NFL

Cowboys: 1 player to target in NFL Draft, 1 to avoid

The Dallas Cowboys have options if picking at No. 10, but they must avoid this player should he fall

Perhaps falling at the finish line was the slice of humble pie Jerry Jones needed last season. The 2020 Dallas Cowboys still managed to contend for the NFC East enter Week 17 despite being 6-9 on the year.

Instead, they lost to the New York Giants, thus ending their chance to make the postseason without Dak Prescott. Jones paid the price by giving Prescott a four-year deal worth $160 million with $126 million guaranteed.

Dallas holds the No. 10 pick come April 29 in the 2021 NFL Draft. While there’s reports they could trade back, staying put and drafting the best player available might also make sense with a miserable secondary and needs on the offensive line.

There’s always going to be a name that seems perfect and a name that will without a doubt be a reach. Here’s those two options for the Cowboys when on the clock.

Player to target: Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II

There’s a reason most mock drafts have Surtain landing in the Lone Star State. When looking at the secondary as a whole under Mike Nolan, its holes were wider than the running lanes Dallas used to have for Ezekiel Elliott when running the ball in 2019.

Chidobe Awuzie is now with the Bengals. Byron Jones left for Miami in 2020. Sure, Trevon Diggs led the team in interceptions, but Dan Quinn’s Cover 3 defense will better suit him playing the secondary target than the leading man.

Surtian’s three years as a starter in Tuscaloosa had made him ready to cover any receiver at the next level. I’m looking at his overall size, frame, build, and footwork, there might not be a more talented defensive player in the draft.

When playing in off-ball schemes, Surtain is physical. In man coverage, he mirrors his targets with ease. With a rare combination of length and short-area quickness, Surtain is an island that stands alone.

Boring picks might be considered safe, but they also keep people employed. Jones isn’t going to fire himself, but Surtain landing with Quinn gives him a Richard Sherman-type defender in coverage. That’s worth a pat on the back.

Player to avoid:  Alabama DL Christian Barmore

For anyone who hasn’t watched film on Quinn’s defenses, the reason they have been successful is due to the pass-rush and defensive front. During his days in Seattle, the Seahawks utilized Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. In Atlanta, Grady Jarrett and Vic Beasley Jr. were a combination most feared.

The defensive tackle position as a whole is rather weak outside the top two names.  That only adds more value to Barmore’s first-round status.

As a pass-rusher, Barmore excelled in the Crimson Tide’s defensive line, solidifying his bull-rush ability up the middle. A strong lower-frame allows him to win based off raw power, and he can shine when playing in a one gap system. He’s also played every hole on the defensive line.

Yes, Dallas needs to address its defensive line, but top 10 is far too high. Barmore’s overall upside will get him overdrafted somewhere, but Trysten Hill and Neville Gallimore should be enough to make sure other defensive needs are prioritized.

In a trade back for extra picks? This might make sense. At No. 10, Jones is asking for the hate mail.

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