Evidently, issues may get very attention-grabbing for the Dallas Cowboys within the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. They have been tied to a listing of big-name prospects, from tight finish Kyle Pitts to cornerbacks Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn, simply to call a number of — with a number of others having their consideration as potential grabs with the tenth decide. With the primary two blockbuster draft day trades now within the books, by means of dealings between the San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles, the chess board is shaping up fairly favorably for the Cowboys; as they stand to land an influence starter it doesn’t matter what occurs with the primary 9 picks.
In essentially the most complete seven-round draft mock for the Cowboys by CBS Sports activities, Dallas got here away with probably the greatest hauls in franchise historical past, even in comparison with the 2020 draft that included the number of CeeDee Lamb and cornerback Trevon Diggs with the primary and second picks. Time will inform if the Cowboys can pull off something near it, however with 10 picks on this 12 months’s draft and one in all them being within the high 10, they are not missing for gunpowder.
So how ought to the Cowboys strategy this 12 months’s draft? Who is likely to be a wild card for them?
And what ought to their good plan seem like general??
Effectively, because you requested…
1. Don’t commerce up!
So, you have heard Jerry Jones is reportedly infatuated with Pitts.
The spoiler right here is — information flash — everyone seems to be. That not solely consists of those that sit at No. 4 by No. 10 within the draft, presuming the highest three choose quarterbacks as anticipated, but in addition the groups immediately behind the Cowboys who’ve a shot at buying and selling as much as take him. And whereas that will make sense for a staff just like the New York Giants, Washington Soccer Workforce or Philadelphia Eagles (who I’ve famous may nonetheless transfer again into the highest 10 after buying and selling with the Dolphins to slip down), the Cowboys should chorus from getting caught in that twister, Dorothy, as a result of the yellow brick street will inevitably make them a handful of primo choices in the event that they merely keep put. Moreover, after seeing Lamb go to Dallas in 2020, is it troublesome to contemplate the opposite three NFC East groups could be juiced to maintain Pitts out of North Texas? Solely six spots separate the Cowboys from the highest three seats, however there are greater than six elite gamers who’ll nonetheless be on the board. Comply with the arithmetic and you will see the science right here, because the variables line up completely for Dallas to be something however antsy when issues get underway on April 29.
2. Do commerce down, if warranted
Talking of stated arithmetic, it really works in favor of shifting down the board.
Once more, with extra elite expertise current than could be chosen within the high 10, the Cowboys are in prime place to slip down the primary spherical a bit and nonetheless land a participant sitting atop their board. No, we’re not speaking shifting from tenth to the underside of the spherical, however possibly a staff just like the New England Patriots want to get their arms on a falling quarterback, particularly if Trey Lance continues to be there for the taking. Shifting down 5 spots would additionally give the Cowboys extra firepower so as to add to their present wealth of draft capital — the staff having 10 picks this 12 months — permitting them to both top off on a number of potential starters and depth items and/or to flip a few of their capital a few times on Day Two and Day Three. So as a substitute of giving up belongings to maneuver north, which is what they’d need to do to assure they get Pitts (being the one motive they’d do such a factor), suppose large image as a substitute and wheel and deal your manner south (after which north once more) into one thing magical. If Pitts is there at No. 10, for no matter unfathomable motive, you possibly can considerably justify the decide after which throw the whole lot you’ve gotten at appeasing Dan Quinn, however do not go chasing Pitts if you actually have the worst protection in franchise historical past.
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3. Seek the advice of the protection lawyer
First impressions go each methods, and the Cowboys perceive this fairly effectively.
Quinn is now within the constructing and has already satisfied the staff to worth the security place, resulting in the signing of Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee, together with including our bodies to the needy inside of the defensive position. However whereas the signings are convincing Quinn the Cowboys see his imaginative and prescient for a possible Legion of Growth 2.0, it is what they do within the draft that may both hammer house their promise to him of supplying the instruments he wants to perform what he did in Seattle — or in the event that they had been simply blowing smoke. The wants on the defensive facet of the ball are as clear as a sophisticated chandelier, with a dynamic complement for Diggs being atop the listing. From there, a long-term plan at security beside Donovan Wilson should be situated pronto after which there’s the linebacker corps, which can or could not lose Sean Lee to retirement and, even when it does not, nonetheless wants extra firepower. And for the free company work the Cowboys have executed on the defensive position this offseason, they can not put their toes up and really feel executed there, as a result of they don’t seem to be. All instructed, and assuming the high-powered offense stays wholesome in 2021, Jones has an opportunity to do for Dak Prescott what he admittedly didn’t do for Tony Romo: tie a dominant offense to a protection that may lastly match serve.
4. Do not ignore offense totally
No, throwing the sink and the hooked up plumbing on the protection does not imply the offense can take the weekend off.
For instance, Pitts is not the one wild card right here and there are others who make extra sense, all issues thought of. I’ve typically pointed at left deal with Penei Sewell as one who may additionally pause the Cowboys’ plan to go protection with their first decide, and the identical holds true for a participant like Rashawn Slater. For whereas La’El Collins and Tyron Smith are forward of schedule of their return from season-ending accidents, the actual fact is that they each missed a ton of time in 2020 and the latter has lengthy battled sturdiness issues that peaked final season. It is unknown if the perennial Professional Bowler can keep on the sector for your entire trip going ahead, and the actual fact he’ll be 31 earlier than the season ends solely strengthens the case for Sewell and Slater — both of whom being able to taking up Smith’s mantle sooner or later. I like the signing of Ty Nsekhe, however that is a one-year deal and the progress of Brandon Knight is promising, however in need of him being seen as a dominant starter. That every one stated, you must no less than entertain making certain a very powerful a part of your staff exterior of Prescott, be it with a wild card on Day One or a middle-rounder — e.g., Walker Little. Discover how the tone of this bullet level is aimed largely at defending Prescott, who’s therapeutic up from a fractured ankle and would like to not need to run for his life going ahead.
The worst factor the Cowboys can do is let their feelings steer the draft.
Always remember Johnny Manziel would’ve been a Cowboy as a substitute of Zack Martin if Jones gave in to his most primal wishes, as one instance, and that is type of an enormous deal. Additionally they cannot be so inflexible that they wave off a expertise like T.J. Watt for somebody like Taco Charlton merely due to measurables and supposed scheme match, making all of it about stability in Dallas — one thing they’ve largely deployed effectively in drafts however not with out some misses (one thing not unique to the Cowboys). They’ve to this point made strikes in free company that may permit them to take a extra measured strategy in studying what occurs in actual time and reacting accordingly, and that is admirable. However that is additionally akin to prepping for the bar examination to the purpose you’re feeling you are prepared as you will ever be, solely to have an nervousness assault the second you sit down and begin the check. As is perennially the case, after having spent months constructing your draft board, the secret is to stability sticking to it with a capability to adapt as wanted. The latter does not imply you mortgage to commerce up from No. 10 when you will win by being affected person, in a method or one other, any greater than it means dismiss the most effective participant out there when you’ve gotten capital to barter a U-turn. Be cool, be calm, be affected person, let the draft come to you, and bear in mind nobody ever received a recreation of chess by making an attempt to triple leap their opponent.