The Dallas Cowboys missed the playoffs last year for the second straight season, and team owner Jerry Jones doesn’t plan on letting it happen again in 2021. The longtime owner finally inked star quarterback Dak Prescott to a four-year contract this offseason. Now it’s time to shift his focus to improving the roster via the NFL draft.
Let’s take a look at the Cowboys’ best options for the 10th overall pick.
Patrick Surtain II — CB, Alabama
It’s no secret that the Cowboys need help on the defensive side of the ball. Dallas ranked 28th in the NFL last season in points allowed per game (29.6), and the defense surrendered the third-most passing touchdowns (34) in the league.
One prospect who can immediately help fix those problems is Patrick Surtain II, the uber-talented cornerback out of Alabama. Surtain recorded 24 passes defended, four interceptions, and four forced fumbles in three seasons with the Crimson Tide. The 6-foot-2, 203-pound corner has exceptional length and possesses the ball skills of a top wide receiver.
Oh, and his father, former NFL player Patrick Surtain Sr., is already lobbying for the Cowboys to take him.
“He can do it all, man,” Patrick Sr. told ESPN Radio last week. “That’s why I think he’s highly-coveted because he’s an all-around corner. He can play zone, he can play man. He comes up and tackles. He can play in the slot if need be. So I think [Dallas] would be a perfect fit.”
Jaycee Horn — CB, South Carolina
Oh look, another cornerback. And another NFL legend’s son!
Jaycee Horn, the son of four-time Pro Bowler Joe Horn, is viewed by many as the top corner in the 2021 draft ahead of Surtain. He has similar size (6-foot-1, 205 pounds) to Surtain, but the South Carolina product is a more physical and aggressive player who isn’t afraid to get dirty with bigger receivers. He’s also a freak athlete who ran a blazing 4.39 40-yard dash this offseason, per Matt Miller.
Horn proclaimed himself “the best defensive player in the draft” last month. Who wouldn’t want that type of confidence and swagger in their defensive backfield?
Rashawn Slater — OL, Northwestern
Defense might be the biggest need for the Cowboys heading into the 2021 season, but offensive line might not be far behind. Dallas surrendered 44 sacks in 2020, and Ezekiel Elliott had his worst season as a pro with little room to run all year. Tyron Smith and Zack Martin are both now in their 30s. La’el Collins hasn’t played since 2019. If one of the top offensive tackle prospects slips to the Cowboys at 10, Jerry Jones will have to seriously consider calling their name.
Penei Sewell, the No. 1 tackle prospect in the draft out of Oregon, most likely won’t fall that far. But Rashawn Slater, the Northwestern product who some believe is more talented than Sewell, very well might.
Slater is an incredibly versatile prospect who can play anywhere along the offensive line. He’s quick and smooth with his feet and has exceptional strength for his size. Slater could be plugged in wherever the Cowboys need and serve as a starter for the next decade if they decide to go that route.
Kyle Pitts — TE, Florida
Buckle up for this one.
No, Kyle Pitts won’t make it to Dallas at No. 10. No, the Cowboys don’t exactly need more weapons for Dak Prescott on the outside. Yes, they used their last first-round pick on a wide receiver.
Throw all that out the window here.
Pitts is a generational talent who will be a franchise-altering weapon for whichever team is lucky enough to steal him in the draft. However, Jones will have to work his magic to move up and grab Pitts. The most likely trade partner would be the Atlanta Falcons at pick No. 4, who have already expressed interest in trading back. Pitts could be taken anywhere past No. 3 overall, so the Cowboys would have to be aggressive if they want to land the Florida star.
Jones is reportedly “infatuated” with Pitts as a prospect, and he isn’t the only one.
Who do you want the Cowboys to take in the first round?