Patrick Surtain II vs. Jaycee Horn: Who should be the Cowboys’ CB1 in the 2021 NFL draft? - John Owning, Dallas Morning News
The debate over who is the top corner in the 2021 draft is heating up.
While unfortunate for Farley, the Cowboys brass shouldn’t be upset with the prospect of choosing between Surtain and Horn, as both are elite cornerback talents with NFL bloodlines who dominated the competition in college football’s toughest conference (SEC). So, if both are available, who should the Cowboys choose with the 10th overall pick?
Before we dive into each player, it’s important to understand the scheme they will be asked to fit into under defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. For an in-depth look at Quinn’s base defenses, make sure you check out my Film Room from a few months ago.
The short version is that Quinn has predominately utilized single-high safety schemes in the past, majoring in different forms of Cover 1 (man) and Cover 3 (zone). In this type of scheme, the cornerbacks must be effective in press, have the necessary play speed to stay on top of or in phase with vertical routes and possess good enough ball skills be an eraser at the catch point. There’s obviously much more than goes into it, but those are the basic traits the team is looking for. This why Quinn, and others in the Pete Carroll coaching tree, value tall (6-foot+) and long (31+ inches) cornerbacks who have at least competent play speed.
Pre-draft position preview: WR trio gives Cowboys chance to be among NFL’s most explosive offenses - David Moore, Dallas Morning News
The Cowboys arguably have the best group of receivers in the NFL.
Position strengths. Cooper is one of the better tacticians at his position in the league. His route running is precise. Gallup is an explosive player who rarely makes the same mistake twice and has a knack for working the sidelines. Lamb is an elusive receiver who is more physical than he appears. He’s outstanding when it comes to run after catch.
And it doesn’t stop there. Cedrick Wilson has shown he’s capable of rising to the occasion and Noah Brown is a solid fifth receiver and a good blocker. Position weaknesses Every player, every position, has a weakness. Some more than others. But let’s start here:
There’s less to pick at or quibble with here than any position on this team. But if you insist on finding something, no one in this group has blazing speed. The top three can challenge you vertically, but won’t blow past you the way other receivers might.
The Virginia Tech cornerback could be a potential trade down target in the first round.
Farley recently went into detail about his back injury. He explained that it occurred during a deadlift exercise which damaged his lumbosacral joint which connects the L5 and S1 discs. Farley elected to only repair the L5 disc and had some physical limitations over the last year. Once his S1 flared up last month, he decided to have a micsodiscectomy procedure which forced him out of his Pro Day workout.
Even with that being said, Farley is confident it won’t affect him in the NFL.
“I did a great job managing over a year but that bulge is still in my S1 and unfortunately I irritated it a month ago, which caused me to pull back on my training,” Farley said. “I was trying to cut back and manage the inflammation to come out here on pro day and put up some crazy numbers. But after talking to Dr. (Robert) Watkins, getting the MRI, and getting things looked at, we were advised it would be best to go ahead and fix this problem so I will be ready for training camp and ready for the season. It was not a recurring disc or anything like that. What I had previously worked on is still intact. It was great news. I’m actually excited about this.”
It’s clear the Cowboys, and every NFL team, are enamored by Kyle Pitts, but will the Cowboys get a chance to potentially select him?
It would likely be difficult for any team to pass on the former Florida star. Standing at 6-foot-5, 245 lbs, he is arguably the best non-quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft. Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network even went on to rank Pitts as the second most talented player in this draft.
Furthermore, Pitts’ speed is something that teams probably love most about him. At Florida’s Pro Day, the former four-star recruit ran a 4.44 40 yard dash. His unofficial 40-yard dash was faster than Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, who posted a 4.50 last season.
Pitts also recorded an 83 3/8 wingspan at his Pro Day, according to palmbeachreport.com This is said to be the longest wingspan of any wide receiver or tight end in the last 20 years. His long frame could allow for excellent blocking and spectacular catches.
For the first time in years, the Cowboys went out and addressed the safety position in the offseason.
What's Here? The Cowboys got outstanding production from second-year safety Donovan Wilson once he joined the starting lineup in Week 5. Wilson finished the season with the best overall defensive grade among all Cowboys defensive backs (72.0), according to Pro Football Focus. He had PFF's third-best defensive grade among players in the regular rotation, behind only DeMarcus Lawrence (88.6) and Randy Gregory (80.5). Despite only 10 starts, Wilson ranked fourth on defense in tackles (68) and pass breakups (4), tied for third in sacks (3.5), tied for second in interceptions (2) and forced fumbles (3) and tied for first in fumble recoveries (2).
Part-time starter Darian Thompson and Steven Parker, who appeared in eight games last year mostly on special teams, are also under contract for 2021. So is last year's fourth-round draft pick Reggie Robinson, though it remains to been whether he'll play safety or move back to cornerback.
Which draft predictions do you see coming true?
Cowboys Select First Defensive Player at No. 10...After teams make a run at quarterbacks and pass-catchers, the Dallas Cowboys will go in a different direction. They need a defensive playmaker for a unit that gave up the fifth-most points and ranked 23rd in yards allowed this past season. Dallas signed quarterback Dak Prescott to a long-term extension, and he has offensive weapons in wideouts Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb.
The Cowboys re-signed slot cornerback Jourdan Lewis, but new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn may want a top-notch cover man to line up opposite Trevon Diggs on the boundary. Anthony Brown has shown too many inconsistencies in coverage, and he's missed 13 games over the last two campaigns. Alabama's Patrick Surtain II and South Carolina's Jaycee Horn play a physical brand of football that would keep the Cowboys competitive against passing attacks.
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