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Cowboys draft watch: Rooting guide for Week 11 games to earn the highest possible draft pick

This one’s for Team Tank.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

There are still seven games remaining on the season for the Dallas Cowboys, but despite a division that is winnable to say the very least, a number of people are ready to pack it up and prepare for 2021.

Not everybody is an equal fan of tanking for a higher draft pick. Obviously it is easy to say that the Cowboys should lose in the name of establishing the best possible pick, but the practicality of that is hardly a simple thing. The team wants to win as much as possible for their own motivations and it is hard to expect them to suppress them just because you, me, or whoever else, consider this season to be a bit of a lost cause.

This is why you often hear the term “organic tanking”. People want to see the Cowboys play their younger players and try things that are not necessarily unconventional but carry with them a greater risk of failure in the name of experimentation and data collection. Being a bit more risky maximizes the possibility of losing which lends to the idea of organic tanking.

Perhaps you don’t want to tank and want the cap and t-shirt that accompany an NFC East title. This isn’t for you, but if these things happen it’s safe to say that you won’t be too disappointed.

Here is what you need to root for in Week 11 in order for the Cowboys to have the best possible 2021 draft position

As things stand in the aftermath of Week 10 the Dallas Cowboys hold the fourth overall pick (this season really is like 2015 in a lot of senses). You can view the entire current order at Tankathon and if you do you will see that the New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Washington Football Team are the squads in front of Dallas.

It goes without saying that we want the teams near the Cowboys to all win so that their draft position can be worsened. It is technically possible to dramatically see the team’s chances of a solid choice and their odds of winning the NFC East both increase in Week 11. Maybe we are that lucky.

The only crossover in this Venn diagram of sorts is the aforementioned Washington Football Team. They will be hosting the Cincinnati Bengals this week before traveling to take on the Cowboys next week on Thanksgiving Day, so depending on your preference you can view a win or loss from them as a good thing.

You’ll note that we are rooting against the Los Angeles Chargers and, again, we are currently prioritizing draft position in this conversation, the Cincinnati Bengals this week. The Chargers and Bengals currently have the fifth and seventh, respectively, picks in the draft, but as they are sitting behind the Cowboys it would be alright to sacrifice losses for them in the here and now in the name of giving teams in front of the Cowboys a win.

Ideally the Cowboys will either be in position to draft the best available non-quarterback or trade out for a team that wants one of the signal-callers to be the face of their franchise. One option that many are likely a fan of for Dallas wherever they pick is Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell. A recent mock from The Draft Network had him winding up with a star on his helmet.

We made reference to 2015 earlier, it was that season that saw the Cowboys earn their highest pick in recent memory as the landed the fourth overall selection and used it on Ezekiel Elliott. The battle between those who think that running backs do and don’t matter might be more hearty than the one among those for and against tanking, but needless to say the Cowboys don’t need a ball-carrier with a top five pick in 2021.

Of course, a tackle might not be the best utilization of such a premium resource, especially if Tyron Smith and La’el Collins are both back and in full health next season. Dallas has seemingly found something in Brandon Knight and the experience that Terence Steele is picking up this season will hopefully help his improvement in the future. That is obviously a bit longer of a shot than anything else.