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Breaking down 3 Cowboys 2021 mock draft scenarios

Mock draft season is in full swing.

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NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to believe we are just 43 days away from the 2021 NFL Draft. The offseason is in full swing, and Wednesday kicks off the beginning of the 2021 league year. Things are moving fast, and before we know it the Cowboys will be on the clock on April 29th.

But before we get to that moment, there’s still plenty to discuss. Today, we take a look at some draft scenarios and see which would be the most beneficial for the Cowboys. For the purpose of this exercise, we conducted three mocks on three different platforms (The Draft Network, Pro Football Network, Pro Football Focus).

The mocks contain three different scenarios of what the Cowboys potentially could look to do in April. The first was sticking and picking a defender at pick 10. The second was trading down in the first round and acquiring another second-round pick, and the third and final scenario was staying at pick 10 and selecting an offensive player, which in my opinion is the most exciting option, but probably the unlikeliest. An effort was made not to duplicate any players so every mock could provide something different.

So, without further ado, let’s break down some mock drafts.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Ohio State vs Alabama Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Draft Option #1 (Stick and pick defense)

Draft 1 (The Draft Network)
Draft 1 (The Draft Network)
Round 1 (Pick 10) CB, Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
Round 2 (Pick 44) IDL, Levi Onwuzurike, Washington
Round 3 (Pick 75) EDGE, Carlos Basham Jr., Wake Forest
Round 3 (Pick 99) OT, D'Ante Smith, East Carolina
Round 4 (Pick 115) CB, Olaijah Griffin, USC
Round 4 (Pick 139) LB, Tony Fields II, West Virgnia
Round 5 (Pick 179) S, Tyree Gillespie, Missouri
Round 6 (Pick 191) WR, Josh Imatorbhebhe, Illinois
Round 6 (Pick 227) EDGE, Joshua Kaindoh, Florida State
Round 7 (Pick 236) CB, Bryan Mills, North Carolina Central
The Draft Network

Analysis: Right off the bat, if either Patrick Surtain II or Caleb Farley is available at pick 10, there’s a pretty good chance the Cowboys will pick one of them. In our stick and pick defense mock, it just so happened that Farley was off the board to Denver, but Surtain was still sitting there for the picking. The Alabama corner would be a huge upgrade to the Cowboys’ secondary, and could instantly slide in as a starting outside corner opposite his former teammate, Trevon Diggs. Here’s what our very own Connor Livesay had to say about Surtain in his scouting report.

From a press-man coverage perspective, it’s tough to find a better option than Patrick Surtain II. Possessing excellent length, coverage skills, and football IQ, Surtain II was born and raised by his father to be a cover-cornerback and that’s exactly what he is. Surtain’s biggest concerns come with the lack of ideal athleticism and long-speed for the position, putting his ability to cover the smaller, shiftier receivers in question. Even with those questions, Surtain’s length, technique, and physicality make up for a lot of the issues regarding his overall athleticism. Surtain II is a great fit in Dan Quinn’s system due to his size, length, and ability to excel as a man-cover corner, but will need to develop in zone and off-man reps in order to max out his potential.

After selecting Surtain at 10, we opened ourselves up to go in a variety of different directions at 44. This was to be a defense-heavy top of the draft, so we went with defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike out of Washington. After that, we added another talent to the defensive line in Carlos Basham Jr. out of Wake Forrest, followed by getting an offensive tackle of the future in D’Ante Smith from ECU. Rounding out the draft are some more defensive players, and a developmental receiver, Josh Imatorbhebhe.

Draft Review: If the Cowboys came away with three impact defenders in their first three picks, they would be thrilled. Surtain, Onwuzurike, and Basham all could fill immediate roles in the defense in year one. This draft also would allow them to walk away with a possible Tyron Smith replacement, a Damien Wilson-like replacement at linebacker, and two young developmental corners.

NCAA Football: Old Dominion at Virginia Tech Lee Luther Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Draft Option #2 (Trade Down)

Draft #2 (Pro Football Network)
Draft #2 (Pro Football Network)
Round 1 (Pick 18) OT, Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech
Round 2 (Pick 44) CB, Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State
Round 2 (Pick 50) IDL, Alim McNeill, North Carolina State
Round 3 (Pick 75) LB, Cameron McGrone, Michigan
Round 3 (Pick 99) EDGE, Payton Turner, Houston
Round 4 (Pick 115) S, James Wiggins,Cincinnati
Round 4 (Pick 139) CB, Kary Vincent Jr., LSU
Round 5 (Pick 179) LB, Derrick Barnes, Purdue
Round 6 (Pick 191) WR, Anthony Schwartz, Auburn
Round 6 (Pick 227) EDGE, Jonathan Cooper, Ohio State
Round 7 (Pick 236) DT, Mustafa Johnson, Colorado
Draft Option #2 Pro Football Network

Analysis: This draft really showed the kind of risk you take when you trade down. We traded away from pick 10, sending the selection to the Miami Dolphins in return for picks 18 and 50. Granted, we were able to net another second-round selection that nabbed us 1-technique Alim McNeill, but sliding down to 18 left us a little stuck in the first round. Offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw was one of the few players left on the board that fit, and ultimately we went with him over Georgia edge, Azeez Ojulari. Here’s what The Draft Network had to say about the tackle.

Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw earned the opportunity to start for the Hokies as a true freshman and did nothing but improve for three seasons, developing into a dominant blocker in 2020. From a size, length, and mobility standpoint, Darrisaw firmly checks the boxes and should immediately become an asset to an NFL franchise in pass protection, outside zone runs, and utilizing his exceptional ability to pull and connect with moving targets in space. Like most young offensive linemen, Darrisaw has room to add functional strength to improve his overall power at the point of attack, but it’s far from a deficiency that is of major concern. The amount of technical growth Darrisaw has demonstrated throughout the course of his career is exciting when considering his starting point for the next level and how he peaked at the perfect time. It shouldn’t take long for Darrisaw to earn a starting role in the NFL and he has the upside to become a standout, franchise left tackle.

One very positive thing about this draft was the selection of Asante Samuel Jr. at pick 44. If the Cowboys were to go offense or defensive line in round one, they absolutely need a cornerback like Samuel to slide to 44. Throughout the draft, we added some more defensive help in linebacker Cameron McGrone, EDGE Payton Turner, safety James Wiggins, and cornerback Kary Vincent Jr.

Draft Review: This is, by far, my least favorite draft of the three. This draft perfectly represents the predicament the Cowboys could find themselves in if they trade down. Sure, we don't know how Dallas feels about someone like Christian Darrisaw, but is it worth walking away from a plug-and-play player to pick up another second-round pick?

If The Cowboys could get lucky, Jaycee Horn could still be available in a potential trade down, but there’s a real chance they could get stuck as happened in this draft. It’s not a knock on Darrisaw as a player, but if you’re taking a tackle in round one it should be Slater or Sewell.

NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Alabama at Florida Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Draft Option #3 (Stick and pick offense)

Draft #3 (Pro Football Focus)
Draft #3 (Pro Football Focus)
Round 1 (Pick 10) TE, Kyle Pitts, Florida
Round 2 (Pick 44) CB, Greg Newsome II, Northwestern
Round 3 (Pick 75) IDL, Marlon Tuipulotu, USC
Round 3 (Pick 99) LB, Pete Werner, Ohio State
Round 4 (Pick 115) CB, Paulson Adebo, Stanford
Round 4 (Pick 139) OT, Brady Christensen, BYU
Round 5 (Pick 179) EDGE, Daelin Hayes, Notre Dame
Round 6 (Pick 191) S, Tre Norwood, Oklahoma
Round 6 (Pick 227) EDGE, William Bradley-King, Baylor
Round 7 (Pick 236) RB, Brian Robinson Jr., Alabama
PFF Draft Simulator Pro Football Focus

Analysis: Now, let’s party. While there’s likely a decent chance he’s gone before their pick, Florida tight end Kyle Pitts may be the most exciting prospect Dallas could take at pick 10. In this mock, we went ahead and did just that, adding another weapon to the already loaded Cowboys offense. While Pitts is a super fun pick, the selection that made me fall in love with this draft is Northwestern corner Greg Newsome II falling to 44. The long, playmaking corner could be a perfect fit in Dan Quinn’s scheme, and the Cowboys should run to the podium if they don’t go corner in round one and he’s there at 44. Here’s what The Draft Network had to say about the cornerback.

Greg Newsome II is an exciting cornerback prospect who will offer an NFL franchise plenty of appeal as a potential starter on the perimeter. Newsome II has showcased strong ball skills and length to pair with high-end levels of flexibility and functional athleticism—that’s a blend that is going to get Newsome II drafted sooner rather than later. This young cornerback prospect did miss a golden showcase opportunity against Ohio State in the 2020 Big Ten Championship Game to put an exclamation point on his resume, but nevertheless, this is a prospect who saved his best football for last. Newsome II is instinctual and offers suddenness in split decisions in coverage; frequently driving to the target and attacking the football in the air. He brings the right kind of attitude to perimeter play both in collision routes and in run support and tackling at the line of scrimmage, but his aggressive angles will need a little work to ensure he’s secured tackles at the catch point before attempting to attack the football and undercut throws. Durability will be a big missing link for those on the outside—Newsome II is yet to play a full season of college ball. Now, he’ll look to sell a pro team that he can play 16 games (or more) in a year. If he can, this is a very gifted player.

After Newsome, we continued to buff up the defense by taking three straight defenders, Marlon Tuipuloto, Pete Werner, and Paulson Adebo. We even found a potential tackle/guard project in Brady Christensen, and a couple of defensive projects in EDGE Daelin Hayes and safety Tre Norwood.

Draft Review: While the chances of the Cowboys selecting Kyle Pitts at pick 10 are likely pretty low, this was my favorite draft of the three. Sometimes your best defense is a good offense. With Pitts in the mix, it would be hard to find a more talented offense in the NFL than the Cowboys. Even with taking an offensive player at 10, we still got a plug-and-play starter at corner, and defensive linemen and linebacker who could see lots of playing time in year one.

Which mock do you like the most? Vote on the poll below and let us know why in the comments section!

Poll

Which mock draft do you like most?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    #1 (Stick and pick defense)
    (2341 votes)
  • 8%
    #2 (Trade down)
    (379 votes)
  • 36%
    #3 (Stick and pick offense)
    (1546 votes)
4266 votes total Vote Now