Now that we're in March and Pro Days are starting to happen across the country, more and more information will come out that will help the draft world further solidify their player rankings, big boards, and mock drafts. As we inch closer to the end of April and the first round of the NFL Draft, things should become clearer.
Even without the benefit of Pro Days or the NFL Scouting Combine, it appears the draft community has settled in at one position for the Dallas Cowboys; cornerback. Though there are a couple of stray mock drafts that took an offensive player at 10 for the Cowboys, most seem to think that Jerry Jones and company will go with one of the top two cornerbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Patrick Surtain, Cornerback, Alabama
Mel Kiper, the head honcho at ESPN went with Cornerback Patrick Surtain at 10 for the Dallas Cowboys in his most recent mock draft. With Caleb Farley and Jaycee Horn still on the board, Kiper went with the Alabama product.
“I was down to offensive line or cornerback for Dallas, and with Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis likely to leave in free agency, I see corner as the bigger need. The Cowboys were terrible on defense last season, and new coordinator Dan Quinn has a ways to go to turn it around. Surtain on one side with former Alabama teammate Trevon Diggs on the other is a great way to start. The Dak Prescott decision looms large on the Cowboys' offseason, but I expect him to get franchise tagged or sign a long-term deal.”
Mel Kiper, ESPN
Charlie Casserly of NFL.com also went with Surtain to the Cowboys. The difference here is that Farley is off the board one pick ahead of the Cowboys.
“Dallas has plenty of defensive needs, and Surtain gives Dan Quinn's unit another good young cornerback to pair with Trevon Diggs.”
Charlie Casserly, NFL.com
Josh Edwards of CBS.com joins the fray of NFL Draft analysts in love with the pairing of Surtain and the Dallas Cowboys. Edwards also projects Surtain to be the top cornerback off the board.
“The son of the 11-year veteran joins a Dallas team in desperate need of some immediate impact performers. A few high-priced players on the roster have not lived up to their end of the bargain.”
Josh Edwards, CBS.com
Caleb Farley, Cornerback, Virginia Tech
Finally, we have some variation in the mock drafts as Austin Gayle of Pro Football Focus sends the Dallas Cowboys Caleb Farley from Virginia Tech. In this mock draft, Farley was the first cornerback off the board.
“Currently PFF’s top-ranked cornerback and No. 14 overall player in the 2021 class, Farley is a fluid athlete with all the tools necessary to dominate at outside cornerback in the NFL. Before opting out of the 2020 season and declaring for the draft, the 6-foot-2, 207-pound Farley earned a 90.5 PFF coverage grade that ranked third among Power 5 cornerbacks in 2019.”
Austin Gayle, Pro Football Focus
Doug Farrar of The Touchdown Wire also had the Cowboys taking Farley at 10, however, he was the second cornerback off the board in his mock draft.
“In 2019, Farley was a pain to target no matter the range of the throw — he gave up eight receptions on 12 targets of 0-9 air yards, one completion on 12 targets of 10-19 air yards, and four completions on 15 targets of 20 or more air yards. All told through two seasons, Farley allowed 50 catches on 104 targets for 720 yards, 244 yards after the catch, five touchdowns (four in 2018), six interceptions (four in 2019) and an opponent passer rating of 63.0. Farley is primed to succeed in the NFL right away, and goodness knows the Cowboys could use that.”
Doug Farrar, The Touchdown Wire
Kyle Pitts, Tight End, Florida
As far as luxury picks go in the 2021 NFL Draft for the Cowboys, there's none bigger than Florida Tight End Kyle Pitts. With Dalton Schultz emerging as a legitimate starter at tight end in 2020 and Blake Jarwin returning from injury, the Cowboys appear set at the position. That's not to say it wouldn't be a lot of fun watching Pitts in Kellen Moore's vertical-based passing scheme.
In this mock draft from the Sporting News' Vinnie Iyer, Farley goes one spot ahead of the Cowboys to the Denver Broncos while Surtain goes number 12 to the San Francisco 49ers.
“The Cowboys could use some cornerback help, too, but this curveball of going for another an offensive skill luxury pick can't be ruled out for Jerry Jones in “best player availablle” mode. Dallas figures to lock up Dak Prescott and has fine weapons for him in Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and 2020 first-rounder CeeDee Lamb. But as much as Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz have flashed, neither is a matchup nightmare tight end. The Cowboys need someone as impactful as prime Jason Witten, and Pitts, a wide receiver hybrid, would be ideal. He posted 770 yards and 12 TDs on only 43 catches, a rare field-stretcher for the position as well as a dominant red zone force.”
Vinnie Iyer, The Sporting News
Rashawn Slater, Offensive Tackle, Northwestern
Another mock draft and another first-round pick going to the offensive side of the football. While the expectation is Tyron Smith and La'el Collins will be back in action for the Cowboys this fall, there's nothing wrong with grabbing a top talent at tackle, who can also play guard. Slater is one of the safest picks in the draft because of his ability and position flexibility. If the cornerback or cornerbacks that the Cowboys like are off the board, this is the player that makes the most sense to me if the Cowboys don't like the value they're being offered in a trade-back scenario.
“For years the Cowboys’ offensive line has been the best in football, but due to age and injuries, the unit greatly underperformed in 2020 and was a large reason why this team struggled to move the football. Tyron Smith is getting up there in age and missed most of the year with injury. Zack Martin missed time with injury too and La’el Collins missed the whole season. It’s time for the Cowboys to inject some youth to this offensive line, and Slater would be an excellent option. Slater is a versatile player who could start at either tackle or guard for the Cowboys.”
Brentley Weissman, The Draft Network