FRISCO - We're going to label this an "educated guess,'' but we believe as the Dallas Cowboys putting together their final Big Board in preparations for the NFL Draft - and their choice at the No. 10 overall pick - they've got a foursome that they're fond of.
And that Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell tops that quartet.Somewhere in this conversation is of course Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, but he's excluded from our "Final 4'' because we think he'll go at No. 4 overall to Atlanta. And we also think that if somehow the Falcons pass on him, he won't get past the Bengals at No. 5.
So exclude Pitts. And we bet the Cowboys at No. 10 overall will rank 'em ...
1) Sewell, who has the highest upside of any of the O-lineman and may end up as the third-ranked player on some teams' (this team's?) Big Board.
2) Rashawn Slater, offensive lineman, Northwestern. Like Sewell, he figures to step in immediately as the starting left guard, with a future move to tackle when Tyron Smith is done.
3) Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain. He's been connected to Dallas from the start, and has many fans in the building here at The Star. He's polished, and ready to move into the first-team group.
4) South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn. He plays with a physical and aggressive style and would also be penciled in as a starter.
Trade up for Pitts? Doubtful; the cost would be high. Trade up for one of the Final 4? Maybe, but assuming Dallas has them "bunched'' - meaning they have similar value - there's not much reason to move up. Rather, the Cowboys simply "let the draft come to us.''
Trade down? There are a bunch of rumors here, but they are a) premature, as teams cannot yet know which players they might be trading down toward, and b) dependent on being able to get a player in the right "bunch.''
Dallas can like other players as first-round talents (linebackers Micah Parsons and Zaven Collins, cornerback Caleb Farley, safety Trevon Moehrig) but it's too early to know where they might land.
But Sewell, Slater, Surtain and Horn as being worthy of a top-10 pick? That looks fairly certain. And Sewell being projected as the best of the bunch? There is some gossip that Dallas won't end up taking Sewell, and our best guess - educated, we hope - is that gossip comes from a Cowboys assumption that he simply won't be there at 10.
But we don't know that yet. What we do know is that Dallas is narrowing its focus. ... and that we may have a Final 4 in place.