Secondary is perhaps the most-talked about need on the Dallas Cowboys roster, but Dallas needs to address the linebacker position as well. The tandem of Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith has regressed over the past two seasons. Both have history with injuries as well.
It is very unlikely that the Cowboys go linebacker with the 10th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. For one, the Cowboys have bigger needs on the roster. Secondly, there is better value to be had than taking an off-ball linebacker so early in the draft.
The best bet is for the Cowboys to take a cornerback with its first-round pick before selecting a linebacker later on in the draft. Kentucky’s Jamin Davis and Ohio State’s Barron Browning are two possibilities for Dallas in the second-round.
COWBOYS LINKED TO A TOP LB PROSPECT
There is always a chance that Dallas throws a curveball and takes a linebacker early later this month. Penn State’s Micah Parsons and Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah are two prospects at the position that are generating first-round hype.
Parsons would not be a great fit for the Cowboys, especially if Dallas has to use that early of a selection on the Penn State product. Owusu-Koramoah, meanwhile, is a bit of a tweener between linebacker and safety. JOK would not be the best scheme fit for Dan Quinn’s system at linebacker.
Tulsa’s Zaven Collins is another prospect that is high on some draft boards as we inch closer to the draft. Collins won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy this past college football season, recognizing him as the best defender in the nation. Collins earned All-American honors and offers an intriging skill-set for NFL teams.
The Cowboys appear to be one of the organizations that are very interested in the Tulsa product. NFL Draft analyst Matt Miller tweeted out on Sunday evening that both Dallas and the New England Patriots are potential landing spots for Collins.
Spoke to a scout tonight who said they view Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins as a top 15 pick.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 5, 2021
Dallas would be better off trading back in the first-round if Collins is the prospect that they have their eyes on. Passing on players such as Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn — as well as potentially a top pass-catcher — for Collins at number 10 would not be the best use of resources.
Still, Collins is a quality prospect that deserves early-round consideration. The Tulsa product is a force off of the edge. Collins recorded seven sacks and 25 tackles-for-loss during his career. He consistently created havoc behind the line of scrimmage.
Zaven Collins was comfortably the best player on the football field in every game he played in.
Perfect fit for a blitz/man heavy defense (Baltimore/Miami) that should come off the board in picks 20 – 40. pic.twitter.com/HjhUa9Mxra
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) February 21, 2021
Dallas is reportedly pursuing K.J. Wright in free agency. While that shouldn’t deter the Cowboys from taking a linebacker in the draft, signing Wright would likely negate the need to draft a linebacker in the first-round.
Rumors are flying around in the NFL as the draft creeps closer. That makes it difficult to tell what news is coming from agents attempting to boost their clients’ stocks and what news is legitimate information.
It appears for now that there could be some smoke about the Dallas Cowboys looking at linebacker early in the 2021 draft.
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