The Dallas Cowboys are set to pick 10th overall in a little over a week in the 2021 NFL Draft. Most of the tea leaves have the Cowboys taking Patrick Surtain II with its first-round selection. Surtain II would certainly go a long way in bolstering the defense.

That said, the NFL Draft is so unpredictable. Top prospects fall, other prospects get drafted much earlier than anybody expects, and teams move around depending on who is on the board.

Dallas will likely have a handful of different options to weigh when they get on the clock. The Cowboys could sit and take the best player available, or Dallas might want to add additional draft capital from a team looking to move up.

We outline three different scenarios for the Dallas Cowboys in next week’s NFL Draft.


Alabama, Patrick Surtain
Jan 1, 2021; Arlington, TX, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Patrick Surtain II (2) in action during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The most likely scenario for the Dallas Cowboys in the first-round appears to be sitting at 10th overall and taking the best player on the board. It seems as if that will be a cornerback — most likely Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II. South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn is another defensive back that has been linked to the Cowboys.

However, what if Surtain II is drafted before the Dallas Cowboys go on the clock? What if a player such as Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell somehow has a draft-day slide? What happens if Florida specimen Kyle Pitts is sitting there for the Cowboys to draft?

The draft is truly a crapshoot and it is very difficult to predict what will happen once the Cowboys make their pick. Nobody expected CeeDee Lamb to be on the board at 17. Dallas deserves some credit for not blinking and adding Lamb to its as offense instead of reaching for a need.

Staying put at 10 and allowing the draft fall to them is probably the most likely first-round scenario for the Cowboys next week.


Every year, a team is willing to part ways with valuable draft capital to select a prospect that they have fallen in love with. Typically, this is for a quarterback — like the Chiefs and Texans moving up for Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson in 2017.

This can also happen for non-quarterback prospects. For instance, the Saints parted ways with the 27th overall pick, a first-round pick in the next year’s draft, and a day-three selection to take defensive end Marcus Davenport at 14th overall in the 2018 draft.

General manages are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that they get their favorite prospect. The Cowboys are sitting in a great position by holding a top-10 draft pick. There is a chance that one of the Big Five quarterbacks falls to them, and there is a chance one of the top defenders or offensive linemen is still on the board.

It would not be a total shock to see the New England Patriots or Chicago Bears attempt to move up for a quarterback that falls later than expected. Trading back would give the Cowboys additional draft capital while still having a decent chance to take a top prospect on their big board.


Dallas Cowboys, Caleb Farley
Nov 16, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies defensive back Caleb Farley (3) intercepts a pass against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the second quarter at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The third scenario for the Cowboys in next week’s draft is trading back into the first-round to take a prospect that they really like. With four top-100 picks, Dallas has some ammunition that may be attractive to a team looking to acquire more picks.

Potential trade-up targets for the Cowboys in the back-half of round-one include Virginia Tech corner Caleb Farley, Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins, and Georgia pass rusher Azeez Ojulari.

Farley is a prospect that was once seen as a top-10 prospect, but back injuries have reportedly scared some teams from taking him early. Adding a talent of Farley’s caliber — if the medicals check out — would be huge, especially with the fifth-year that comes with first-round picks.

It does not seem likely that the Cowboys use all 10 of their 2021 NFL Draft selections, so Dallas should not be afraid to be aggressive. The Cowboys should have a number of different options to consider early in next week’s draft.

Featured image via Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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