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3 Non-QB Options on Offense the Cowboys Should Consider in the Top 10

I fully admit it feels incredibly strange to be writing a draft piece in November of the NFL season. But that’s the kind of season and year that we’ve lived in in 2020. Strange. As the Dallas Cowboys enter the second half of their schedule at 2-6 and with a home contest against the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, the writing for the 2020 Dallas Cowboys is pretty much on the wall.

So, while you’ll still get the regular in-season analysis that you’ve come to expect here at InsideTheStar.com, it’s time to begin looking at the 2021 NFL Draft class. There will be a ton to talk about and dissect with the Cowboys likely to pick in the top 10 and probably as high as the top five next April.

The top of the 2021 draft class is absolutely loaded with stud talent on the football’s offensive side in particular. Quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields lead the way and will likely be the top two players off the board. But there are players of intrigue on the football’s offensive side inside the top 10 that the Dallas Cowboys should absolutely consider when they do their draft preparations. And though many will be clamoring for this pick to be allocated on the football’s defensive side, let’s take a look at a few players they could use that premium pick on.

And no, we’re not considering Kyle Pitts, the tight end from the University of Florida as an option in the top 10 of the NFL Draft, because tight ends shouldn’t be considered in the first round, much less the top 10 of the first round. I’m normally down for Pro Football Focus’ content, but that mock draft is not it.

Let’s dive in.

Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

Of the three players that I’m going to mention here, this one is the most obvious. I’m not breaking any news here when I say the Dallas Cowboys have some questions at the tackle position in 2021. They have talented players in All-Pro Tyron Smith and should have been a Pro Bowler La’el Collins. Those two guys, when healthy, make up one of the best tackle tandems in the NFL. The problem is, it’s been a while since they were both healthy.

Over the last decade, we’ve seen how helpful a good to great offensive line can be to your offense’s success. The Cowboys could have an opportunity to continue to infuse talent into that group by adding Penei Sewell from Oregon to the offensive line room.

According to The Draft Network, Sewell is their top-rated non-quarterback and second overall player after Clemson Quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Sewell is a monster in the running game and has the athleticism to be excellent as a pass blocker. He just turned 20 years old. Similarly to the last offensive tackle, the Cowboys drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft, Tyron Smith, they’re getting a young prospect who, per The Draft Network, “will only get better as he grows and matures more into his body and frame.”

Here’s what The Draft Network’s Drae Harris had to say about Penei Sewell.

“In the run game, Sewell is tenacious and comes off the ball hard as a drive blocker — showing great success in creating lanes for his back. Showcases as an excellent run lane anchor and is heavy at the point of attack to create immediate movement. In the passing game, he is competitive and showcases good length for the perimeter — will check the box comfortably for teams with his wingspan. He has a strong upper body and excellent latch strength in his hands. He is tough, strong and competitive and it is reasonable to consider that he has only scratched the surface of his potential.”

Drae Harris, The Draft Network

If everybody’s healthy heading into the 2021 season, the Dallas Cowboys don’t have an offensive line problem from where I sit. However, the question will continue to linger about how healthy they can stay with Tyron Smith missing significant time every season for the last five seasons. Hip issues don’t necessarily go away, and for an offensive lineman, hips are incredibly important.

Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

You may be shocked to read that the Dallas Cowboys should consider a wide receiver in the first round of the NFL Draft considering the assortment of talent they have at the position with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb.

First of all, let’s talk about Ja’Marr Chase, who opted out of LSU’s 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chase would have played his junior season for the Tigers this year but would have done so with a much lesser quarterback throwing him the football in a much different offense. Joe Burrow is in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals, and Joe Brady coordinates the offense for the Carolina Panthers.

A lot has changed for the star wide receiver who caught 84 passes for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns. He averaged 21.2 yards per reception and was a nightmare all season long on the way to the Tigers’ historic National Championship run.

Chase is the top wide receiver on the board for The Draft Network, coming in at number five, just behind Justin Fields.

Receiving & Rushing Table
Rece Rece Rece Rece Scri Scri Scri Scri
Year School Class G Rec Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
*2018 LSU FR 10 23 313 13.6 3 23 313 13.6 3
*2019 LSU SO 14 84 1780 21.2 20 85 1785 21.0 20
2020 LSU JR 0 0 0
Career LSU 107 2093 19.6 23 108 2098 19.4 23
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 11/6/2020.

“Set the single season SEC record for receiving yards and touchdowns as a true sophomore in 2019. Love the way he navigates his routes – he knows how to attack space, get open and adjust on the fly. Has plenty of variance with his releases, blending hand and footwork with physicality and the ability to reduce his surface area to clear contact. Unfazed by contact in his route stems and at the catch point, savvy with his hands. Hands are plucky and he routinely snatches the football away from his frame. Catching the football is natural to him, smoothly catching the football in stride. Exceptional at tracking, adjusting and positioning himself to win at the catch point. Decisive, physical, shifty and smooth working after the catch. Vision in space is tremendous and he makes terrific decisions with perfectly executed cuts to break pursuit angles and help him corner defenders. Blocks and competes hard on every rep, regardless if the ball is going his way. An alpha in everything he does on the football field.”

Joe Marino, The Draft Network

Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle was on pace to have a spectacular season of his own until he fractured his ankle in the Crimson Tide’s 48-17 win over Tennessee. His ankle has an eight-week timetable for a potential return, which could have him back for the SEC Championship game.

Through five games this season, Waddle had caught 25 passes for 557 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 22.3 yards per reception.

Receiving & Rushing Table
Rece Rece Rece Rece Scri Scri Scri Scri
Year School Class G Rec Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
*2018 Alabama FR 15 45 848 18.8 7 45 848 18.8 7
*2019 Alabama SO 13 33 560 17.0 6 34 565 16.6 6
2020 Alabama JR 5 25 557 22.3 4 28 569 20.3 4
Career Alabama 103 1965 19.1 17 107 1982 18.5 17
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 11/6/2020.

Waddle’s been a downfield threat for the Crimson Tide throughout his career, even last year playing behind Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs, both first-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft. His elite speed translates. He projects similar to Tyreek Hill or Marquise Brown, who have made their livings as undersized speedsters taking the top off of NFL defenses.

“Waddle plays the game in one mode and that’s full throttle. Debunks the 0-60 saying. Instead, he starts out in 60 mph and can continue to floor the gas pedal and increase speeds at any moment. Catch radius is high and wide. Able to extend well outside of his body structure in order to haul in passes. His right now speed and breakaway capabilities make him a tough assignment for anyone to cover. When given free releases, he assesses the technique of matchups and incorporates stutter steps at the top of routes in order to freeze defenders and turn them into guessers prior to quickly making moves to get into routes. Adds a tremendous boost to special teams as both a kick and punt returner (3 career TDs) Waddle is a slice and dice runner that bobs and weaves his way through defenses with ease all while maintaining max speed.”

Jordan Reid – The Draft Network

Currently the 10th best player, and seventh-best offensive player in the 2021 draft class per The Draft Network, Waddle will absolutely be in the range of possibilities for the Dallas Cowboys with their first pick in the draft.

A Wide Receiver in the Top 10?

You’re Crazy. 

Typed hearing Ignacio from Nacho Libre. 

How does it make sense, though, for the Cowboys to draft a wide receiver a year after they drafted CeeDee Lamb at number 17 overall?

First of all, these two players are incredibly dynamic and could work in any offense. You can never have enough guys that can make plays down the field. Both of those guys can do just that.

Looking at the current construction of the roster, it doesn’t make sense. I can’t convince myself to add another wide receiver investment as rich as this one would be to the Cowboys depth chart. However, if you decided to entertain the possibility of trading away Michael Gallup or Amari Cooper, then the possibility becomes more of a reality.

Michael Gallup will be going into the final year of his contract in 2021. It’s certainly possible the Dallas Cowboys have visions of signing him to a long-term contract extension in the 2021 offseason. It’s also possible he’s not in their plans at all, and they’re able to find a wide receiver needy team interested in sending you a draft pick or two for the third-year wide receiver still on his rookie deal.

Amari Cooper is tradable, but it’s a bit more complicated as he carries $28 million in guaranteed money on his contract after this season. $20 million in the way of his 2021 salary and then $2 million in prorated bonuses each year for the remainder of the contract.

If the Dallas Cowboys decided they wanted to clear Cooper’s high cap number off their ledger, they could potentially move him for some high draft compensation. Though it wouldn’t be necessary to move that cap number off the books to re-sign Dak Prescott, the Cowboys could choose to reallocate that money to the defensive side of the ball and go with a wide receiver trio on rookie contracts in 2021 and beyond. It’s not as feasible to move him in 2021 as it would be in 2022, but as Dr. Ian Malcolm said in Jurassic Park said, “life finds a way.” If the Cowboys wanted to do it, they could make it work.

Now, it seems incredibly unlikely that the Dallas Cowboys would use a top 10 pick on a wide receiver, but they have to be in consideration. We see right now how taking the best player available (CeeDee Lamb) can pay huge dividends.

The Cowboys will keep positional value and positional need in the conversation when it comes to who they draft in the top 10 of the 2021 NFL Draft. Therefore, wide receiver, especially these two, will be in the conversation come April.

What do you think?

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John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

Comments

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    • Hi, my name is John and I write this stuff. I appreciate you taking the time to read it and I know it’s some outside the box thinking. I’d like to think that we try to cover all the possible angles here at InsideTheStar.com and while it’s an incredibly unlikely scenario, it’s one the Dallas Cowboys will talk about, even if they don’t go in the wide receiver direction as I outlined.

  1. I’ll agree to go after Penei Sewell, cause after watching this mess of an offensive line when Tyron Smith and Collins are out we’ll need some help there, but I can’t agree with taking a WR AGAIN that high in the draft!! Especially in the 2021 draft, when we need to get as much help as we can on the defensive side of the ball!! With as bad as our defense is and with as many of our secondary players that’s gonna be free agents we’ll need to draft at least 2 corners and a safety just to make up for the starters we are losing after this season!! Like I said, I can agree with drafting Penei Sewell, I can even agree with drafting Justin Fields, but I can’t agree with drafting another WR!! And the reason I say Justin Fields and not Trevor Lawrence is for one we won’t have the number 1 overall pick and 2 I think Justin Fields will be the better option!! Everybody says Lawrence is a once in a generation QB, and he is good, but he choked bad when it mattered the most!! He was really bad in the bowl game last year when he went up against Joe Burrow and LSU!! Maybe I’m wrong, but we still won’t be picking high enough to get him so it doesn’t matter either way!! But in the end, I’m still more in favor of drafting a CB with our first pick than anything!!

  2. Sewell sure. He’s a franchise LT in the making and Tron’s body is failing him. But the thought we’d take ANOTHER WR in the 1st is just silly.

    • Trust me when I say, it’s a conversation they’ll have. It might be a short conversation, but it’s one they’ll discuss, especially considering Cooper’s cap number.

      Not saying they’ll do it, and I don’t even think they should do it, but it’s definitely a possibility.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Agree if not the two top QBs then go defense 1st rd unless we get a chance at Penei Sewell then u gotta consider him a generational LT that can have a dramatic impact on this team in many ways. Otherside Micah Parsons would be my first choice on D a beastly LB who could also be used as an edge rusher, and all around game wrecker. We also need a stud DE as it’s likely we lose A Smith and beyond that we have a lot of young guys who we’re hoping evolve and can provide that all important pass rush. CB is also a big need and that won’t improve with most of ours being FAs. Those four positions I would consider with the 1st rd pick and chip away at those with the descending picks.

    DT and safety also need to be addressed, as these positions have been neglected for too long. Obviously who we pick depends on our draft position and how the draft board falls as we move along. We have several position needs and thus should be able to avoid the dreaded “draft for need ” just go get the best player available for the positions to be filled.

  4. No way could I consider a WR here in the 1st. Fields or Sewell would definitely be in my consideration as the only offensive players I’d take in the top 5. Other than that, I’d be looking at corner (Surtain or Farley) or Rousseau if the Cowboys are leaning edge.

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