What if Dallas Cowboys go offensive in first spherical of 2021 NFL draft?

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FRISCO, Texas — Truth: the Dallas Cowboys want defensive assist.

The Cowboys allowed probably the most factors in franchise historical past in 2020, giving up 473. That they had the second worst run protection within the NFL, permitting 158.8 yards a sport.

Change has been evident thus far in 2021.

Dan Quinn is the Cowboys’ new defensive coordinator, changing Mike Nolan. Joe Whitt Jr. has been added because the secondary coach. Aden Durde is the brand new defensive position coach. Senior defensive assistant George Edwards is anticipated to have extra affect. Six of the Cowboys’ eight free-agent additions have been on the defensive facet of the ball: safeties Keanu Neal, Damontae Kazee and Jayron Kearse, defensive linemen Carlos Watkins and Brent City and pass-rusher Tarell Basham. Dallas additionally re-signed cornerback Jourdan Lewis.

Because the 2021 NFL draft approaches, typical knowledge says the Cowboys will proceed with their defensive strategy to the offseason. Nearly each mock draft has the Cowboys taking a cornerback with the No. 10 general choose, both Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II, South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn or, earlier than present process a again process, Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley.

Even coach Mike McCarthy jumped head first into the all-about-defense debate.

“Properly, I believe it is clearly, you take a look at our group from 2020 to 2021, the biggest change is clearly on protection,” McCarthy stated. “It is one thing we felt was wanted, I am not going to say throughout the board, nevertheless it’s clearly not my imaginative and prescient of the soccer group and the way I see a soccer group competing to be constant, as a result of consistency places you in place to win championships. … It is apparent that my main focus is the protection.”

So write it down in marker. The Cowboys will take a defensive participant within the first spherical of April’s draft. Perhaps even the second spherical, too. Why not make all 10 of the Cowboys’ alternatives be on protection?

Heading into the 2020 draft, virtually the identical issues have been being stated concerning the Cowboys’ defensive wants. They wanted a cornerback. They wanted a pass-rusher, a security, a defensive sort out.

Then one thing humorous occurred on the draft’s first night time that they by no means anticipated to occur.

Oklahoma vast receiver CeeDee Lamb fell to them at No. 17.

The Cowboys did not want a large receiver within the first spherical. Not with Amari Cooper freshly signed to a $100 million contract. Not with Michael Gallup coming off a 1,000-yard season. The Cowboys might wait till the center rounds to discover a complementary participant.

However Lamb was the sixth-rated participant on the Cowboys’ draft board. Following the axiom you at all times take one of the best participant accessible, the Cowboys gladly drafted him and have become higher for it.

On the announcement of quarterback Dak Prescott’s $160 million contract, Cowboys govt vice chairman Stephen Jones acknowledged the group should tightly handle its wage cap and that bettering the protection can be largely concerning the draft.

“We bought top-of-the-line within the enterprise in Will McClay and his scouting group and they will do an amazing job I consider serving to us discover defensive gamers,” Jones stated. “Now you bought to be open minded or you do not get CeeDee Lamb if he occurs to be sitting there.”

What if Florida tight finish Kyle Pitts is sitting there at No. 10 this yr? Or Oregon offensive sort out Penei Sewell? Or Northwestern offensive lineman Rashawn Slater?

What if they’re all extra extremely rated than any of the defensive gamers accessible on the time the Cowboys choose? A number of mock drafts have offensive gamers going with the primary 9 picks, however what occurs if a defensive participant is off the board sooner than anticipated?

Can the Cowboys actually take a good finish within the first spherical? They signed Blake Jarwin to a $24 million extension final yr. That they had Dalton Schultz catch 63 passes after Jarwin suffered a torn ACL within the 2020 season opener.

Pitts is seen by many as “greater than a good finish.” He had 12 touchdowns and averaged 17.9 yards per catch final season. He generally is a mismatch participant wherever on the sector. With an offense that options Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Cooper, Gallup and Lamb, it could take a artistic thoughts to maximise the flexibility there, however that is why the Cowboys employed McCarthy and stored coordinator Kellen Moore.

The well being of offensive tackles Tyron Smith and La’el Collins ought to give the Cowboys some pause about Prescott’s safety going ahead if not essentially simply 2021.

Smith has not performed a full season since 2015 and performed simply two video games final season due to neck surgical procedure. He’s 30 and tackles typically play effectively into their mid- to late-30s, however he’s getting into his tenth season and has handled a variety of accidents along with the neck, elbow, knees and ankle.

Collins didn’t play a snap final season due to hip surgical procedure. He had his finest season in 2019, however he has additionally handled a again subject over time.

Sewell and Slater opted out of school soccer final yr due to COVID-19, but that doesn’t fear most scouts. Sewell is massively massive at 6-foot-4 and 331 kilos and may transfer (5.09 40-yard sprint). Slater is likely to be seen as a greater guard than sort out, however in 2019 he did an impressive job on Ohio State’s Chase Younger, who was the No. 2 general choose final season by the Washington Soccer Crew.

The previous three offensive linemen the Cowboys have chosen within the first spherical — Smith, Travis Frederick (2013) and Zack Martin (2014) — developed into one of the best at their positions with a number of Professional Bowl and All-Professional alternatives. From 1981 to 2010, the Cowboys have by no means chosen an offensive lineman within the first spherical.

Cowboys proprietor and normal supervisor Jerry Jones likes to say a group must maintain its strengths robust.

Including Pitts, Sewell or Slater would maintain the Cowboys’ power robust. It is likely to be one of the simplest ways to verify a weak spot is not as weak.

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