the other worthy talents close to Dallas.



Asante Samuel, Jr.

Florida State

Ifeatu Melifonwu


Tyson Campbell


Jevon Holland


You have to love what Samuel brings to the table, despite what some might say about his size. 

The bottom line is he gets the job done and in very aggressive fashion, a trait that endeared Horn to the Cowboys when they were building their big board. The former Seminole will have stiff competition though, because Melifonwu remains on the board as well, and that is one Orange worth all the squeeze. The younger brother of Obi Melifonwu, a pre-draft athletic freak out of UConn that had the Cowboys attention before heading to the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders as a second-round pick, there's some pedigree there (and Dallas loves pedigree). The older sibling has struggled to remain in the league due to durability issues, but Ifeatu has no such red flags. The Cowboys have also done a lot of work on Holland out of Oregon, a player I feel possesses cornerback traits as well, and wouldn't be against breaking their usual embargo on Georgia players to select Campbell.

Defensive line (iDL)


Tyler Shelvin


Christian Barmore


Levi Onwuzurike


Alim McNeill

NC State

Barmore is the arguably the highest-graded iDL remaining in the draft.

That's provocative for the Cowboys, who still need to ensure their run defense improves drastically in 2021. The retention of Antwaun Woods and signing of Brent Urban will help, but so would adding Barmore to the equation. The same goes for Barmore's former LSU rival, Tyler Shelvin, who is basically a building with appendages and a head. Plopping Shelvin at nose tackle would outright negate the opposition's ability to form gaps for their running back. He won't provide much in the way of a pass rush, but who cares when you have DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory manning the edges, with Neville Gallimore ready to level up at 3-tech this coming season. Don't turn a blind eye to Onwuzurike or McNeill here, either, two not-so-sneaky good lineman who have both the build and the athleticism to upgrade the interior defensive line in Dallas from minute one.

Offensive line


Teven Jenkins

Oklahoma State

Wyatt Davis

Ohio State

Jackson Carman


Dillon Radunz

North Dakota State

Yes, the Cowboys are clearly confident in the return of Tyron Smith and La'El Collins.

This was made evident in their willingness to pass on Rashawn Slater for Parsons, with Slater going off the board immediately thereafter to the Los Angeles Chargers. This means there is still an opportunity for the O-line to be made better in North Texas, and options are abound to achieve that goal on Day 2. Teven Jenkins is a high-caliber offensive tackle that can provide both depth now and a shot at being a starter later on the edge, while Davis could be looked upon in the same light while adding the fact both could also prosper if moved to the guard position. So even if Smith and Collins are good to go, the Cowboys could rightfully create competition at left guard between Connor Williams, Connor McGovern and an incoming rookie -- knowing they also signed veteran Ty Nsekhe to help Brandon Knight on the swing tackle front. Pencil in Carman for a shot here as well, having impressed in his time protecting first-overall pick Trevor Lawrence, and Radunz is a name I simply can't get away from when making these considerations for Dallas; having seen him do the same for third-overall pick Trey Lance at NDSU.



Azeez Ojulari


Carlos Basham, Jr.

Wake Forest

Osa Odighizuwa


Joseph Ossai


Don't expect Ojulari to stay on the board much longer.

He could've easily gone in the back half of the first round, but since he didn't, it's something to think about if you're the Cowboys with four picks in your pocket for Day 2. As noted above, the starting role opposite Lawrence belongs to Gregory, and although you'd like to presume Bradlee Anae will finally get a true shot in Year 2, that's not guaranteed. The addition of Tarell Basham will siphon some snaps there but Basham isn't the QB harasser Ojulari is, or even Carlos Basham, Jr., for that matter. The latter is only one year removed from a 10-sack campaign at Wake Forest, and Ojulari delivered 9.5 sacks for Georgia in 2020. Make no mistake about it, the Cowboys still need more edge talent until they figure out who the top dogs behind Lawrence and Gregory are, and add Odighizuwa along with Ossai to this mix, with both having shown they can bully a QB as well; Odighizuwa taking the edge in that race, though.

What the Cowboys do with their remaining picks will either make or break Quinn's first year in Dallas, and they're not exactly being coy about that reality, but they also know the offense needs a minor tweak on the o-line so pencil that in as well. As for the linebacker situation, they're not necessarily done there, be it in the draft and/or free agency. They like a name like Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, but spending two premium picks on linebackers is unlikely to happen. That said, they might dip their toe back into that pool on Day 3, when they'll reload and round out this year's draft before scanning undrafted free agency on Saturday afternoon.

There's lots of work to be done in Dallas, and their sleeves are rolled up to their shoulders.