Dallas Cowboys 2021 Mock Draft: Addressing defense early and often

2021 NFL Draft, Denver Broncos, Patrick Surtain II (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
2021 NFL Draft, Denver Broncos, Patrick Surtain II (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys made headlines ahead of the free agency period, signing quarterback Dak Prescott to a big extension. The deal consisted of four years and $160 million, and it could end up being worth up to $164 million by the end of the deal. Prescott gets $126 million guaranteed and $66 million at signing. It’s a big first step for the Cowboys to get on the right track towards being a contender.

The offensive line should come back intact in 2021, with hopefully Tyron Smith staying healthier and Zack Martin and La’El Collins locking down the right side of the line. The receiving corps will be lights out, and they have a good backfield in Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.

The real question right now is on the defensive side of the ball. The Cowboys have needs along the defensive line and all over the secondary. 2020 draft pick Trevon Diggs had a fine rookie year, but he projects best as a CB2 on that defense. They’ve also missed opportunities to sign free agents early in the tampering period.

Let’s take a look at how the Dallas Cowboys could address the defense in the 2021 NFL Draft, by adding playmakers at every level.

Pick Analysis. Alabama. 1. player. Patrick Surtain II. 829. Scouting Report. Cornerback

The mock draft starts for the Dallas Cowboys in the form of acquiring another Alabama corner. As was mentioned above, Diggs is the type of player who can develop into a good starting corner, but he has work to do. He likely won’t become a lockdown corner, and that’s where Patrick Surtain II comes in.

Surtain is the prototypical height/weight bigger corner that excels in plenty of press-man coverage. He’s physical near the line of scrimmage and can disrupt wide receivers’ timing and their ability to get a clean release. While his transitional quickness laterally isn’t elite, it’s serviceable for his size, and he’s good at flipping his hips to turn and chase vertically. He’s very patient at the line from a technical perspective and gives his all as a run defender.

Surtain will need to be better at reading fakes from quarterbacks and sometimes mistimes his jumps at the catch point, but overall, he’s a player worthy of a selection in the first round.