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The Athletic’s seven-round mock draft is all about defensive help early on for the Dallas Cowboys

It’s not news that many expect the Cowboys to work on their defense at the draft.

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys enter the 2021 NFL Draft with 10 overall selections. It may not come to pass that that they will pick that many times, but it is certainly not bad for them to have the picks.

We could see the Cowboys trade up a couple of times come draft weekend (like two of our analysts did in the latest mock draft on the Blogging The Boys YouTube channel) considering how in need they are of top-tier talent in many places. Plenty of fans want to see the defense be addressed in a serious way and the NFL draft is certainly a good resource. This whole idea is the bedrock of the discourse between those that are for taking Kyle Pitts (should he fall to number 10 overall) and those who are against it.

The Athletic’s seven-round mock draft is all about defensive help for the Dallas Cowboys

With just about two weeks until each team has their entire 2021 NFL Draft class, projections are coming together in different ways. The Athletic released an entire mock draft (as in literally every pick) on Wednesday done by the great Dane Brugler. Considering Brugler is one of the best draft analysts in the business it is obviously worth paying attention to.

Of the 10 picks made for the Cowboys, the early focus is on defense.

1, 10: Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama

2, 44: Jevon Holland, DS, Oregon

3, 75: Marlon Tuipulotu, DT, USC

3, 99: D’Ante Smith, OT, East Carolina

4, 115: Chauncey Golston, edge, Iowa

4, 138: Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama

5, 179: Trevon Grimes, WR, Florida

6, 192: John Bates, TE, Boise State

6, 227: William Sherman, OG/C, Colorado

7, 238: Kene Nwangwu, RB, Iowa State

Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II is the first-round pick for Dallas and that is a really popular idea these days which won’t be met with much criticism.

NFL.com recently did a mock for the first two rounds where they gave the Cowboys Michigan tackle Jalen Mayfield in the second round. Our own Dave Halprin noted that someone like safety Jevon Holland could have made more sense for Dallas which is what Brugler has the Cowboys doing. For what it’s worth, Dan Quinn personally attended Holland’s pro day which means the defensive coordinator got a first-hand glimpse of him.

The third round has the Cowboys taking a defensive tackle for the second year in a row. While it is possible that the organization sees what is possible with a Gerald McCoy return, the reality is that they still need to keep addressing the middle of their line. Marlin Tuipuloto helps accomplish that.

In case you want a refresher, we do have a scouting report written up on Tuipuloto here at BTB. Here is what our own David Howman had to say about him generally.

The story of Marlon Tuipulotu so far is one of continued growth and progression. In high school, Tuipulotu was a standout pass rusher and also won a state championship as a wrestler before earning a scholarship to USC, where many other great interior defensive linemen have played before. Tuipulotu joined up with fellow defensive tackle Jay Tufele, also in this draft class, to give Trojans fans something to get really excited about.

It is hard to find any qualms about addressing the team’s secondary and defensive tackle in the first three rounds. Brugler has the offense first being addressed in the fourth round with East Carolina tackle D’Ante Smith. Here is the blurb that he offered.

The Cowboys need to prepare for life after Tyron Smith, and D’Ante Smith could be a worthy successor. The East Carolina left tackle boasts the light feet and long arms that coaches covet in a developmental prospect.

Taking care of tackle concerns is certainly a priority for the team in the near future. Fourth-round picks aren’t exactly stone cold locks to become franchise cornerstones, but there is still sand left in the hourglass there for the Cowboys so they can afford time to develop players.