Dallas Cowboys face pressure to address defensive needs on Day 2 of NFL draft

FRISCO, Texas — The bad news for the Dallas Cowboys on Day 1: Their coveted cornerbacks left the board just before Jerry Jones and Co. jumped on the clock.

The good news? After trading back and grabbing Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons in the first round Thursday, the Cowboys enter Day 2 of the 2021 NFL draft with four more top-100 selections. Draft capital to snatch a corner abounds. So, too, could they target needs at defensive tackle and safety—two positions completely shut out of the first round.

“Any time you are in our situation where we now have the high-end quarterback who is paid like a high-end quarterback…we need draft picks,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said late Thursday night. “We need draft picks that can really come in here and really make a difference.

“We need to just keep steadying the boat and make the picks.”

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The Cowboys’ top remaining needs include cornerback, safety, defensive tackle and offensive line depth. They’re scheduled to draft in the second round at pick 44. In the third round, they’ll circle back at 75, 84 and 99.

Here are potential prospects they could target:

Defensive tackle: Christian Barmore from Alabama highlights this position. Barmore would be fantastic value for the Cowboys if he drops to pick 44. Dallas ranked second worst against the run last season; Barmore, meanwhile, was the 19th best player on USA TODAY Sports’ prospect rankings. Could the Cowboys package their bevy of third-rounders to move up in Round 2? They might be hesitant, but if Barmore doesn’t immediately fly off the board Friday evening—the line is open.

Additional defensive tackles: Washington’s Levi Onwuzurike, NC State’s Alim McNeill, Louisiana Tech’s Milton Williams, UCLA’s Osa Odighizuwa, USC’s Jay Tufele.


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