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Cowboys Mock Draft 2021: Penei Sewell falls to Dallas

The Dallas Cowboys have needs everywhere defensively in this 2021 7-Round NFL Mock Draft, but it’s important to keep an open mind.

Cowboys Mock Draft 2021: Penei Sewell falls to Dallas
Jan 3, 2021; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys helmets are heated on the benches against the New York Giants in the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys have many defensive needs that they must address in this 2021 7-Round Mock Draft. But with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, they need to take the player they feel most confident will give them 10 years as a good professional player at a position of relative need. If this particular situation appears on April 29, the Cowboys must pull the trigger. At the end of the day, as much help as the defense needs, protecting their biggest investment in Dak Prescott should be their first priority.

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Dallas Cowboys Post-Free Agency 7-Round Mock Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 10: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
  • Round 2, Pick 44: Richie Grant, S, Central Florida
  • Round 3, Pick 75: Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
  • Round 3, Pick 99: Marlon Tuipulotu, DT, Southern California
  • Round 4, Pick 115: Bobby Brown, DT, Texas A&M
  • Round 4, Pick 138: Monty Rice, LB, Georgia
  • Round 5, Pick 179: Trevon Grimes, WR, Florida
  • Round 6, Pick 192: Camryn Bynum, CB, California
  • Round 7, Pick 227: Malik Herring, EDGE, Georgia
  • Round 7, Pick 238: Tedarrell Slaton, DT, Florida

Cowboys 2021 NFL Mock Draft | Pick-by-pick analysis

Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

This is too good to be true, right? Probably. However, there are realistic scenarios that see Penei Sewell fall to the 10th overall pick in this 2021 Cowboys 7-Round Mock Draft. It comes down to two teams passing on the Oregon tackle.

The Cincinnati Bengals and Carolina Panthers must go in another direction for Sewell to drop to Dallas. Those are the teams with the biggest need at the position. There have been rumors that the Bengals could go LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase. The Panthers need a cornerback badly and could realistically pass on Sewell for Patrick Surtain or Jaycee Horn.

Nobody believed that CeeDee Lamb would fall to No. 17 last year, so even if it’s just peeking through a slit in the door, keep it open until the pick is announced. Sewell is a young prospect that quickly decided to dominate the Pac-12 at just 17 years old. At 6-foot-4 and 330 pounds, there hasn’t been anybody at his size with his particular athletic profile. And he will start games in the NFL at just 20 years of age.

Sewell’s recruiting pages note he went through the cycle seen as a guard, most likely because of his intimidating size. Most 350-pound young men don’t have the agility and explosiveness necessary to protect the blindside at tackle. Sewell has been training on both sides of the line, making him a more versatile option depending on the health of the current Cowboys’ offensive tackles.

Once again, Sewell did that at 17. Two months ago, there was no chance that he’d make it to No. 10. Today it feels like more of a coin flip. The draft is a beautiful mystery. Could the Cowboys get lucky two years in a row?

Richie Grant, S, Central Florida

Richie Grant is an outstanding player in the back end as a free safety, but he will be a 24-year-old rookie. He also, despite his willingness to do so, struggles against the run. Grant doesn’t possess the natural physical presence to finish tackles against backs. He’s going to miss some tackles coming downhill from depth.

On top of that, his 10-20-40-yard splits went from elite to start and only closer to average at the top end. This suggests his top-end speed is a bit of a myth created by his ability to key and get a good start. He also had a poor vertical jump, weighed under 200 pounds, and benched 225 pounds 12 times.

Now that we’ve annotated why he might fall to No. 44 overall in this 2021 Cowboys 7-Round Mock Draft, let’s discuss why the NFL shouldn’t make that mistake. Although at Central Florida he didn’t play down in the slot in man-to-man often, he went to Mobile for the Senior Bowl and showed incredible skill in man-to-man coverage.

Grant displays true mirroring skills with efficient footwork and smooth transitions in his hips. But his ability in the back end playing forward, backward, and toward the sideline is his true gift. Grant is an instinctive spot-drop-zone-coverage safety who reads quarterback intentions well and has an eye for the football.

Grant tallied 10 interceptions, 17 passes defensed, and forced 5 fumbles in his four years for the Golden Knights. So even if there are missed tackle attempts now and then, the savvy safety will take the ball from the offense — something the Cowboys have sorely lacked at all three levels of the defense recently.

Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia

If the Cowboys didn’t take a cornerback in the first three picks in this 2021 7-Round Mock Draft, half of the fanbase would probably walk away. Tyson Campbell is the type of cornerback a Cover 3 defensive staff would want to build in a lab, albeit with probably 10 more pounds on his frame.

The 6-foot-1 cornerback stands at 193 pounds with 32-inch arms, but what’s really intriguing about the young, somewhat inexperienced cornerback is his track speed. His official 40 time was 4.4, and it’s his actual long speed that is impressive. However, like many former track athletes playing football, his footwork in the short areas needs improvement. He needs to become more efficient in his transitions.

Campbell is a physical press-man cornerback that is good at dictating the rep early and getting in phase effortlessly off that. That physicality carries into his abilities against the run, where he does a good job understanding his role on the outside and uses his length to wrangle down ball carriers attempting to make him miss.

If he becomes more efficient in his transition and continues to develop his feel for route concepts (he lacked reps early in his college career), he possesses borderline CB1 traits.

Marlon Tuipulotu, DT, Southern California

Marlon Tuipulotu‘s game has felt a bit forgotten throughout this draft process. His teammate, Jay Tufele, on the other hand, has been touted in the top 50 during points of the draft cycle. Neither wowed with their pro day testing, which should give the overall edge to Tuipulotu. Still, it’s been mostly crickets. Tufele’s stock was based on his athletic upside. After a 2020 opt-out and just okay testing, I’ll take the better player on tape.

This is especially true for the Cowboys in this 7-Round 2021 Mock Draft. They need a good run-defending defensive tackle like my dog needs her dinner at 5 o’clock sharp. There’s a lot of whining when it comes to both.

Tuipulotu possesses nice hands that he adequately uses to discard blockers on his way to the ball carrier in pursuit. Tuipulotu moves well in the short areas to get outside of his frame and finish tackles, and he disengages early in the process to pursue runners in his areas. He also has the versatility of playing as a nose and three-technique. Although he is a three-technique naturally, he can spell on the interior if need be.

Bobby Brown, DT, Texas A&M

The Cowboys got some defensive tackle help with the last pick in this 7-Round 2021 Mock Draft, but they still need a one-technique. Well, I should say they needed one. Bobby Brown has one of the higher upsides of any player in the draft class.

It’s challenging for the 321-pound defensive tackle to grade well. Brown ended up with a 9.82 Relative Athletic Score for defensive tackles. Our own Kent Platte created a special tab for the big boys (320+ pounds). In that category, Brown tested in the 93rd percentile or higher in every athletic metric, and he’s an elite athlete for the position.

On top of that, Brown’s hands are like sledgehammers. He brings an ability to collapse the pocket as a pass rusher. Brown can move and pursue in space. He is a top-50 prospect held down by his own lack of interest at times, however.

Brown didn’t break out until his final collegiate season, and many fans of the program scoff at Brown as a pro prospect because of his perceived lazy efforts. In a rotation where he can play with his pedal to the floor, he should find that ceiling at the NFL level.

Monty Rice, LB, Georgia

Monty Rice is a shorter linebacker with short arms, which makes taking on blocks a spot of bother in his game. Rice must learn to remain in that inside hip leverage to runners as not to overpursue. Nevertheless, the reason he is here is that he’s very, very explosive.

Rice brings a massive amount of pop in his pads in his tight, compact frame. He’s also quite adept in spot-drop zone coverage and has the straight-line speed to carry the seam vertically. Rice projects as a situational linebacker who can come in during coverage situations early as he progresses.

Trevon Grimes, WR, Florida

Trevon Grimes is a massively-built receiver who tested better than expected. He plays the ball in the air quite well and does good work along the sideline. He’s a tough player who has decent feet for a receiver of his size to try and gain separation.

However, Grimes lacks explosion and won’t be one to get open against NFL cornerbacks consistently. His wins will come in contested situations. He also brings added value as a blocker, which could get him on the field on special teams, especially if current receiver Noah Brown leaves after 2021.

Getting a situational receiver in this 7-Round 2021 Mock Draft with the possible departures of Brown, Cedrick Wilson, and Michael Gallup after this upcoming season is imperative.

Camryn Bynum, CB/S, California

Camryn Bynum is a good football player that lacks the physical upside to be considered a good prospect. He’s an instinctual and intelligent coverage defender who will probably end up at safety at the NFL level.

Everything he’s good at as a player, and the areas where he struggles athletically, lends him to make that switch. Bynum started at California as a true freshman and never looked back. He has a knack for finding the football, tallying 35 passes defensed in 42 career games and 6 interceptions on top of that. His versatility brings necessary depth to the secondary room in this Cowboys 7-Round 2021 Mock Draft.

Malik Herring, EDGE, Georgia

Malik Herring is the tweener type of defensive end/defensive tackle prospect the Cowboys might like to have after the retirement of Tyrone Crawford. He possesses a great build for natural leverage at 6-foot-3 and 275 pounds, but the real ticket is his outstanding length, with arms measuring 33 1/8 inches and a wingspan over 81 1/8 inches.

If Herring can add or lose weight, the Cowboys could find someone to add depth on the defensive line at two positions instead of one, allowing them to use a roster spot elsewhere.

Tedarrell Slaton, DT, Florida

There will not be many situations where I don’t take Tedarrell Slaton in this spot. Yes, this means three defensive tackles in this draft. But the one-technique is a position that holds little draft value, so getting good players there late on Day 3 is easier than most positions.

Slaton possesses endless length. He’s not going to make many plays outside of his immediate area. Nevertheless, his ability to get down to 330 pounds after reportedly being 380 at one point shows a dedication to his craft. As a pure gap filler, Slaton has as much ability as anybody.

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