The month is April and the Dallas Cowboys will have a top-10 pick at their disposal come the 29th. After a free agency that saw some solid pickups, the team has a boatload of draft picks to right the ship back into playoff contention. Ready for another Dallas Cowboys 7-Round Mock Draft?
It’s hard to overlook the signing of quarterback Dak Prescott to a long-term extension because that was by far one of the most important things the Cowboys needed to do this offseason, but their free-agent pickups have earned my seal of approval.
Signing Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee to short-term contracts provides new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn some familiarity when installing the defense while also allowing the team flexibility to develop rookies to eventually get significant playing time a year or two down the road.
Even additions like Terrell Basham, Brent Urban, and Carlos Watkins highlight how the Cowboys feel about the current state of their defensive line signing a situational speed/counter pass rusher, and some big bodies with proven experience as run stoppers.
This Dallas Cowboys 7-Round Mock Draft dives in deep, trading down and hitting positions hard
The priorities in free agency seem to have changed a bit from the years of the Jason Garrett, which means at some point this team is going to look more well-rounded than ever. So long of the days where coaches preached versatility and picked players who weren’t, the McCarthy era of the Dallas Cowboys has undergone quite the paradigm shift.
It has been a moment since the last mock draft I scribed, but then Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said the goal was to fill all holes in free agency in order to attack the draft with the best player available mentality. They’ve held true to their word for the most part even if the signings haven’t gone for big money.
The Cowboys will eleven picks in the 2021 NFL Draft. The expectation is at least four quarterbacks will be selected before pick 10 meaning someone the Cowboys have highly regarded will still be on their board. With the sheer chaos of the draft to follow, the Cowboys could very easily have the best players available in every round.
So for that reason, I have tasked myself with this incredibly stressful job. Let us get right into it!
Dallas Cowboys 1st Round, Pick 10
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
This would be my fourth mock draft of the cycle and the third one where Dallas is selecting a cornerback at pick 10. With all the injury news and pro day numbers, it has been really easy to cycle through these players without feeling overly attached to one.
Surtain was one of the few cornerbacks in Alabama’s recent history to start as a true freshman. Three years and 37 games later, amassed a very nice 116 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions, and 24 passes defended.
With or without current Cowboy Trevon Diggs, Surtain was incredibly productive as a cornerback shadowing number one receivers. So why not run it back with his former teammate and have some fun?
Surtain was the highest-graded cornerback in the country last season allowing only one completion of over 20 yards all season and with a forced incompletion percentage of 27.3 percent which put him at third amongst SEC cornerbacks.
He displays good competitive toughness to win with consistent effort and aggression. Near the line of scrimmage, this is valuable as he fights through blocks in run support and be effective when blitzing the QB. In coverage, he displays good aggression to knock the ball out of the receiver’s hands and shows a desire to hit hard.
He displays good mental processing when covering the deep thirds of the field reading and reacting to QB eyes and possessing the awareness to effectively communicate assignments with other defensive backs in order to match receivers through their routes. Even in man coverage, he displays good mental processing to read and react to the receiver’s hips to mirror WR and TEs throughout route stem, breakpoint, and catch point.
Surtain is quite good in press-man coverage. He has good athletic ability and possesses the necessary agility, change of direction, and foot speed to mirror receivers in man coverage. He is consistent at mirroring the receiver off the line of scrimmage displaying good footwork and use of hands to maintain leverage against the wide receiver and force him toward the boundary. Through the route stem, he displays the change of direction and agility to mirror receivers through their cuts not losing leverage or allowing separation.
On film, Surtain struggled in off-man coverage. He tested well in both jumps destroying my priors of concerns with his explosiveness and arm length. Perhaps it’s the way he plays in off coverage, but he just doesn’t have the same impact. The team that drafts Surtain shouldn’t be using him to play off coverage, but it is necessary from time to time.
Surtain is a great prospect and will hopefully be the next dominant cornerback to appear in a Dan Quinn-led defense.