We have officially closed the book on the 2020 Dallas Cowboys and that means the journey to Super Bowl LVI for America’s Team has officially begun. Who this team is in 2021 is going to be utterly fascinating, especially as they are coming off of a season filled with tons of disappointment and players lost to injury.
This organization entered the season with one of the league’s better draft classes and we saw players like CeeDee Lamb, Trevon Diggs, Tyler Biadasz, and Neville Gallimore live up to that hype. Dallas will be picking higher than they have since 2016 in 2021, they hold the 10th overall pick, and it is going to be essential for them to land some help, likely for their awful defense.
Of course, there are a number of ways that the Cowboys can go and two of the internet’s latest mock drafts have the team addressing opposite sides of the ball.
Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley and Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater are both names to know for the Cowboys
At the end of November the incomparable Dane Brugler released his first mock draft and had the Cowboys taking Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley. Landing a top cornerback from the class would go a long way at helping the defense and would theoretically be someone who could play opposite of Trevon Diggs for years to come.
SB Nation released a mock on Monday and also had Dallas landing Farley. For what it’s worth, Brugler had the Cowboys taking him at number four overall (again, this was the end of November) while this mock has him going to Dallas at the first of double-digit picks.
Dallas wasn’t bad against the pass, in fact, far from it — but this is a need meets BPA pick that can’t be ignored. The Cowboys are facing massive turnover in their secondary this offseason, and are in dire need of help. That help comes in the form of the best defensive back taken.
Caleb Farley has speed, strength, excellent football IQ and an ability to make plays. Virginia Tech were confident enough to give him little help, and still he excelled. The NFC East will be a mess for a while, but Farley is a difference maker who could turn the tide.
It remains to be seen just what is going to happen with veterans Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis (both of whom are on expiring rookie contracts). Maybe the Cowboys will bring one back on a one-year deal of sorts to give them more bodies in the back end, and they do still have Anthony Brown to fill that need.
Picking 10th overall doesn’t bring with it the exact same set of options that a top five pick holds, but there are still going to be different paths for the Cowboys to take. Generally speaking, it makes sense for them to go defense with their selection, but what if the board doesn’t fall that way?
Bleacher Report released a mock of their own on Monday and had the Cowboys addressing the other side of the ball. With big-time question marks hovering around Tyron Smith and La’el Collins, it certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea to address the offensive line. B/R has Dallas taking Northwestern tackle Rashawn Slater.
Some pundits believe Rashawn Slater of Northwestern might just be the top prospect at his position in the 2021 class. He isn’t a big tackle at just 6’3” and 305 pounds. But he plays bigger than his size thanks to excellent technique and a good old-fashioned mean streak.
Slater could help Dallas in more than one way. If Tyron Smith is able to return to form after an injury-marred 2020 campaign, the incoming rookie could kick to the right side or move inside. But if Smith’s best days are behind him, then Slater would offer a plan of succession on Dak Prescott’s blind side.
It’s hard to imagine the Cowboys “kicking” Slater out to the right side since they will theoretically have La’el Collins back in 2021 as well. Still, though, the future of the tackle position as a whole is obviously in flux so getting options before they are dramatically needed would not be a bad idea.
These are just two ways that the Cowboys could utilize the 10th overall pick. Would either one of them make you happy? Or do you want to see something else entirely?