Trying to read the Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ mind is not a simple task. With less than 72 hours before Draft night, someone must try.
Jones’ $5.7 billion dollar team has the 10th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft due to a 3rd place finish in the NFC East in the 2020 season. The Cowboys had many spots on offense and defense that lacked consistency during the regular season. The only position they have gained real help from in the offseason so far is their $160 million dollar quarterback Dak Prescott.
Other than the firing of former Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan, contract agreement with Prescott, and the hiring of new Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn, the Cowboys offseason has been quiet.
Cowboys Draft Guide
The 10th pick feels like a top-five pick for the Cowboys, this is because it seems like five quarterbacks will be selected before they are on the clock. The Cowboys will most likely have the chance to get a top-two defensive player in this draft.
The biggest need for the Cowboys is the secondary. Last year, the Cowboys selected CB Trevon Diggs in the second round. Diggs played 12 games in his rookie campaign and was often tasked with guarding the opponent’s number one WR. Diggs showed flashes of being the ballhawk the Cowboys have been looking for. He was 9th in the NFL for interceptions with 3. Diggs missed 4 games last year due to a broken foot.
Cornerback is still the highest priority for the Cowboys despite all the buzz around Florida TE Kyle Pitts. Unless the Cowboys give up picks to trade up for a better pick, Pitts will not be on the board come pick 10. I say this is highly unlikely because the Cowboys need multiple picks to address multiple subpar areas on their roster. However, Jerry Jones will not listen to anybody outside of his circle, so I won’t rule this as impossible.
The Cowboys will select Alabama CB Patrick Surtain III or South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn. Both of their fathers were Pro Bowlers in the NFL.
Surtain’s ability to guard one on one is rare at his age. He locks down receivers one on one and tackles very well. Some scouts question his loud playmaking-making ability, but the Cowboys hope to have already found that in Diggs. Surtain is probably the most NFL-ready cornerback this draft has to offer and he can fill in a one-on-one cover role the Cowboys miss having in former Cowboy Byron Jones.
Horn is a gritty corner who can jump routes and he also has clear playmaking ability. He loves to get under WR’s skin by running his mouth. Horn’s downside is his game can lead to getting beat deep or giving up huge plays.
Round 1, Pick 10 Mind Read: Alabama CB Patrick Surtain III
Surtain is the clear fit in Dan Quinn’s defense. He models what Quinn wants in a cornerback. Fast, coordinated, and not afraid to tackle. Expect Surtain to have an immediate impact. And if he is not on the board at 10, the Cowboys will select Horn.
Round 2, Pick 44 Mind Read: Alabama DT Christian Barmore
You could easily make an argument that the Cowboys need to address the offensive line with this second-round pick. But offensive lineman runs deeper in this draft than defensive lineman.
The Cowboys need a big man on the interior part of their defensive line to stop the run. The Cowboys were one of three teams that gave up more than 5 yards per carry last year. Barmore was the defensive player of the game in the National Championship last year. He has size and quickness which is a dominant combination that the Cowboys are looking for.
The one problem with this pick is that Barmore’s stock is rising every day, and he will most likely not be here in the middle of the second round. This leads me to make another Jones mind read…
The Cowboys trade up and take the Bengals 38th pick for the Cowboys 44th and 99th pick
This trade would make sense for both teams. The Cowboys would be able to get their guy, Barmore. And the Bengals would have more picks to address weapons for QB Joe Burrow.
Round 3, Pick 75 Mind Read: Stanford OT Walker Little
In round three the Cowboys will address the offensive line. Injuries are coming up every year, the once-dominant line is now missing pieces. Little was a first-round prospect as soon as he touched foot on a college football field. He missed time in 2019 with a knee injury and opted out last season. So Little will likely be available in round 3, and his upside is still incredible if healthy.
Late Pick Mind Reads:
Safety: The Cowboys lack depth there and could use another Safety to challenge hard-hitting S Donovan Wilson for the starting job.
Edge Rusher: Everyone knows the player Demarcus Lawerence can be. But his season disappointed many fans last year. And they were not able to resign a key pass rusher in Aldon Smith.
Linebacker: Leighton Vander Esch has many health concerns. Jaylon Smith needs help. And Sean Lee announced retirement earlier today. If Penn State LB Micah Parsons is still available at 10 don’t be surprised if the Cowboys take him. There are other cornerbacks in the draft they could take in a later round.
Offensive Line: The Cowboys could use all the depth in the world. And finding some late-round guards or tackles that can sit back and learn from Zack Martin and Tyron Smith is not a bad idea.
QB: The Cowboys lost backup QB Andy Dalton in free agency as he seeks a starting job with the Chicago Bears. Don’t be surprised if the Cowboys gamble a late-round pick to try to find a backup for Prescott.
Jerry Jones is not an easy guy to read. But one thing I can guarantee you is that the Cowboys will enter this draft with an open mind. Answering all phone calls that come in, and dialing all numbers possible. Last year CeeDee Lamb was a surprise to everyone. And draft day is just as unpredictable as Jones is. Let’s see what Jerry Jones has in store for the Dallas Cowboys this time around.
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