ESPN Trashes Cowboys, Assigns Embarrassing Grade for 2021 Draft

Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy, owner Jerry Jones

Getty Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy, owner Jerry Jones

ESPN draft expert Matt Miller “absolutely loves” the Dallas Cowboys‘ first-round selection of linebacker Micah Parsons, the “second-best defender” in the 2021 class.

Other than that, though …

“I did not like it. I gave them a D,” Miller said Saturday of the Cowboys’ 10-player rookie haul. “Teams right ahead of them took the [cornerbacks]; I felt like they didn’t necessarily have a plan. In round two, they get jumped for [safety] Trevon Moehrig. In round three … I don’t know where they saw these guys on their board. I thought they reached considerably for [defensive tackle] Osa Odighizwua and [defensive end] Chauncey Golston. [Cornerback] Nahshon Wright, I had ranked 315th overall — they drafted him at 99. Maybe my board is way, way off, but I glanced at everybody else’s over the weekend and I didn’t see anybody else have Nahshon Wright at 99 overall. It felt like a big reach for me as they tried to find scheme fits.”


Cowboys get a 'D' grade for the 2021 NFL Draft, according to one of our analysts | SportsCenterMel Kiper Jr., Matt Miller and Louis Riddick join Kevin Negandhi on the SportsCenter 2021 NFL Draft Grades Special to discuss the Dallas Cowboys, who took Micah Parsons, Kelvin Joseph and the rest of the team's picks. 0:00 Mel Kiper Jr. reveals his Cowboys draft grade. 1:09 Matt Miller gives the Cowboys a "D." 2:32…2021-05-08T16:00:07Z

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Difference of Opinion

Miller made his disparaging Dallas remarks during a SportsCenter roundtable featuring the godfather of draft analysis, Mel Kiper Jr., who agreed with the assertion that Wright was a significant reach in the third round. “I’m with you on Wright, no question about it,” he said.

Kiper, however, viewed the Cowboys’ defensive-dominant plan in a softer light, noting this year “was very difficult to evaluate players and get the information you need” due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. He assigned the team a ‘B’ grade.

“I like some of the players they drafted,” Kiper said. “Micah Parsons and Jabril Cox are two linebackers that make plays. Kelvin Joseph, the corner, was a guy I liked all along through the draft process. Chauncey Golston: real good leader, aggressive, tough football player. And then [fifth-round wide receiver] Simi Fehoko had a heck of a two years at Stanford. Big guy and ran well; they get him down the line further than you thought. Dallas added some good players overall.”

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Jones Defends Move

New Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s fingerprints were all over the selection of Wright, the 6-foot-4-inch Oregon State product who considers himself “a more athletic and agile Richard Sherman.” Quinn sought prospects with especially long reach and wielded enough war room influence to pull Wright’s card.

But despite criticism that Dallas severely overdrafted the 22-year-old — NFL.com pegged him as a seventh-round/college free-agent talent — team vice president Stephen Jones defended the top-100 choice by using Wright’s 77-inch wingspan as its justification.

“We think he can come right in here and be highly competitive,” Jones said on May 3, via The Athletic. “You need long guys to cover these (TEs & big WRs). We think this guy has a unique skill set that’s gonna be a big help to us.”


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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL