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Seven-round Cowboys mock draft: Dallas double-dips on defense in round two

We cook up a seven-round mock draft for the Cowboys.

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New Mexico State v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Less than a week out from the 2021 NFL Draft and we’re back with another Cowboys seven-round mock draft. Defense dominates this mock, as we make a surprise move back into the second round for a talented defensive prospect.

For this mock draft, we used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator. Without further ado, let’s check out this mock draft.

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Round 1, Pick 10: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

If Patrick Surtain II is on the board when the Cowboys get on the clock, he would likely be the pick. The decision here came down to Surtain and South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn, but with Surtain the safer pick, he is ultimately the guy who the Cowboys select.

The 21-year-old was extremely productive during his three years at Alabama and could come in and start opposite his former teammate Trevon Diggs from day one. Surtain has good size and length, 6’1, 203 lbs, and would be a great fit in defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s defensive scheme.

Here’s what our own Connor Livesay had to say about Surtain in his player profile.

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.

Ohio State v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Round 2, Pick 44: Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State

After addressing our most pressing need in round one, we were able to go in a variety of different directions in round two. When we got on the board at 44, most of our defensive targets had been recently selected. Safety Trevon Moehrig went to Jacksonville at pick 33, EDGE Joe Tyron went to Miami at pick 36, and defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike went to the Lions at pick 41.

Our remaining options were Notre Dame offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg, Ohio State linebacker Baron Browning, or Penn State edge-rusher Jayson Oweh. After an impressive Pro Day, it was surprising to see Oweh still on the board. His pure talent and potential were just too good to pass up, so we went ahead and made him the pick at 44.

Oweh is the definition of a freak athlete. At 6-5, 257 pounds, he ran a 4.36 40-yard dash at Penn State’s Pro Day. Oweh also recorded a 39.5-inch vertical jump and a broad jump of 11’ 2”. His arms came in at 34.5 inches, showing off his impressive length.

Here’s what’s Lance Zierlein had to say about Oweh.

Prototypical NFL build and some of the most exciting traits and explosiveness of any edge defender in this draft. Those features can’t be taught but they can be coached up, so any concerns about his lack of polish at this stage should be tempered. He has dominant potential as a run defender with burst and range to upend back-side and play-side runs, turning them into short gains or losses. While he figures to stack up stats with sheer athleticism, he does lack eye discipline and feel for blocking schemes, which tends to derail his momentum at times. He’s slow getting off the snap, which dulls the early advantage he should be able to generate with his wicked get-off as a rusher. At this point, the hand usage and overall rush plan are lacking, but he has the feet for inside counters, the power to pull rush and the bend to dip and run the rush arc with fury. It’s not all there yet, but with more coaching and experience, Oweh has the ability to rate as a Pro Bowl rush linebacker with the ability to stick a hand in the ground if you need it.

There’s no question about Oweh’s physical ability, the concerns come from his production, or lack therefore of, in college. In 20 games at Penn State, Oweh recorded just 7.0 sacks, none of which came during his final collegiate season in 2020. Oweh did have 6.5 tackles for loss last season, but when you are taking a pass-rusher in the top 50 you want sack production. Now you can’t define a player's impact by their sack number, see DeMarcus Lawrence, and Oweh still was a solid run defender in 2020.

Selecting Oweh at 44 is an investment pick. With Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence in the fold, pass-rusher isn’t an astounding need for the Cowboys, but they certainly could use a quality third rusher. Gregory also becomes an unrestricted free agent at seasons’ end, making it more important Dallas brings in a young pass-rusher to potentially replace him.

He may not make a huge impact in year one, but Oweh has a chance to be a quality pass-rusher if the Cowboys can develop him.

TRADE: Dallas Cowboys send picks 3-75, 4-138 (80 points), and a 2022 fourth-round pick to New Orleans Saints for pick 2-60 (88 points)

Oregon v Auburn Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Round 2, Pick 60: Jevon Holland, S, Oregon

As the second-round continued on, Oregon safety Jevon Holland kept slipping. Once he got to around pick 55, the Cowboys make a move up and get him. The Saints at pick 60 seemed like a perfect trade partner, knowing they need cheap, affordable players, they could be interested in acquiring more picks. Turns out they were, and we sent 3-75, 4-138, and a 2022 fourth-rounder to move back into the second round.

No one else was even in question here as the trade was all about moving up for Holland. The great Dane Brugler of The Athletic had Dallas selecting Holland at pick 44 in his final seven-round mock draft. It’s unlikely he will last until pick 60, but he did in this mock, making it a no-brainer to go up and get him.

Here’s what our own David Howman had to say about Holland in his scouting report.

Playmaking Ability: Nine interceptions in 27 games, half of which he didn’t even start. Holland has some easily identifiable ball skills and he’s got very soft hands that secure the ball with consistency. Part of this is due to how fluid his hips are when it comes to flipping back around and locating the ball, but it also speaks to his instincts in coverage and pure athleticism.

Athleticism: Holland is just an incredible athlete and it’s evident on the field. He ran a 4.46 40-yard dash at his Pro Day, and honestly that seems a bit high for him. He moves so swiftly wherever he is. When playing back deep, whether as a single high or a split safety, he makes up so much ground in such a quick amount of time. When he comes up in the slot, Holland doesn’t surrender any ground to receivers and is able to stick with them throughout the route. He’s a smooth operator at all levels of the field.

Holland would be the ball-hawking safety the Cowboys have coveted for years, and would be a perfect fit in Dan Quinn’s defensive scheme.

Indiana v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Round 3, Pick 99: Tommy Togiai, DT, Ohio State

After trading away pick 75, we had to wait a while to get back on the clock. However, when we did, Ohio State defensive tackle Tommy Togiai was still on the board. The Cowboys have shown a clear interest in Togiai, Mike McCarthy and Dan Quinn both went to Columbus for Ohio State’s Pro Day, so we went ahead and made him the pick.

Togiai would be another solid addition to the defensive line and would help beef up the run defense that was the Cowboys’ Achilles heel last season. Here’s what John Owning of the Dallas Morning News had to say about Togiai.

Sure, his 40 reps on the bench press received most of the attention, but his performances in the short-shuttle (4.49 seconds unofficial) and three-cone drill (7.2 seconds unofficial) were even more impressive for a 296-pounder. The best part is those numbers show up on tape, as Togiai displays impressive power to go with great movement skills for his size.

Right now, Togiai’s biggest critique is his lack of length (31 3/4-inch arms), which shows up when he struggles to shed as longer-armed blockers are latched onto his frame. In addition, Togiai is still in the earlier stages of his development as a pass-rusher. He’ll flash a nice two-hand swipe or arm-over move that gives you confidence he can improve, but he lacks the footwork and pass-rush plan to implement them successfully.

Even though the Cowboys signed Brett Urban and Carlos Watkins, the interior defensive line is still a major need that needs to be addressed (maybe multiple times) in the 2021 NFL Draft. If the Cowboys don’t grab one in Round 1 or 2, then Togiai would be a great option in Rounds 3 or 4.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 30 Senior Bowl Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Round 4, Pick 115: Robert Hainsey, OT/G, Notre Dame

After going defense with our first four picks, it was time to mix things up in the fourth round. This seemed like the perfect spot to select a developmental offensive linemen, and it came down to Notre Dame’s Robert Hainsey or Stanford’s Walker Little. the pick was Hainsey for two reasons.

One, Cowboys offensive line coach Joe Philbin was in attendance for the Notre Dame Pro Day, so he may be more on Dallas’ radar, and two, Hainsey has the ability to slide inside and play some guard, which he showed at the Senior Bowl.

Here’s what The Pro Football Network had to say about him.

Positives: College right tackle who projects to guard in the NFL. Explosive, strong, and gets movement run blocking. Powerfully drives defenders off the line, keeps his feet moving, and works blocks hard. Exceptional position blocker who stays square, gets his hands into defenders, and knocks them from their angles of attack or seals them from plays. Quick to the second level, displays outstanding vision, and works to hit as many defenders as possible on a single snap.

Robert Hainsey quietly played well during Senior Bowl week. After playing right tackle in college, the Senior Bowl was some of Hainsey’s first real action against comparable competition at guard. He got a lot of reps on the interior throughout the week and played well, showing the ability to get to the second level and hold his own up front. Here’s more from Hainsey’s Senior Bowl week summary, found in the National Team practice report.

“It was an effective week for Robert Hainsey. He didn’t always play his natural position, but he displayed impressive upside at offensive guard, and that’s likely what he’ll be drafted to play. Hainsey employed steady hands and a squared base in pass protection, and as a run blocker, he proved himself to be able to drive players back. He also moved effectively in zone concepts, further compounding his upside as an interior blocker with positional versatility. He profiles as a solid mid-to-late-round pick after his trip to Mobile.”

TRADE: Dallas Cowboys send picks 5-179 and 6-227 to Baltimore Ravens for pick 5-171

Auburn v South Carolina Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Round 5, Pick 171: Anthony Schwartz, WR, Auburn

The one thing the Cowboys could use on their offensive is some more speed. Auburn wide receiver Anthony Schwartz would certainly bring that. The former track star ran a 4.26 40 at his Pro Day. Yes, you read that right, 4.26.

Per The Draft Network’s Justin Melo, the Cowboys were one of the teams to meet with Schwartz in the pre-draft process.

Here’s what Lance Zierlein had to say about Schwartz.

Prospect with legitimate track speed and rare acceleration who is more of a catch-and-run specialist right now. Schwartz will break your heart on occasion with his poor ball tracking and below-average hands, but there is no doubting his ability to alter coverage once he’s in the game. Schwartz will need a layered passing concept that can keep him on the move, threatening defenses on crossers, over routes, go routes and posts. He hasn’t played in the most stable passing attack at Auburn, so there might be some meat on the bone for him as a pro.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 17 Kansas at West Virginia Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Round 6, Pick 192: Tony Fields Jr., LB, West Virginia

Fields was a tackle machine in his four-year college career, recording 375 total tackles between Arizona and West Virginia. The linebacker could be a core special teams contributor in year one, and play a role similar to Damien Wilson’s in previous years on the defense.

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl - Central Florida v Marshall Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Round 7, Pick 238: Tay Gowan, CB, UCF

Gowan’s size and length, 6’2 185 lbs, making him an intriguing option with our final selection of the draft.

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