It's time for my first CowboysSI.com seven-round mock draft. With the Senior Bowl complete, we can start putting the Dallas Cowboys’ potential 2021 draft into a little bit of focus.
1. Cowboys Mock Draft 1.0 Starts with the Crimson Tide
This mock will change, especially as we see what the Cowboys do in free agency. But the whole idea of a mock draft is to mock out how things COULD go on draft weekend.
For this mock draft I used the following:
The mock draft tool at ProFootballFocus.com;
ProFootballFocus.com’s overall big board;
Settings for normal care of positional value, randomness and draft need.
I let the tool select every other team except for the Cowboys. I made those selections. I didn’t have any control EXCEPT when the Cowboys came on the clock. Where we have them, you’ll find links to the work at NFLDraftBible.com, which covered the Senior Bowl like a blanket this past week.
Now, the PFF tool spat out 13 picks for the Cowboys. I kept 10. Why? Because the Cowboys, at this moment, have six selections. The Cowboys are also expected to have four compensatory picks for free agents lost last year. So, I’ve noted the compensatory picks below. The NFL will make the final determination later this winter.
Enjoy the mock draft and if you have any feedback leave it below, or hit me up on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
First round (No. 10): CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama: The Cowboys need help at corner, and I’d have no issue pairing Surtain II with his former Crimson Tide teammate, Trevon Diggs, for the next few seasons.
Second round (No. 42): S Elijah Molden, Washington: The Cowboys need safety help, too, and Molden was the highest safety on the board. There were a few players ahead of him overall, including Georgia cornerback Tyson Campbell. With the benefit of hindsight, I could have taken a player at a different position in the first round, and come back around to take Campbell in the second. But you don't get hindsight in the NFL draft, so I went for the need.
Third Round (No. 74): DL Levi Onwuzurike, Washington: Yep, sticking with the Huskies. Onwuzurike was the top player on the board. In fact, he was No. 50 overall. He’s local, too, as he went to Allen (Texas) High School. He can help solidify the inside. And the outside help is coming.
Third round (No. 99, compensatory) Edge Patrick Johnson, Tulane: Johnson was a top 100 player on the board and he could give the Cowboys immediate pass rush depth.
Fourth round (No. 111) Edge Jordan Smith, UAB. I decided to double up on the pass rushing help with the 6-foot-7 Smith, who is physically made for the position.
Fourth round (No. 136) WR Marlon Williams, UCF. Williams was the top player on the board. He’ll add depth to a wide receiver group that has plenty of talent.
Fifth round (No. 175, compensatory) Edge Hamilcar Rashed Jr., Oregon State. He was at the top of board and gives the Cowboys a third pass rusher out of this draft. I expect his stock to rise.
Sixth round (No. 187, from Detroit) QB Shane Buechele, SMU. The Cowboys took plenty of looks at Buechele at both Texas and SMU. He would push for a backup spot.
Sixth round (No. 221, compensatory) RB CJ Verdell, Oregon. He is by no means a replacement for Ezekiel Elliott or Tony Pollard. But he’s a third back with speed who can play special teams.
Seventh round (No. 233) S Jacoby Stevens, LSU. Stevens would give the Cowboys another option at safety.
I’m happy with the overall takeaway on the defensive side of the ball. I wanted to address linebacker somewhere. But the haul gives new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn some good pieces to add to what the Cowboys already have.
I don’t think the Cowboys are going to select 10 players on draft weekend. I think they have the raw materials to move up or down, and their No. 10 overall selection makes them an ideal trade partner for several teams. We’ll explore that down the line.
I think Stevens spent some time impressing scouts at the Senior Bowl and will likely move up in coming weeks.
READ MORE: Is Dak Better Than Deshaun?
2. Cowboys QB Dak Signs Long-Term Deal …
Yeah, yeah, yeah, until Dak gets that long-term money from Jerry, he has to get that money from somewhere, right? (Tongue firmly in cheek)
3. Cowboys Mock Draft Tracker
It’s 2021 NFL Draft season. And CowboyMaven and FanNation has its Cowboys Mock Draft Tracker up and running. Throughout the ramp-up to the 2021 NFL Draft, we’ll be updating the tracker with mock drafts from around the Internet — ESPN, CBS, NFL.com, Fox Sports and all the others. You can find it all in one convenient place right here.
So click it, bookmark it and keep up with it. One of our most recent updates is a trade-down scenario that helps the Cowboys seriously address their defensive needs.
Oh, and check out our new partner, the NFL Draft Bible, now a part of the SI family. They were ALL OVER the Senior Bowl this past week and we’ll be referencing their work quite a bit leading up to the NFL Draft in April.
4. All Kinds of Matt Stafford Stuff
Yes, Matthew Stafford wants out of Detroit (finally). He, you have to give it to him. He hung in there for a decade and gave it everything he had. But, like any NFL quarterback, he wants jewelry.
So, NATURALLY, the Cowboys Nation rumor mill went into overdrive, because the only thing BETTER than the quarterback you do have is the quarterback you DON’T have.
Our Mike Fisher wrote a piece shortly after the Stafford news that a Stafford-to-Dallas deal feels like ‘Silly Season’ football. And it does. But you break down the deal anyway because, well, maybe there’s something to it. Fish’s full analysis is worth reading.
Then Fish delved into something that really makes sense. The Cowboys want to do a long-term deal with Dak Prescott. We ALL know this. But we ALL know that the Cowboys have zero leverage in long-term negotiations. Well, Fish delved into the numbers of Stafford’s current deal and the numbers Prescott could expect and, well, the math is interesting and worth reading.
Then our Richie Whitt threw some cold water on all of that, basically writing that the devil that you know is better than the devil that you don’t, and it makes sense for the Cowboys to re-sign Dak Prescott NOW.
And, just for good measure, Fish explored whether it was possible for the Cowboys to trade an ‘unsignable’ Dak for an ‘unhappy’ Deshaun Watson in Houston.
Finally, it was time. Stafford has been traded to the Rams. And what NFL GM’s thought of Stafford’s trade value is now, around here, all about the "skyrocket'' level of Dak's value to Dallas.
Keep up with everything at CowboysSI.com. We won’t miss a thing. I mean, seriously. I don’t think it’s possible.
5. Jason Witten is finally (we think) calling it quits
I write ‘we think’ because, well, you know what happened the last time he did that.
But, it looks like this one is for keeps.
Witten told the world on Wednesday that he would sign a one-day contract with the Dallas Cowboys in March and then retire, giving him one last chance to talk to Cowboys fans as a player and a chance for the Cowboys to properly celebrate him.
Witten told ESPN.com that ‘I gave it my absolute all.’
Witten is destined for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and there should be no question that he should be elected on the first ballot. The only tight end in the game with better numbers than Witten’s 1,228 receptions, 13,046 yards and 74 touchdown is Tony Gonzalez, who was elected in his first year of eligibility. In fact, Witten is fourth all-time in receptions behind Gonzalez, Larry Fitzgerald and Jerry Rice.
If Witten doesn’t get in on his first vote, there’s something deeply wrong with the process.
Oh, and read up Jerry Jones’ unsolicited retirement advice for Witten.
6. Cowboys QB Dak, Staubach Family: Mental Health & 'Saving Lives'
Last week our Richie Whitt wrote about Michelle Staubach-Grimes, the daughter of former Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, and her battle with mental health. Whitt wrote a little more this week about Staubach-Grimes says she and Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott are fighting the ‘same fight.’
7. Emmitt on Zeke
So, some Dallas Cowboys fans are a bit down on Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys running back who had some struggles in 2020. This week, former Cowboys running back and Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith said he believes Elliott is on the road to a better 2021.
“I don’t think you have (seen the best of Zeke),'' said Smith. "I think with Ezekiel Elliott, many people forget that Zeke had COVID-19 before the season even got started. And no one knows what COVID-19 will do to your body until you go through it.''
8. Building a ‘Super’ Legacy
The Dallas Cowboys would love to have that issue, building a Super Bowl legacy. But the Kansas City Chiefs have that issue next weekend in Tampa, Florida, when they go for back-to-back titles.
Former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will call the game for CBS, and he said that if Mahomes is out to build that kind of legacy, then winning next Sunday is the only way to go.
It’s the only way, Romo reasoned, that Mahomes can be taken seriously in the ‘all-time greatest’ debate one day.
“(Mahomes) is the only kid that is going to be in the discussion,” Romo said. “This is the matchup people will be talking about 25 to 50 years from now. ... The fact that Patrick Mahomes is somehow in this discussion shows you how amazing this guy is. There’s a chance for Patrick Mahomes playing this game, to climb the ladder. If Mahomes wins, he keeps that door open. If Brady wins, I don’t know how anyone can top him (as the greatest of all time).''
Read more from Romo here at CowboyMaven and FanNation today.
9. Whitt’s End: Cowboys Super Bowl (Happy?) Anniversary!
It's a HAPPY Super Bowl anniversary ... right? It's been 25 years. It was a party. Thursday marked an anniversary for your Dallas Cowboys ...
In the midst of the Jim Jackson-Jason Kidd feud soon to rip apart the team’s rebuilding plan, the Dallas Mavericks were 13-27. Unbeknownst to anyone, the Texas Rangers were setting the table for their first division championship and playoff appearance with the Hot Stove signings of Ken Hill, Mike Henneman and Kevin Elster. Boris Becker won the Australian Open. Tom Lehman was the world’s No. 1-ranked golfer. We were all watching Friends and Mr. Holland’s Opus, and listening to “One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey/Boyz II Men. The stock market celebrated surpassing 6,000 (now 30,000), the interest rate was 8.25% (now 0.25%) and the minimum wage bumped to $5.15 (now $7.25 trending toward $15).
The Dallas Cowboys were playing in their final Super Bowl.
Jan. 28, 1996 wasn’t just 25 years ago. It was forever ago.
10. Tweet Of The Week
Never forget that time Jason Witten ran without a helmet.