The number of projected Cowboys picks is getting smaller.
This past week, prominent prospects like Caleb Farley, Greg Newsome, and Wyatt Davis have made their way to Indianapolis to complete physicals with NFL medical staffs. A process that normally takes place during the annual NFL Combine, but instead has to take place less than a month until draft night. Because of this, it’s anticipated that unforeseen picks will be made as soon as the top five and will continue throughout the course of the weekend.
Because of this, the entire league is kept off-balance and guessing leading into the final week of April. Teams are cramming. Media is unsure. Fans are nervous. All of the buildup makes this some of the more memorable moments for those that spend their time around the draft, such as The Draft Show. Tuesday’s edition of The Draft Show had a round-table discussion on potential late-round picks and how the new-age of NFL scouting is already being used here:
You can also catch the entire Thursday episode, and the crazy trade scenarios thrown out by Bryan Broaddus here:
Cowboys Angle: Are the Cowboys down to four names at 10?
Around this time of year, the media begins to get a pretty good idea of where an organization is leaning when it comes to their first-round selection. At the moment, it feels as if the Cowboys are seeing their realistic options dwindle down to a total of four names. Corners Patrick Surtain (Alabama) and Jaycee Horn (South Carolina), along with offensive talents like Kyle Pitts (Florida) and Rashawn Slater (Northwestern). Although, these are the favorites for the pick, there is still plenty of time for craziness to ensue and for the team to shift their thinking.
Cowboys 2021 mock draft tracker: We found some mocks that don’t have Patrick Surtain as the pick – Dave Halprin, Blogging the Boys
But one name rises above the others.
It’s Friday, so it’s time for our latest mock draft tracker. This year, unlike almost any year in recent memory, the Cowboys seemed locked into one player for their pick at 10, at least if you buy what the mock drafts are selling.
Almost everybody is on the Patrick Surtain II train. It makes sense. The Cowboys defense was awful in 2020. They let Chidobe Awuzie walk in free agency, opening up a spot at outside corner. Surtain has about as high of a floor as you will find among prospects in this draft.
Add it all up, and the conclusion, shared by seven of our ten mock drafters, is Surtain for the Cowboys first pick in the draft.
ALABAMA • JR • 6’2” / 203 LBS
Surtain is a safe pick for the Dallas defense. The Cowboys have missed a lot at the position in recent years so Surtain should finally add some stability.
Alabama · CB
Surtain will team with Trevon Diggs to give Dallas two good, young cornerbacks.
Linebacker is still hanging out there as a possibility.
Understandably, this pick is going to agitate some people. Micah Parsons has great tape and was arguably the best defensive prospect going into the 2021 season after winning the Butkus Award in 2019 and was a unanimous All-American before opting out of the 2020 season.
The problem lies with what he’s done off the field with his reported accounts of hazing and fighting a teammate while in school.
Regardless of if that had any part in him opting out of last season, his red flags have made it near impossible to pinpoint where he’ll end up.
The reality is that Jerry Jones and the Cowboys have been known to take players with red flags and attempt to mold them into professionals, not only in the draft but in free agency as well with players like Randy Gregory, Greg Hardy, Aldon Smith, and Rolando McClain.
The Cowboys need players on defense who can tackle and make plays, especially at linebacker after last season. With Sean Lee gone and possibly retiring, Leighton Vander Esch having constant injury issues, and Jaylon Smith – the team’s leading tackler – having a down season last year, the linebacker position has become a major need despite signing Keanu Neal who’s intending to play the SAM role.
The Cowboys need help at the position and Parsons is going to be a player they’ll need to at least consider.
Is an EDGE at #10 really a possibility?
With Aldon Smith headed to Seattle, can’t the argument be made that edge rusher as just as big of a need as any position on defense? Not only that, the Cowboys have a chance to take the best pass rusher in the draft. How often does that happen? — MICHAEL SMITH / DALLAS, TX
David: Everything you just said is correct, but here is the cruel irony: I don’t think there is a pass rusher worth drafting at No. 10 this particular year. Kwity Paye’s athleticism is enticing, but I’m not interested in using a Top 10 pick on a guy who managed 11.5 sacks during a four-year college career. Both of the Miami edge rushers, Gregory Rousseau and Jaelan Phillips, come with concerns of their own. Now, that doesn’t mean there are no options. Micah Parsons has some pass rush ability, or maybe they could use a Day 2 pick on a guy like Wake Forest’s Carlos Basham. But there just isn’t a ton of star power in this class of edge rushers, and that’s why you aren’t hearing a lot about it.
The Cowboys win total, courtesy of Las Vegas.
It’s that time of year when rose-colored positivity abounds for Cowboys fans. Dak Prescott is signed and cruising down the road to recovery. Ezekiel Elliot is looking spry in posted workout videos. The lawfirm of Cooper, Gallup, and Lamb is on track to be a monster triple threat. The O-line is going to be healthy and angry. The defense has a brilliant new coordinator who’ll turn the ship around. The team will draft only perfect-fit prospects. No one will get hurt in camp. They’ll run the table and turn in an undefeated season en route to another Lombardi Trophy!!
Okay, maybe not. But yes, hope springs eternal in April in the NFL… at least until professional oddsmakers and network analysts jump in and rain on the parade with things like logic and reason.
Cowboys Nation won’t like what either party has to say about the 2021 team’s chances for a vast improvement over 2020.
Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill has released its initial win projections for each of the NFL’s 32 teams, just as over/under wagering was set to open on Friday. (The league announced it had signed a multiyear partnership deal with Caesars Entertainment and two companies other on Thursday.) And ESPN took the opportunity to have its NFL Nation reporters weigh in on those projections.
Caesars has Dallas’s 2021 win total pegged at 9.5 games.
Maurice Hurst anyone?
Cowboys need to sign Maurice Hurst while they still can
So why would the Dallas Cowboys best suit his talents?
The team has a new defensive coordinator in Dan Quinn, late the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. He’s already employed a few of his former players in safeties Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee – the former making the switch to weakside linebacker. Free agency brings a little depth at defensive end in Carlos Watkins and Brent Urban. But keep in mind that only the Houston Texans gave up more yards per game on the ground than the Cowboys (158.8 average). Dallas gave up 54 offensive touchdowns in 16 games, including 20 on the ground.
So can a member of the league’s 25th-ranked defense from a season ago help a unit that finished 23rd in the NFL in total yards per game allowed? Hurst was a solid performer for the Silver and Black in his three seasons with the club and certainly was a bright spot. He is the 19th-ranked interior defender according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required) and yet here he is available. Hurst would indeed be a quality addition to Quinn’s new-look defensive unit.
Who do you prefer?
The Dallas Cowboys defense had multiple practice squad players getting major snaps in the defensive backfield last season, including Saivion Smith, Rashad Robinson, Steven Parker and Deante Burton. The team already needed depth before Chidobe Awuzie signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in free agency.
Whether in the draft or by signing a vet in free agency, or preferably both, Dallas still needs to go after cornerback in the remaining offseason. The current question for the Cowboys is which prospects should they target? This is a recurring series of debate on which of two prospects is the best fit for the Cowboys. This edition will feature Syracuse CB Ifeatu Melifonwu and Washington CB Elijah Molden and will feature former Cowboys Wire contributor Dalton Miller, now of 105.3 the Fan.
Molden stands 5-foot-10 and weighs 192 pounds. The Washington Huskies only played four games in 2020, but in that time Molden was able to be productive, totalling 26 tackles (including one for a loss), an interception and a pass deflection.
Melifonwu is a much bigger player, standing at 6-foot-2, and weighs in at 212 pounds. In 10 games he had 54 tackles (three for loss), a sack, an interception and six pass deflections.
So who fits better? Let the debate begin.
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