DALLAS — The Dallas Cowboys continue to shore up their linebacking corps with the selection of former LSU linebacker Jabril Cox in the 115th overall pick in Round 4 of the 2021 NFL draft.
Cox is known for his coverage skills as a linebacker. At LSU, where he went as a graduate transfer following his career at North Dakota State, he picked up three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, along with five pass breakups in 10 games. Cox also collected 58 combined tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, and a fumble recovery.
The 6-4, 231-pound linebacker was a two-time FCS all-American at North Dakota State and helped the Bison win three straight national championships from 2018-19. In 2018, he was the Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year with 91 combined tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, and four interceptions, two of which went for pick-sixes. Cox also made first-team all-conference twice (2018, 2019).
The Cowboys took a linebacker in the first round in Micah Parsons, No. 12 overall from Penn State. Dallas already has two Pro Bowl linebackers on the roster in Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, who is entering the fourth and final year of his contract.
Dallas still has the option to pick up the fifth year on his contract. Regardless, adding Cox, along with the Parsons pick, gives new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn the chance to evaluate his linebacking corps as the Dallas defense begins to further emphasize speed.
The pick is the sixth defensive selection the Cowboys have made in the 2021 draft, a franchise record to begin a draft class. According to owner, president, and general manager Jerry Jones, the Cowboys taking that many defensive players is simply addressing a need, not sending a message.
"There are a lot of things you can interpret from this," Jones said after day two of the draft on Friday. "Unfortunately, we didn’t need to send any messages. It was pretty well known where we might need to do some addressing. This was not a design to, I’m not taking it literally, it wasn’t designed to send any interpretation about how we felt about things. This has improved the very best way we could, this team. To the extent to the way we are approaching where we are going this year is reflected here. It’s reflected in these players."
Cox is from Raytown South High School in Raytown, Missouri. His major is in liberal arts.
Would you be happy with an all-defense draft for the Cowboys? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.