The Bengals could hinder the Dallas Cowboys from landing a top-five draft pick
If the 2021 NFL Draft were to be held today, four of the top five selecting teams have already been eliminated from playoff contention. The lone survivor and current holder of the fourth overall selection is none other than the Dallas Cowboys.
As a grown man, I cannot fathom a scenario where someone tells me it’s in the best interest of the team to lose. I assume these NFL players feel the same way so the Cowboys are going to have to get creative in how they handle the rest of the season.
Perhaps the Cowboys can start to give playing time to young players like Bradlee Anae, Reggie Robinson, and Francis Bernard to see what kind of players they might turn out to be. Without a preseason, playing young guys in a lost season feels like a win-win situation to me.
The Dallas Cowboys can surpass Cincinnati this weekend with a loss. If the Dallas Cowboys find a way to lose this weekend in what is essentially a meaningless game, they would only have to find a way to lose three more games to secure a top-three pick.
The general manager in me wants the team to lose out while the fan in me would like to see this team go on and try and make some noise in the playoffs. I know that is unlikely so by default I am now officially on team tank.
This does not mean I am not a true fan. It just means I have come to the realization that this team has far too many issues for them to make any type of noise if they were to advance. Fight me if you must but having so many talented players out for the year with injuries just makes me feel like the team can have a 2016 like-rebound.
I was at the game in October of 2016 where Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott powered their way to a victory against Cincinnati and all I can remember is the electric atmosphere those two rookies added to a talented roster. I expect the same will happen if the Cowboys can stay towards the top of the draft order.
To be clear, this team is not devoid of talent. The exposure of this team might inflate the value of some on this roster but make no mistake about it, the Dallas Cowboys are top ten in this league in terms of overall talent.
If you add in a top-three pick at the beginning of every round and all of a sudden, the roster is in a much better place with a mixture of returning healthy veterans and a handful of rookie studs. That is what makes this game a turning point for draft positioning.
Can the Dallas Cowboys lose a game to a team without its starting quarterback?
The simple answer is yes. The Bengals have also had a rough season but effort is not a reason for their losses. The Bengals are a team that has very little talent but their hearts are in the right place. If you take out the week five game against Baltimore and the week ten contest against Pittsburgh, both division opponents, the Bengals have been competitive in every game.
As I said before, effort is not an issue which means the Dallas Cowboys could be in for a dogfight this weekend. Add in rumors that their head coach might be on the hot seat, I expect the Bengals to try and punch America’s Team in the face from the start.
These are the same Bengals who tied the Philadelphia Eagles earlier in the season while that whole Dak-Wentz debate was still all the rage. That tie might come back and haunt Cincinnati in terms of draft positioning.
I do worry about the fact that Cincinnati can catch Jacksonville for the second overall selection but the Jaguars would have to win at least two more games since the Bengals beat the Jags back in week four.
This is where the Cowboys can capitalize on the situation. If the Cowboys lose, and the Jaguars can find a way to win a couple of games, the Dallas Cowboys could get to the second overall pick since they would essentially win the common opponent tiebreaker.
Of course, this all depends on who the Jaguars beat if anyone. The bottom line is if you are on team tank, this is a game the Cowboys cannot win if there is any hope of moving up in the 2021 NFL Draft.