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2021 NFL Draft: Early 1st-round Favorites for the Dallas Cowboys

Potential first-round targets for the Dallas Cowboys in the 2021 NFL Draft.

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!?

CORNERBACK

Jaycee Horn
South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn

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.

LINEBACKER

Micah Parsons
Penn State LB Micah Parsons

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.

OFFENSIVE TACKLE

Alijah Vera-Tucker
USC Trojans OT/OG Alijah Vera-Tucker

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?

EDGE

Kwity Paye
Michigan Wolverines EDGE Kwity Paye

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.

WILD CARD

Kyle Pitts
Florida Gators TE Kyle Pitts

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.

What do you think?

Brian Martin

Written by Brian Martin

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

Comments

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  1. Great analysis Mr Martin. As ypu correctly state, a TE is out as a possibility for a first rounder for the Cowboys. A good Tackle or even a safety should be great alternatives. We need to definetely bolster that defense.

  2. Agree with all those position needs, but would have highlighted DT/SAFETY rather than the unlikely TE. We’re in desperate need (what’s new) of a ball hawking FS as a last line of defense who can come up with some momentum changing Interceptions. As safeties aren’t drafted high, a quality one may fall to us in the 3rd rd

    Additionally if we don’t address our porous run D nothing else really matters. Teams will continue to run roughshod over us, as they have done the last several years. This is another position that isn’t generally drafted high. Unfortunately the quality of prospects at this position is thin. If C. Barmore (Alabama) is available in the 2nd rd (unlikely) I would seriously consider him. We need a big powerful DT that can push the pocket, play the run and make plays around the line of scrimmage.

    Obviously we have a need at basically every position on D. So much so that we should be able to draft BPA.

    • I didn’t include defensive tackle or safety because I don’t believe there is one worthy of the 10th overall pick or in a trade down scenario in the first-round this year.

  3. My bad Brain. I just realized u were highlighting possible 1st round picks,and ur right DT and Safety won’t be addressed in the 1st round.

  4. Unless LB Micah Parsons falls to them, I would be shocked to see any position besides CB and Edge rusher with that #10 pick. Surtain/Farley/Horn would be their 1st choice.

  5. There isn’t a great DT worth mentioning. Besides Barmore from Bama. I think he would be a early second round at most. So they take one of the players mention earlier.

  6. If Parsons is available in 1st round, should be a no brainer. Our LB position is kind of shaky IMO. If not, grab one of the top two CBs. I would do a double dip on CB, A Thomas or J Jobe later. Secondary LB picks (if no Parsons), D Moses or C Surratt or J Woods. SAF, P Ford or A Cisco or J Holland or T Moehrig, later A Washington.

    Looking at a very high need position, DT, we can go early or late. Or we can do a double dip, which I think would should do. We can draft Barmore or J Tufele or T Slaton earlier on and/or, grab P Mathis or N Jones or R Cooper later.

    Would grab a RB, I like C Hubbard or T Sermon or K Hill depending on if available at favorable spot . Real questions about EE.

    Don’t see a TE in 1st, makes no sense.

  7. With our first pick I don’t think it would be a good idea to go with anything other than a corner!! Get Surtain, Farley, or even Horn if the other 2 are gone!! And then 2nd round get Barmore, and in the 3rd round get Andrea Cisco or Javon Holland or Paris Ford!! If we draft a LB in the 1st round, I’ll be pissed!! I really don’t understand why people want Micah Parsons, he’s not even that good at LB, he’s a great athlete, but he’s just not played LB that much!! And in my opinion, he’s just another Jaylon Smith!! Like I said, with our first pick we have to go corner…. I don’t really see any better options!!

  8. VAM- Nice job! I agree with alot of what you said and the picks u suggested are solid.

    Totally agree with the Parsons choice. He checks alot of boxes and could impact this D in several different ways. If you have a chance to draft the best defensive player in the draft u take it. Plus LB is a big need with the regression of Smith and the uncertainty surrounding LVE.

    I really like Barmore from Alabama. He looks like a stud who could blow up in a few yrs (Aaron Donald lite ?) Not a sexy choice but a big position of need. I would consider him with the #44 pick though doubtful he lasts that long. Maybe move up a little to get him if he’s still available around that pick.

  9. I would avoid Parsons, as well as any LB in the first round even with a trade down, for the following reasons:
    1) Quality, early impact LBers can be found in the middle rounds in most every draft, easier than at any other position except perhaps RB
    2) As mentioned in the article, the immediate need at the position is depth, given the investments in Smith and LVE. If the team decides pre-draft that either isn’t in the long term plans, that changes things, but given that starters and even stars can be found a bit later the team should go for a value find, not an investment that must pan out to break even. Drafting a LBer in the first round either gets the guy stuck as a part timer early on or could block Smith or LVE from getting the snaps that could fuel a rebound.
    3) “No bust” LBers at the top of the draft have actually been unreliable. Guys who look like they fly to the ball in college thanks to athleticism can end up being ordinary if they don’t have very strong instincts, and Parsons appears to have the profile of a guy with all the physical tools but who may or may not have the read skills and reaction for the NFL game.

  10. Redsox- all due respect gotta disagree. It’s likely we part ways with Smith after next year if not sooner, and LVE will get hurt at some point again. Our run defense has been atrocious. Yea we Can we get a solid LB in the middle rounds, but we need an impact player and most experts consider Parsons the best defensive player in the draft. Ordinarily I would agree that LBs should not be drafted that high. But Many great LBs have been selected at the top of the 1st round . Further Parsons is a terrific run defender as well as an elite pass rusher. With his athleticism he can make plays all over the field.

    I don’t at all see Snith having a bounce back year. He is clearly a liability. Talk about poor read and reaction skills that would describe Smith. Poor lateral movement and vulnerable in space. Can’t cover RBs or TEs and led the team in penalties, many costly while being exposed in coverage.

    But it’s widely considered that Parsons will be. gone before the cowboys #10 pick so apparently many other teams covet him as well.

    It’s time for the cowboys to address the LB position. If not Parsons maybe Collins or Bolton in the 2nd/3rd rd?

  11. FOR SURE NEED TO ADDRESS LB IN THIS DRAFT if Parsons is there at 10th pick draft him , Jaylon Smith is just not consistent and can’t be relied on 100% to the point of not drafting a LB and LVE is WAYYYY too injury prone to be relied on either , Sean lee will probably retire ,and even if he doesn’t we can’t rely on him either so for sure draft Parsons if he’s there at 10 , if he isn’t then go get Surtain or Farley with that pick then later in the draft i’d take a LB at like 3rd or 4th , i think at 2nd depending on who’s there that we could go with another CB or Saftey , and there should be some good O-lineman there in the 2nd round too that we could possibly take to help this aging O-line out

  12. For what it’s worth, draft guru Mel.Kiper thinks Parsons is better than both Smith and LVE RIGHT NOW. Plus as Brian and Gary b point out, Parsons can PASS RUSH. From what I see, Smith will try at times to blitz, BUT rarely gets home. Plus he takes bad angles and makes a lot of his tackles well past of the line. I loved his story with injury and rehab, but I just don’t think he is very good, and we NEED very good now with our bad run defense. Combine that with LVE injury history ALREADY, I think a LB in the 1st round is not off base, especially this LB.

    That said, we probably can get a good LB later. D Moses would be a great second choice. As Brian points out, Koramoah is a very good prospect also, and he seems to be ascending. If we can get Farley/Surtain in 1st and Moses in 2nd, would be a great start, IMO.

  13. When your picking too 10 you have to takes best available according to your board..the other rounds are more for need.. So if a WR, TE or OL is your best available you take him.. If your best available turns out to be a position of need then that’s a bonus.. So hopefully it’s a corner. But I can tell you.. DT or Safety will not be best available at pick 10.

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