FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys vice president of player personnel Will McClay won't make any final judgments off of what he will see at the team's rookie minicamp this weekend, but he hopes there will be some confirmation in what the organization believed they were getting from their 11 selections in the 2021 NFL draft.
"You want to find out about their competitiveness, their business ready-ness because this isn't college anymore," McClay said. "They're going to get hit with a lot of s--- from how we do everything. Now it's a job. I'm excited to see who comes in with that demeanor."
McClay offered his thoughts on the Cowboys' draft class as it gets ready to take to the field for the first time.
Micah Parsons, Round 1 (No. 12), linebacker: "With him, the No. 1 thing is that it's a height, weight, speed, athleticism league and he has all those traits. Then there was the opt-out and finding out why he did it. Every instance in this draft was a different set of circumstances for each guy. Love of the game. Once we did our research on his love of the game, why he opted out, then we started to go to the physical ability to play the position. At the end of the day, he can play all three downs, sideline to sideline. He's impactful with his speed, his physical play inside the box, playing off blocks, exploiting gaps from a pressure standpoint, as well as pressure off the edge. Then there's the intensity that he plays with. When you're making an investment in a player ... you want a player who can do multiple things. That provides you with the flexibility in how to use him now and what he grows into in the future."
Kelvin Joseph, Round 2 (44), cornerback: "He's got first-round coverage ability. When we were rating the corners throughout the year, he stood out with his ability to be able to cover in press and in man to man. You've got to be able to run vertical when you're in press coverage. You're trying to delay the release, trying to affect the receiver, but you also have to be able to make plays down the field running vertically because you're on an island with the post safety. His speed is No. 1. His competitiveness, playing press, off, zone stuff, man, getting the football, the ability to cancel his guy out, he's a natural cover guy."
Osa Odighizuwa, Round 3 (75), defensive tackle: "The first thing was the way he played, the motor he played with and the ability to be versatile. With his size and length, he has the flexibility to play all across the line while having the 3-technique quickness and traits. He's got large hands, long arms. He's got that natural leverage ... typically when you're getting a guy who's 6-2, he's got 31-, 32-inch arms. He has 34-inch arms and typically that matches what the tackles are outside, but he can go against the interior guys who have shorter arms and play with length while having that leverage that can win some matchups because of his stature."
Chauncey Golston, Round 3 (84), defensive line: "He was on the radar way early in our process. The area scouts begin with the info, they have their grade and then we get two, three more looks. The more you watched the guy, the more you loved the way that he plays the game. He's a smart player. He's got that athleticism. He has length. You watch him and he's a tone-setter type of player from a standpoint of how physical and how hard he plays. How he plays the game was the biggest key for us in looking at how he fit what we want."
Nahshon Wright, Round 3 (99), cornerback: "One of the things you talk about when comparing players is, 'Name me another one, a 6-foot-4 corner.' There's only been a couple. ... The No. 1 thing is the way he competed. The other thing was he's a former receiver. You won't get turnovers miraculously. People have to have that ball instinct. Being a receiver first, you know that he knows how to catch the ball. Then there's his competitiveness at 6-4, 185 pounds. We know he needs some strength developed, but he competed. One thing you look for is how comfortable they are in press [coverage]. To do that, you have to have knee bend, ankle flex. You've got to be able to sink your hips. It's harder for 6-4 people, but he does it naturally. And when you're that tall as a press corner, it kind of diminishes the margin of error for the offense. The quarterback has to throw over a larger target and then if that guy can locate and find the ball, you have an opportunity to take it away. We feel like he can do that."
Jabril Cox, Round 4 (115), linebacker: "Here's a guy who went to North Dakota State and achieved, then bet on himself going to LSU and he achieved at LSU. Then you look at the physical skill set. This game is becoming more of a space game with tight ends and backs. There is value in that because you need guys that are able to cover, able to play in space and able to play in the run game. He's a guy that fits what we're trying to go as well as where the league is going. Now he's got some upside to achieve more. He's got to get better in the box, but while doing that he helps you on matchups, on special teams with the athleticism, size and length to make you better."
Josh Ball, Round 4 (138), offensive tackle: "He has the size, length and athletic ability to play right tackle or left tackle, the demeanor he plays with, he plays with length and effort, he's got really, really good football character. He plays with a nasty disposition. He shows the ability to be an NFL tackle, which is a very big commodity in the way the game is played now. We had to find out about the issues (he started his career at Florida State but was found guilty of dating violence in 2018 and wasn't allowed to return to school). ... Those issues are serious and we take them serious. We know our people don't feel like it's going to be something we need to worry about. We feel like we put the puzzle of who this guy is together and we're comfortable."
Simi Fehoko, Round 5 (179), wide receiver: "He's one of those players you continue to watch and you see the upside, you see the way he impacted the team at Stanford. Then you see the things he needs to work on, but all the tools are there. [Fehoko has] got a little competitive thing about him that when a play needs to be made, it seems like he made those plays. At the level you're drafting it's, 'Hey, he's a backup that can develop into a starter that can help on special teams,' and you see that impact."
Quinton Bohanna, Round 6 (192), defensive tackle: "He was one of those guys I watched early on. ... We saw some flashes of a big, athletic guy with the ability to be an enforcer on the inside. He's not a finished product, but all of the abilities are there, 6-4, 327 pounds, 34-inch arms, big hands. He's got some instincts and there's a sneaky athlete in there, too. There's not a lot of [true nose tackles in college football these days]. They have to be dominant. ... He's got to have some ability to contribute on passing downs because with up-tempo offenses, no huddle, they're more willing to speed it up and get your non-pass rushers out there."
Israel Mukuamu, Round 6 (227), cornerback/safety: "A big, long corner that has also played some free safety that gives you position flexibility, gives you ball skills. His arms are 34 inches, which is the length of most offensive linemen. I always say offensive lineman are like defensive backs because they do the unnatural thing -- they have to play backwards. ... Athleticism and length allows you to play in those unnatural positions. He has that from a cornerback standpoint, but he also has the ability to play the post safety with instincts and awareness and the ability to go get the ball. He's athletic and big enough to cover tight ends and those big receivers that are becoming prevalent."
Matt Farniok, Round 7 (238), offensive line: "He's a guy that played all over the line at Nebraska. He lost weight and showed more athleticism in his pro day. He's a two-time captain. When you're looking for tough, physical guys on the offensive line, the fact he can play all three spots, have that versatility is a key. You look at the ability to compete for a roster spot, so when you look at maybe what your position needs are and who best fits that ball, who can come in and compete, he was the guy to take."