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Report: Picks before the Cowboys are on the clock could change hands before the 2021 NFL Draft

The top 10 picks of the 2021 draft is going to be fascinating.

2018 NFL Draft Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

This is the first week that is firmly in the month of April which means we are closer to the 2021 NFL Draft than ever. Interestingly enough, there is almost a consensus when it comes to what the Dallas Cowboys are going to do with their first selection, number 10 overall. Most minds seem to agree that America’s Team will turn in a card that has Patrick Surtain II’s name on it, and if that is the case then it will be the first significant step made by the organization in improving the defense.

So much of what the Cowboys are going to be able to do at number 10 obviously has to do with what happens with the draft’s first nine picks. We know that there are going to be a number of quarterbacks taken, the more the merrier, but we might not know everything which is fun to think about.

The top 10 could see a couple of more changes before the Cowboys pick

It has been known for some time that the Jacksonville Jaguars will be taking Trevor Lawrence with the number one overall pick. Assuming is a dangerous thing, but we can pretty much safely assume that the New York Jets will also take a quarterback right after them at number two.

The San Francisco 49ers are clearly going to take a quarterback with the third overall pick, they surrendered a lot of capital to get to that point and you only do that for a signal-caller. There are often points in a draft where things “officially” start as far as unpredictability is concerned, and that is sort of at number four with the Atlanta Falcons.

Obviously Atlanta is in an interesting spot as a franchise as they have a franchise quarterback in Matt Ryan, but that reality can change quickly for a team as we all know with the Dallas Cowboys and Tony Romo.

TheMMQB’s Albert Breer reported that the Falcons could be a viable candidate to trade down, and what’s more that the Detroit Lions (number seven) could also be looking to move back. This could certainly shake things up on night one.

Eyes are on Atlanta and Detroit now.

The first three picks are spoken for. And that leaves the Falcons as a team to watch—one that’s going to have to make a decision on its pick with some complicated finances at quarterback (due to all Matt Ryan’s restructures), and a team in need of cheaper young talent with which to surround its core. My guess has been that the Falcons will stick at No. 4 and take a quarterback, because I don’t think they want to count on picking that high again and this happens to be a really strong year at the position. But I do know they’re open to the idea of trading the pick and have had exploratory talks with other teams on a deal that would have someone else moving up to No. 4. And Detroit’s another team I’ve been told to keep an eye on—since they can give other teams an opportunity to jump Carolina and Denver in the quarterback line (though that’d more likely be a draft-day deal, since you can’t totally be sure who’ll be there at No. 7 right now). I’m told they’ve got a cluster of players ID’d they’d be good with at seven, but are open to doing a deal to move down as well. What about Cincinnati and Miami? The former’s been conservative in moving first-rounders over the last 25 years, and will likely have its pick of a top target (Kyle Pitts/Ja’Marr Chase) or a bodyguard for Joe Burrow at No. 5; and the latter went through a lot to stay in the top six within the context of its trade with San Francisco (though it’s hard to rule moves out with Chris Grier pulling the trigger for the Dolphins).

The Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins sit between Atlanta and Detroit and are likely going to be taking offensive players. Cincinnati could be where the first tackle comes off the board or they could address a skill position, and that’s certainly where it feels like the Dolphins are going to go.

Where Detroit has an advantage is if Atlanta does take a quarterback, or at least if the Falcons trade the pick to a team that does. In a draft that features Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Mac Jones, and Trey Lance as a nucleus of quarterbacks at the top when all five are gone... all five are gone.

It is highly possible that the Lions will be on the clock with only one of the five left which would likely make the Carolina Panthers (number eight) start to sweat that someone could be trying to get ahead of them and leave them with nothing. It is ideal for the Cowboys to see somebody go up and take that fifth quarterback as it would push yet another option down to number 10 which could give the Cowboys the ability themselves to trade out.