There is only one game left to be played this NFL season; the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs meet in Super Bowl LV. Being that time of year means that for most teams in the NFL it is mock draft season.
Yes, 30 teams are working on figuring out how they can be the ones playing in February of 2022. We are all obviously hopeful that the Cowboys can top all other teams in the NFC, but there is a lot of work to be done before any of that is settled.
One of the biggest points of emphasis for the Cowboys in the coming months is going to be the 2021 NFL Draft. Dallas owns a top 10 pick, just barely, and will need to spend it wisely if they want to get back into contention.
Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft has the Cowboys taking Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater
In considering where the Cowboys need help, there are a number of directions that the conversation can turn. Defense screams as an area where resources are needed, but the once sturdy and always-elite offensive line has seen the wear of time take its toll.
The Cowboys played most of this past season without tackles Tyron Smith and La’el Collins. It is the expectation that they will be back in 2021, but what is simply “being back” worth? Smith has dealt with injuries for the last few years and there is no telling what Collins’ status is going to be with a year out of the game. There is an argument to be made for the Cowboys to invest in legitimate talent along the offensive line, and that’s what Mel Kiper has them doing in his latest mock draft.
10. Dallas Cowboys
Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern
Heading into the 2020 season, the Cowboys’ offensive line looked solid on paper, and that was after center Travis Frederick retired in March. But then injuries hit: Right tackle La’el Collins missed every game, left tackle Tyron Smith played just two and guard Zack Martin missed six. And what you saw was a poor Cowboys offense, even before quarterback Dak Prescott was lost for the season due to his ankle injury. That’s why I think Slater fits in Dallas, where he could play either tackle spot or move inside to guard. Todd McShay thinks Slater could excel at center, too. He was another prospect who opted out, but he didn’t allow a single sack playing left tackle in 2019. This is a spot to watch for Surtain as well because Chidobe Awuzie could leave in free agency.
While nothing will rival the pizazz that the CeeDee Lamb selection brought a year ago, this could be a wise move on the Cowboys part, especially if they are going to lock down Dak Prescott long term like most hope is the case.
Kiper notes that this is a spot where Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II could go, someone whom his ESPN colleague Todd McShay mocked to the Cowboys three weeks ago. As the secondary is a point of the team that is in need of work as well, it also makes sense.
Mel Kiper has the rest of the NFC East going with offensive playmakers
There are a lot of questions about what the NFC East is going to look like in 2021 what with the Philadelphia Eagles changing head coaches, seemingly in the name of fixing Carson Wentz, and if the Washington Football Team can get a legitimate quarterback then they would be in a strong position to repeat as division winners. When early odds come out the Cowboys will likely be the favorite, with an assumed Dak Prescott return, but the other three units are also going to be beefing up their teams.
Dallas will pick second of the four NFC East teams as the Philadelphia Eagles managed to be worse than them last season. Kiper has all three of the Cowboys’ rivals loading up with offensive playmakers which might push the argument for Dallas fans to the defensive side of the ball.
- Philadelphia Eagles, 6th overall: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
- New York Giants, 11th overall: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
- Washington Football Team, 19th overall: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Does the Rashawn Slater pick seem like one that you could get on board with? Hypothetically speaking, if the other three division picks went the way the mock suggests, would you rather have Surtain?