Evaluating players for the 2021 NFL Draft is going to be more difficult than arguably any time in the history of the league. Due to opt outs because of the Covid-19 pandemic, lack of physical workouts, and the potential shutdown of the Scouting Combine teams are really going to have to depend more heavily on their scouting department than they ever have in the past.
With that in mind, I thought I'd share with you some of the potential players a Dallas Cowboys could target with the 10th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. It's still way too early to know with any kind of certainty where any of these players might be selected, but having such a high draft pick helps narrow down the possibilities a bit.
Below are the players I believe make the most sense for the Dallas Cowboys based on “team needs”. Right now I have the Cowboys biggest “needs” as follows… CB, LB, OT, EDGE. Those are the positions they are most likely to target early in my opinion.
Let's get started… Shall we!?
Patrick Surtain II, Caleb Farley, Jaycee Horn
Surtain, Farley… Farley, Surtain… Cowboys Nation seems to have tunnel vision for the two top-rated cornerbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft for the Dallas Cowboys and rightfully so. Both check all of the boxes (size, length, athleticism) NFL teams look for in their CBs and both would be plug-and-play players from Day 1. However, there's another CB in play for the Cowboys in the first-round as well… Jaycee Horn, the son of four-time Pro Bowl WR Joe Horn.
Like Surtain and Farley, Horn has the same kind of intangibles (size, length, athleticism) teams look for in a starting CB. Ideally the Cowboys would target him if they traded down a few spots, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if he's still in play with the 10th overall pick. In fact, I think he could work himself into that discussion the further along the draft process gets.
Micah Parsons, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
The Dallas Cowboys have to be at the very least a little concerned with the current depth at linebacker and if they're not they will be once they evaluate the LB play in 2020. Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch both played far below expectations, creating more questions than answers about the future the position. That's why I believe both Micah Parsons and Jeremiah Owusu-Kormoah could potentially be first-round targets for the Cowboys.
Parsons is arguably the best defensive player in the entire 2021 draft class. He can be played as an off-ball LB or as a pass rusher with his hand in the dirt. His versatility and unique skill set likely means he's gone by the time the Cowboys are on the clock, but Owusu-Koramoah should still be available. He's no consolation prize. He's exactly the kind of impact WILL LB Dallas is currently missing and is definitely in play for them in the first-round.
Christian Darrisaw, Rashawn Slater, Alijah Vera-Tucker
While Penei Sewell is considered the top ranked OT in the 2021 draft class, Christian Darrisaw and Rashawn Slater aren't too far behind. As such though they may be off the board by the time the Dallas Cowboys are on the clock. If either or both is somehow still on the board they could be the heir apparent/solution for the Cowboys at left tackle considering Tyron Smith's inability to remain healthy.
Alijah Vera-Tucker will likely end up in the discussion as well. He is a plug-and-play player at both guard and tackle and we know how much the Cowboys like that kind of versatility in their offensive lineman. It's also possible he's on the board still if they decide to trade down a few spots. They found success in the last time they drafted an OL from USC (Tyron Smith), could lightning strike twice?
Kwity Paye, Gregory Rousseua, Joseph Ossai
Both DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory finished the 2020 season on a high note, giving the Dallas Cowboys a pretty good duo heading into 2021. They'll likely try to re-sign Aldon Smith in the offseason, but even if they do they could still use more depth. That doesn't necessarily mean it has to come in the first-round, however, with the 10th overall pick they could have their choosing from the top-ranked EDGE rushers in this year's draft class.
Kwity Paye and Gregory Rousseua are both worthy of being selected in the Top 10, but Joseph Ossai would likely be more of a trade down target by the Cowboys in the first-round. Scheme fit is key here and the hiring of Dan Quinn will help in that regards. Regardless of what happens in the offseason selecting a pass rusher with the 10th overall pick is definitely in play. It is after all one of the higher valued positions in the NFL.
TE Kyle Pitts
Kyle Pitts has a growing fan base around Cowboys Nation and rightfully so. He is a new era kind of tight end who is utilized more as a big receiver than that of a traditional TE. He is a mismatch problem in the passing game and one who would make the Dallas Cowboys already potent aerial attack all the more dangerous. With that said though, he may be more of a luxury then a “need”.
In Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz the Cowboys already have two capable starting TEs heading into the 2021 season. Jarwin particularly is more similar in skill set to Pitts, making him somewhat unneeded. I kind of doubt Dallas seriously considers him with their first-round selection, however, that could change if their board is wiped out and they are unable to trade down.