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Todd McShay mock draft 3.0: Cowboys get the first defensive player taken in the draft

This would be pretty ideal for the Cowboys if it happened.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Imagine the perfect scenario for the Dallas Cowboys in the 2021 draft. Besides a super talent like offensive tackle Penei Sewell falling to them, it would probably involve the team having their pick of the best defensive talent the draft has to offer. Everyone knows the Cowboys need an injection of talent on that side of the ball and the draft is certainly one way to get it.

In the latest mock draft from ESPN and Todd McShay, the Cowboys go on the clock with every defensive player still available. That’s right. McShay’s mock works out in a way that nine straight offensive players come off the board before the Cowboys are ready to pick. And it’s not just some crazy concocted fantasy to satisfy Cowboys fans, there is a measure of reality to the mock.

He has five quarterbacks going in the top nine picks (two courtesy of trades), then Penei Sewell, Kyle Pitts, Ja’Marr Chase and DeVonta Smith also come off the board. It’s not that unrealistic to see something like that happen.

And if it does, the Cowboys get their pick of any defensive player they want. In this case, McShay has them taking cornerback Patrick Surtain.

10. Dallas Cowboys

Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

All this jockeying for QB talent has left Dallas in a pretty great spot. The latest that a draft class’ first defensive player has ever come off the board was No. 7 in 1999, when Champ Bailey went to Washington. But the Cowboys are even luckier here; they need defense, and they have every option on that side of the ball available to them at No. 10. Surtain is an instinctive shutdown cornerback who can help shore up a secondary that allowed 10.4 yards before first contact per reception last season, along with 34 passing touchdowns (both among the NFL’s worst). Pass rush is another area to watch, but value and need line up with Surtain.

Todd Archer on his fit with the Cowboys: Cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis are set to hit free agency and might see better offers elsewhere. Surtain would walk in as a day one starter, just like former Alabama teammate Trevon Diggs did when he was the Cowboys’ second-round pick last year.

Surtain, or Caleb Farley depending on who you prefer, makes so much sense for the Cowboys at this pick. Free agency could alter that depending on what the Cowboys do there, but in all likelihood taking a top corner at what will be a position of need should be a perfect fit. Using a top pick like this on a premier position, and to get the top talent on your board at the position is how you are supposed to draft. In this case McShay thinks Surtain is that top talent, but it could also be Farley. The Cowboys would be able to build a defense around the corner tandem of Diggs and Surtain.

In this mock, Caleb Farley goes 12th, Rashawn Slater goes 13th, Kwity Paye goes 14th and Micah Parson comes in at 15th.