Dallas Cowboys 1st Round Options
Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley
The Virginia Tech product opted out of the 2020 college football season and that move did not seem to impact his draft stock at all. The cornerback displays great size, athletic ability, and ball skills; all three are necessary to be a shut down corner in this league. For someone of his stature, he displays incredible fluidity and good play strength that allow him to mirror outside receivers with ease. His explosiveness and acceleration in off coverage allow him to quickly close on receivers.
While there are some tackling concerns, Farley’s aggression is very apparent in his coverage ability. He seems like a great number one option on the opposite side of current rookie Trevon Diggs to replace current starter Chidobe Awuzie. Even with the departure of Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator, the team seems very set on heavy press coverage, with Farley’s physicality and athleticism he should line up well in any scheme the team elects to operate.
By selecting Farley, the Cowboys could finally makeup for the mistake of not extending current Miami cornerback Byron Jones to a new contract.
Penn State LB Micah Parsons
For some reason the Dallas Cowboys don’t seem to recognize positional value as linebackers have been first-round targets for the team for the last two drafts. With a top 5 pick, selecting a linebacker feels like poor asset management and a very old school approach even with Parsons’s strengths as a pass-rusher.
However, while we fault the Cowboys for poor asset management, Micah Parsons himself is a very good player. A very versatile athlete, the Penn State product good play strength and aggression help him in run support to engage with offensive linemen and to tackle the big running backs of the Big Ten. if you account for his speed and counter pass-rush ability, he projects well as linebacker in an odd front or hybrid defense.
There is work to be done in coverage, which makes selecting Parsons in the top five even more questionable. this team already signed one linebacker who is a serious coverage liability to a five-year extension and the other one is currently playing well below-average. Investing in the same position with the same archetype is losing football no matter a singular player might become, specifically at such a valueless position like linebacker.
Alabama CB Patrick Surtain
The Alabama product with some NFL lineage is another cornerback that could possibly sneak into the top 10 of the next draft. Similar to Caleb Farley, Surtain Jr. possesses good size, good athleticism, and solid ball skills. Physicality has always been a big part of his game, this season his athleticism has been on display in Alabama’s match-style defense.
The beauty of this selection is that Surtain Jr would be playing alongside his former teammate, Trevon Diggs. The size and physicality of both cornerbacks should be enough to scare opposing quarterbacks by messing with the releases of their wide receivers. If the interior pass rush was more consistent at getting to the quarterback, these cornerbacks could be grabbing a lot more balls out of the air.
Also much like his former teammate, Surtain Jr is quite good in run support displaying good pursuit angles and good tackling technique. In general, Surtain does not suffer from a lack of technique when jamming, when hand fighting, and when tackling. These possibilities have me salivating.
Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater
The Northwestern product opted out of the 2020 NFL season, and similar to Caleb Farley, has not seen a dip in his draft stock. The 6-foot-4, 308 lb offensive tackle has the athleticism to play offensive tackle at the professional level. His usage of hands and footwork out of his past sets prevent even the best pass-rushers from taking advantage of his smaller stature in protection. Ask Chase Young.
Compared to the other three players, there isn’t really a big reason as to why the Cowboys would select him. The expectation is that Tyron Smith returns to the team along with La’el Collins. even if Smith were to not return, Cameron Erving and Brandon Knight both have proven they are starting quality tackles this year.
It feels like poor asset management to draft an offensive tackle because your former All-Pro offensive tackle decided to retire. Even if Smith doesn’t retire , he is on one of the most team-friendly contracts in the entire league. Releasing him doesn’t make any sense.
Lastly, this team is in clear need of defensive help. Drafting an offensive player this early makes very little sense.