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Cowboys news: Cornerbacks still rule the Cowboys pre-draft conversations

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South Carolina v LSU Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Will the Dallas Cowboys pass on cornerback Patrick Surtain? - Joey Pollizze, The Landry Hat

Will the Cowboys pass on Patrick Surtain if he’s there at 10?

The Dallas Cowboys should make a logical selection with their pick and take a cornerback in the first round. If Patrick Surtain II of Alabama is still available with the 10th pick, the Cowboys should have no problems selecting him.

Surtain is a large, physical cornerback with huge upside, according to Standing at 6-foot-2, 202 lbs, he can likely guard bigger receivers that Dallas has to face. One name that he would possibly guard twice a year is newly acquired New York Giant, Kenny Golladay.

Golladay is arguably one of the best deep threat receivers in the league with his 6-foot-4 frame. Although it would be a tall task for the rookie to guard the former Pro Bowler, this is something that Dallas needs. A cornerback who has the potential to guard bigger/more physical wide receivers in the league.

Although this is the case, the Cowboys might not go this route in the draft. Per my interview with Patrick Surtain II at Alabama’s Pro Day, he has not talked to the Dallas Cowboys yet. Even though this could mean nothing, it can be considered quite surprising.

With the NFL Draft less than a month away, it’s safe to assume that Dallas should be speaking with players whom they are interested in. Consequently, it is extremely unusual to find that the Cowboys have not had any meetings with arguably the best cornerback in this draft.

It can be considered more shocking that they have spoken to tight end Kyle Pitts, per my interview at Florida’s Pro Day. Pitts confirmed that he has been in contact with the Cowboys. Despite this, it is probably unlikely that he falls to Dallas at pick 10, according to many mock drafts including

CB Jaycee Horn: It Would Be “Big” To Join The Dallas Cowboys - Kevin Brady, Inside the Star

Jaycee Horn or Patrick Surtain is the question many are asking.

Two cornerback prospects have risen above the rest in this year’s draft class: South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn and Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II.

While Surtain has been the favorite to be snagged by the Cowboys tenth overall for much of the draft process, Horn has gained some serious steam as of late. ESPN’s Todd McShay had the Cowboys taking Horn in his latest mock draft, and Horn himself is speaking to the possibility.

Jaycee Horn joined 105.3 The Fan’s Nosebleed Seats this week, and made it clear that he would appreciate the chance to play for America’s Team.

“It would definitely be big to be drafted by the Cowboys…a team with a lot of history. But anywhere I go, I’ll be happy to suit up for that team”- Jaycee Horn.

Horn of course added that no matter the team who drafts him, he’s going to be excited to play for them. But Cowboys Nation is only going to focus on the first part of that quote.

Film room: 3 potential mid-round targets for the Dallas Cowboys in the 2021 NFL draft - John Owning, Dallas Morning News

The first round is flashy, but the middle rounds can be key to building a roster.

While this draft class may be short on centerfield safeties, the same cannot be said at cornerback, as there are a bevy of talented ones in the class, including ones projected to go in the middle rounds.

Stanford’s Paulson Adebo is one of the more enticing mid-round CB options, as his length, athleticism and ball skills make him a great fit for Dan Quinn’s defense. Not to mention as a Mansfield High School product, he’s quite familiar with the Dallas area.

After a stellar redshirt freshman campaign in 2018 (four INTs and 19 pass breakups while allowing only one TD), Adebo seemed destined to become a first-round pick; however, while he still flashed the top-tier talent in 2019, he was much more inconsistent (four INTs and four pass breakups while allowing four TDs) in addition to missing three games due to injury. He opted out of the 2020 season.

Listed 6-1 and 198 pounds with 31 1/2-inch arms, Adebo is adept in press coverage, using his length and strength to disrupt receivers at the line of scrimmage. In addition, Adebo has enough long speed to carry receivers deep along with the ball skills to not only contest but also win at the catch-point of 50/50 balls downfield, making him an easy fit as a deep-third defender in Quinn’s base Cover 3 defense.

Are Dallas Cowboys improved after franchise-high eight free agents signed? - Todd Archer,

A look at how free agency has improved the Cowboys.

While coach Mike McCarthy has not closed the door on the return of defensive end Aldon Smith, it appears the Cowboys have traded Smith for Basham, who had a career high in sacks last season for the New York Jets. Basham had 3.5, or a half-sack more than what Smith had against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 3 last season. It’s fair to wonder whether the Cowboys regret not trading Smith to the Seahawks when they had the chance at the trade deadline?

Watkins, 27, is the Cowboys’ latest dip into the Houston Texans’ defensive line. In the past few years, Dallas has added Terrell McClain, Christian Covington and traded for Eli Ankou last season. If Watkins can be as good as McClain, then the Cowboys have found a hit. If he plays more like Ankou, then he might not make the final roster.

Urban, 29, seems like a replacement for defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford, who recently retired after nine years with the Cowboys. Crawford’s versatility was a plus, and it just so happens Urban can play multiple spots along the front as well. Urban had a career high in sacks (2.5) last season with the Chicago Bears; Crawford had two sacks in 2020.

Because of the injuries offensive linemen Tyron Smith and La’el Collins had last season, the Cowboys wanted to have a veteran protection at offensive tackle. Nsekhe turns 36 in October, so there’s experience there and the Cowboys believe he has a lot of tread left. Nsekhe needs to be better than Brandon Knight and Terence Steele, who each started most of the games last season for Smith and Collins.

McQuaide, 33, might have the biggest shoes to fill at long-snapper, and all he has to do is be perfect to equal what his predecessor, L.P. Ladouceur, did for 16 years. If he has one wayward snap, then folks will wonder if the Cowboys should have brought Ladouceur back for a 17th season.

3 different Cowboys mock drafts that go in wildly different directions, but which one is best? - Matt Hollerman, Blogging the Boys

Mock. Draft. Szn.

Round 1 (Pick 10) CB, Patrick Surtain II Alabama

Round 2 (Pick 44) OT, Alex LeatherwoodAlabama

Round 3 (Pick 75) EDGE, Carlos Basham Jr, Wake Forest

Round 3 (Pick 99) S, Ar’Darius Washington, TCU

Round 4 (Pick 115) DT, Marlon Tuipulotu, USC

Round 4 (Pick 138) CB, Shakur Brown, Michigan State

Round 5 (Pick 179) LB, Tony Fields II, West Virginia

Round 6 (Pick 192) WR, Frank Darby, Arizona State

Round 6 (Pick 227) S, Tre Norwood, Oklahoma

Round 7 (Pick 236) LB, Buddy Johnson, Texas A&M

Analysis: If Patrick Surtain II is available at pick 10, there’s a very good chance he’s the Cowboys selection. The Cowboys’ biggest need is cornerback, and Surtain could step in and start opposite his former teammate Trevon Diggs from day one. The Alabama corner had an outstanding pro day, clocking in with an unofficial 4.42 40-yard-dash. The only real question mark about Surtain was his speed, but this outstanding time could push him up draft boards, and potentially out of reach for Dallas.

In this mock, Surtain was still on the board making him the obvious pick. Here’s what our very own Connor Livesay had to say about the cornerback 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.

Four free agents that could help the Cowboys - Corey Douglass, Dallas Sports Fanatic

Are the Cowboys done in free agency?

KJ Wright

KJ Wright is another player that has played under Quinn in Seattle. At age 31, Wright is younger than Sherman and is coming off a productive 2020 season where he accumulated 86 tackles playing along side Bobby Wagner.

Wright has told Mike Fisher that the Cowboys are one of his “dream teams” to play for and with the futures of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch in question, Wright could be another helpful piece for the Cowboys defense.

Casey Hayward

Casey Hayward was the victim of the NFL salary cap dip for the 2021 season. Hayward is one of the more underrated cornerbacks from the past decade in the NFL. He is another vet that could come in and teach Trevon Diggs and the other young defensive backs. Mike McCarthy is also very familiar with Hayward as he was part of the coaching staff that drafted him in 2012 while McCarthy was with the Green Bay Packers.

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