1-tech defensive tackle prospects for Cowboys to consider throughout draft

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Tim Lettiero
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Over the years, few notable names have been brought in to boost the run defense. With Dan Quinn creating a shift in the culture bringing in the likes of Brent Urban, there is hope for the future. With a horrid 2020 campaign in the run stuffing department, the Dallas Cowboys simply must address the position they so frequently are known for ignoring.

Antwaun Woods has shown the ability to be an energetic body off the bench but he is coming off a down year, often given no help by lackluster performances from fellow teammates who have now moved onwards like Dontari Poe. Woods is in desperate need of a rotational partner at minimum and this draft is the perfect opportunity to do so with many viable options throughout the rounds. Here are some names to keep in mind when the Dallas Cowboys are up in each round of the 2021 NFL draft:

Round 1: Levi Onwuzurike, Washington

https://twitter.com/TDavenport_NFL/status/1362470599856128001?s=20 Onwuzurike does not fit the prototypical 1-tech build, however he is one of the more unparalleled interior defensive linemen in this draft. At 6-foot-3 290 pounds, this typically suggests more of a 3-tech but Onwuzurike brings a fire to his game which appoints him best as a run-stuffing 1-tech. The most notable trait a 1-tech must have is strength and he does not lack in this department. He is extremely powerful and pairs this with an explosive first step to create a unique skillset few in this class can compare to. Should Onwuzurike pack on some pounds he can become the unmovable force needed at The Star.

Round 2: Alim McNeill, NC State

https://twitter.com/DanteCollinelli/status/1356671478696194052?s=20 While the McNeill hype train has slowed its roll as of recent, this is still a fantastic player who can be a starting 1-technique immediately. He possesses immense power and speed into a thick, squatty frame of 6-foot-2, 317 pounds. He has yet to show true prowess as a pass rusher, but given his work rate and high-end athleticism there is reason to think he can develop a good arsenal of pass rush moves. For now, McNeill would slide in day one and be able to control his gap at the line of scrimmage. Check out fellow CowboysWire draft analyst Ben Glassmire’s piece here which goes more in depth into McNeill’s play style.

Round 3: Tommy Togiai, Ohio State

https://twitter.com/dpbrugler/status/1362951046583226373?s=20 Togiai (6-foot-2, 296 pounds) has garnered some eyes as of recent and it is obvious why he is flying up draft boards. A true 1-tech, he plays with great functional strength, throwing up 40 reps at his pro day, fantastic leverage and intelligent hand usage. His potential as a three-down player is limited due to his rather average athleticism and undeveloped pass rush repertoire but is still able to slim through gaps when given the opportunity. While not a dynamic player by any stretch, Togiai is a player any team can benefit from having and he would pair perfectly with Woods as two solid rotational run stoppers.

Round 4: Tyler Shelvin, LSU

https://twitter.com/TampaBayTre/status/1369627577359470595?s=20 Here is a player who is the textbook definition of a nose tackle. Shelvin stands at only 6-foot-2, but weighs 350 pounds and looks it on the field. As to be expected, he exudes power and interior linemen at the next level will struggle to move him. The main concern with Shelvin is his lack of ability outside the run game. While he possesses a decent first step given his size, he simply does not show potential as a pass rusher and limiting himself to an early down player only. Shelvin will not be everyone’s cup of tea but will fix the issues Dallas dealt with all last season.

Round 5: Khyiris Tonga, BYU

https://twitter.com/BBALL_Z1/status/1300933420244185088?s=20 Tonga has flown under the radar by many thus far but is not an option to rule out at the top of Day 3. At 6-foot-3, 325 pounds he's a stout run defender who has the experience and technique to play at the next level. Tonga plays with good pad level, great length and controlling power. He is a 1-tech only as he does not possess the hand counter or elite athleticism needed to rush the quarterback consistently. Should Dan Quinn decide to mix in some hybrid looks with odd fronts, Tonga would provide the ability to beat the center consistently head on as a 0-tech.

Round 6: Bobby Brown III, Texas A&M

https://twitter.com/MHolder95/status/1360625530022727683?s=20 One of the more polarizing prospects, Brown has shown glimpses into what his future could hold but there are some factors limiting his game. He has the strength, the experience and the short-area quickness to make plays as a run stopper or pass rusher but is extremely inconsistent. His motor runs as well as a Lamborghini on three wheels. Sometimes you’ll get a player who looks like a can’t-miss prospect but other times he can look undraftable. Given some time and coaching, Brown, at 6-foot-4, 321 pounds, could turn into the interior wrecker the Cowboys have needed for a while now.

Round 7: Tedarrell Slaton, Florida

https://twitter.com/ScoutingLenz/status/1279395046740107264?s=20 A massive young man who carries his weight well, Slaton stands at 6-foot-4 330 pounds and ran just over a 5 second 40 with an outstanding 1.68 10-yard split. He possesses obvious power but couples this with a stout anchor which makes him increasingly difficult to move as the game progresses. His length allows him to get into the chest of opposing linemen and bull rush them back into the pocket but outside of this his pass rush repertoire is extremely lackluster. A true 1-tech who could also fill in as a 0-tech, Slaton needs to clean up the intricacies of his game to become a starting caliber, two-down player at the next level.

Other 7-round positional lists

https://cowboyswire.usatoday.com/lists/dallas-cowboys-2021-nfl-draft-tight-end-prospects/ https://cowboyswire.usatoday.com/lists/dallas-cowboys-2021-nfl-draft-offensive-tackle-prospects/ https://cowboyswire.usatoday.com/lists/dallas-cowboys-2021-nfl-draft-linebacker-prospects/ https://cowboyswire.usatoday.com/lists/dallas-cowboys-2021-nfl-draft-defensive-end-prospects/

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