It was not the season that was expected for the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys finished third in the NFC East and because of a trade, currently hold the highest draft pick out of the four teams in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. Dallas got off to a slow start defensively and that caused him to fall behind early in the race.
In Week 5, the season officially spiraled when Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury. This took the Cowboys ultimately out of the race in the division. They were able to stay afloat for a few weeks because of the poor nature of the other teams, but no one believed in them as true contenders. With Prescott returning and having a new $160 million deal, the Cowboys will once again be viewed as favorites in the division.
There are many ways that Dallas could choose to approach this draft, but it is likely that it is on the defensive side of the ball.
Here are three intriguing prospects for the Cowboys to look into at No. 10 overall in the upcoming NFL Draft.
3. Patrick Surtain II, Cornerback, Alabama
If Dallas is going to approve any unit, it could be their secondary. They are in need of a cornerback and have been for many years. They drafted Trevon Diggs last season and could look to add another Alabama product here.
Surtain was arguably the best defensive player in the SEC this season. Being the best player in the best conference in the country is not an easy task. He is a prototypical NFL corner.
He is extremely reliable with great closing speed and size on the outside. Surtain is a physical corner and one that can battle with elite receivers. That is something that the Cowboys need, especially with the division adding some more talent on the outside.
As good as the Cowboys’ offense is, it will not matter if the defense continues to give up points at a historic rate. That can be slowed down with some additions to the secondary.
2. Caleb Farley, Cornerback, Virginia Tech
Surtain might not be around when the Cowboys are on the clock. If that is the case, Caleb Farley is another option to keep an eye on. Like Surtain, Farley dominated the season and put his name high up on the map.
Farley is a first-round prospect because of his intelligence on the outside. He is great in the open field and can shift on a dime. Dallas missed out on some big-name free agents on the outside, such as Patrick Peterson. This has been the focus for years now, but the Cowboys have been unable to solidify that part of the defense. This is a chance to add a next-level prospect and one that has an extremely high ceiling.
Farley could turn into a star right away. He will be a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate if put into the right situation. Dallas could be that situation in the 2021 NFL Draft.
1. Rashawn Slater, Offensive Tackle, Northwestern
The Cowboys have Ezekiel Elliott locked up which means they commit to the run game often. This was not the case a season ago, but they did not put themselves in position to get the ground game going. Also, they suffered injuries along the offensive line which halted progress.
The days of the Cowboys having one of the best offensive lines in football might be coming to an end. Zack Martin continues to be the best guard in the league, but is coming off in injury. We saw ill effects when Travis Frederick retired and that seemed to throw the whole line out of whack.
It is time for the Cowboys to re-tool and that is where a player like Rashawn Slater could come in to play. The Northwestern product has Big Ten toughness. Slater is a mean player that can dominate in the trenches.
Dallas has a history of strong offensive linemen and could develop Slater right away. Right now, they do not have the personnel they used to and that is why they might decide to beef up the unit up front.