With the 227th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected defensive back Israel Mukuamu from South Carolina. The Cowboys are not stopping with defensive prospects in this draft, this one in the secondary. He seems to have position flex between corner and safety, with one Cowboys media member calling him a safety, while many sites have him listed as a corner.
There’s your safety, Cowboys fans.
With pick #227, Dallas takes Israel Mukuamu, safety from South Carolina
— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) May 1, 2021
Rangy cornerback with unique combination of size and length that could allow him to play outside or over matchup tight ends. He has the strength and tools in press-man, but leggy transitions and modest recovery burst diminish his margin for error against the release. His wingspan makes him a human skyscraper who can hassle the passing lane in Cover 2 and fluster deep ball attempts in Cover 3. The instincts are average, making him less likely to jump a route than simply play what he sees. He’s a capable tackler, but needs to amp up the aggression in run support whether teams view him as a cornerback or safety at the next level. Mukuamu has the potential to develop into a starter.
South Carolina used Israel Mukuamu in a variety of ways including as a wide corner, in the slot, as a deep safety, and in the box. While he primarily played as an outside corner, he does have appealing traits that make him a versatile option at the next level that can serve as a matchup neutralizer against tight ends and big slots. For a team that features a slot safety and/or positionless subpackage defenders, Mukuamu is an intriguing option for those roles in addition to playing wide corner in zone coverage. Mukumua is long, athletic, rangy, and physical. He does well to stay leveraged in zone coverage, has good ball skills, and is aggressive driving forward. The concerns with Mukuamu stem from his high-cut frame and the challenges it presents in terms of flipping his hips and cleanly transitioning. In addition, his play dropped off in 2020 after two outstanding seasons, but that was primarily due to injury. Unfortunately, he simply wasn’t playing his best football at the end of his career and some of his allure has faded. With that said, focusing on 2018 and 2019, that tape and his physical traits indicate he can fill a meaningful and valuable role for an NFL secondary if they are willing to tap into his versatility and what he does well.
- Round 1, pick 12 – LB Micah Parsons
- Round 2, pick 44 – CB Kelvin Joseph
- Round 3, pick 75 – DT Osa Odighizuwa
- Round 3, pick 84 – EDGE Chauncey Gholston
- Round 3, pick 99 – CB Nahshon Wright
- Round 4, pick 115 – LB Jabril Cox
- Round 4, pick 138 – OT Josh Ball
- Round 5, pick 179 – WR Simi Fehoko
- Round 6, pick 192 – DT Quinton Bohanna
- Round 6, pick 227 – DB Israel Mukuamu
- Round 7, pick 238
CB – It’s the most popular position for the Cowboys to use their #10 pick on. Chidobe Awuzie departed in free agency from a group that wasn’t very strong to begin with. Trevon Diggs is a piece to build on, but the Cowboys need help. OL – Injury and age are catching up to various pieces of the Cowboys once-vaunted offensive line. Tyron Smith has an uncertain long-term future, and the middle of the line still has question marks. DL – The Cowboys could use an infusion of talent at both defensive tackle and defensive end. Expect both positions to be among the picks this weekend. LB – Sean Lee retired, Joe Thomas left in free agency, and the Cowboys are undecided on Leighton Vander Esch’s fifth-year option. This is a need that has been building this offseason. S – The Cowboys signed a few free agents to go with Donovan Wilson, but they were mostly one-year contracts. The long-term stability of the position is in doubt, and the small sample size of Wilson’s work only adds to that.