Still more than a month before the NFL Draft, the mock drafts are heating up. The so-called experts have weighed in on all of their projections, including who the Cowboys might grab at No. 10 overall.
Well, our staff writers went a few steps further. We did our first installment of a seven-round mock draft, taking a stab at all 10 Cowboys picks this year.
Here’s what our guys picked:
1st round (10th): Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern 2nd round (44th): Elijah Molden, DB, Washington 3rd round (75th): Tommy Togiai, DT, Ohio State 3rd round (99th): Rodarius Williams, CB, Oklahoma State 4th round (115th): Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State 4th round (138th): Patrick Jones II, DE, Pittsburgh 5th round (179th): Marquez Stevenson, WR, Houston 6th round (192nd): Larry Borom, OT, Missouri 6th round (227th): Tre Norwood, S, Oklahoma 7th round (238th): Jonathan Marshall, DT, Arkansas
Analysis: While the majority of the 2021 offseason wish list lies on the defensive side of the ball, Dallas can’t afford to put their investment on offense at risk with a suspect offensive line. Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater is the perfect piece to invest in long-term for the front five. He has the ability to play guard and could really shore up the left side of the line of scrimmage until Tyron Smith’s time is done and Slater can move to tackle. Additionally, this draft class has a wealth of defensive talent stashed in the middle rounds, and with 10 total selections, makes for an easy option should the Cowboys not address the defense in the first round. Selections like Molden, Togiai, Williams and Browning not only gives flexibility to defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, but they are soon-to-be starters who could be supplemented by free agent signings and veterans. The large number of draft capitol Dallas holds also allows the freedom to add extra faces to the offensive side later on, like Stevenson and Borom, since it’s unlikely to see an entirely defensive draft.
1st round (10th): Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama 2nd round (44th): Liam Echenberg, OT, Notre Dame 3rd round (75th): Dayo Odeyingbo, DE, Vanderbilt 3rd round (99th): Alim McNeill, DT, North Carolina State 4th round (115th): Talanoa Hufanga, S, USC 4th round (138th): Justin Hilliard, LB, Ohio State 5th round (179th): Kenny Yeboah, TE, Ole Miss 6th round (192nd): Camryn Bynum, CB, California 6th round (227th): Josh Palmer, WR, Tennessee 7th round (238th): Buddy Johnson, LB, Texas A&M
Analysis: If you’re seeing a trend with my mock draft, yeah, it’s defense. Seven of the 10 picks, to be exact. The Cowboys feel the offense will be just fine if they can stay healthy. The defense has the most question marks, and Surtain – one of a few cornerbacks who could go in the top half of the first round – is as pro-ready as any corner in this year’s class. Trevon Diggs showed a lot of promise in his rookie year out of Alabama, and Surtain would help Dallas further fortify the position. The Cowboys are confident Tyron Smith and La’el Collins will be ready to play in 2021, but this is a strong class at offensive tackle, and Echenberg is one of several tackle prospects who could go somewhere in the first two rounds. McNeill is a run-stuffing, space-eating tackle who could thrive in new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s scheme. Hufanga and Hilliard were productive at major college programs and would help address depth issues at safety and linebacker.
1st Round (10th): Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama 2nd Round (44th): Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri 3rd Round (75th): Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse 3rd Round (99th): Jerome Johnson, DT, Indiana 4th Round (115th): Alaric Jackson, OT, Iowa 4th Round (138th): Jacoby Stephens, S/LB, LSU 5th Round (179th): Daelin Hayes, DE, Notre Dame 6th Round (192nd): Rakeem Boyd, RB, Arkansas 6th Round (227th): DJ Daniel, CB, Georgia 7th Round (238th): Josh Pederson, TE, Louisiana-Monroe
Analysis: The Cowboys don’t want to say they have a strong need at any spot, but it has to be cornerback, regardless of what happened in free agency. The need to get younger and talented at the position is vital, so after the success Trevon Diggs had a year ago, drafting Surtain just makes sense. If they go with Caleb Farley or Jaycee Horn are possibilities, but I think the safe and smart pick is Surtain. After that, I tried to go as much on defense as possible. Bolton is just a playmaker and they need that at linebacker. I also took some hybrid players like Stephens and Hayes who can play multiple positions. If you’re thinking I took Boyd because he’s from Arkansas, well, it’s true. But I like his game because he’s a bigger back with breakaway speed. There is no quarterback on this list, and I wonder if the Cowboys will take one, but I decided against it.
1st round (10th): Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama 2nd round (44th): Richie Grant, S, UCF 3rd round (75th): Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State 3rd round (99th): Walker Little, OT, Stanford 4th round (115th): Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis
4th round (138th): Cameron Sample, DE, Tulane
5th round (179th): Keith Taylor, CB, Washington
6th round (192nd): Divine Deablo, S, Virginia Tech
6th round (227th): Paddy Fisher, LB, Northwestern
7th round (238th): Racey McMath, WR, LSU
Analysis: I can tell this mock might be too good to be true because I’ve done my best to address every single need. Revamping the secondary with the best young corner in this class makes entirely too much sense, and pairing him with a ball hawking free safety like Grant would just be too much fun. The Cowboys need insurance behind Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, and Browning has the athleticism and the big-time resume to do so. Little and Sample would provide depth on both lines, and I picked Kenneth Gainwell simply because he’s too versatile to ignore. After that, I’m just looking for guys with traits I love, and it’s hard not to like the size and length of Taylor and Deablo in the secondary. I took a flier on my LSU guy, Racey McMath, because I think he’s going to be a special teams demon at the next level.
1st round (10th): Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern 2nd round (44th): Richie Grant, S, UCF 3rd round (75th): Jevon Holland, S/CB, Oregon 3rd round (99th): Aaron Banks, G, Notre Dame 4th round (115th): Tommy Togiai, DT, Ohio State 4th round (138th): Jimmy Morrissey, C, Pittsburgh 5th round (179th): Javian Hawkins, RB, Louisville 6th round (192nd): Brady Davis, QB, Illinois State 6th round (227th): Josh Palmer, WR, Tennessee 7th round (238th): Racey McMath, WR, LSU
Analysis: I stand by my belief that the Cowboys should invest their No. 10 overall pick in an offensive tackle to protect Dak Prescott for the entirety of his contract, just like they invested a No. 9 overall pick in 2011 to protect Tony Romo by drafting Tyron Smith, who is coming off of neck surgery. Slater has All-Pro potential and that’s good enough for me. After using a second-round pick on safety Richie Grant out of UCF, I have them selecting Jevon Holland out of Oregon in the third round with the intention of converting him to cornerback. Holland is a ball hawk who could bring interceptions to the Cowboys defense. Finally, I would consider packaging picks in a trade just to move up in the fourth round to ensure they get Tommy Togiai out of Ohio State.