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NFL insider Peter King is reading the tea leaves. And three days before the first round commences, he’s seeing the same thing for Dallas that many full-time draft gurus and even casual Cowboys fans are seeing there.
Despite buzz about splashier players on the offensive side of the ball and whispers about the team either trading up or sliding back from their original draft spot, King believes the Cowboys will stay put at No. 10 and draft for their biggest and most obvious need by selecting cornerback Patrick Surtain II out of Alabama.
Writes King in his Football in America column’s mock draft:
“I am not signing on to the Jerry’s-moving-up-for-Kyle-Pitts storyline. I saw Jerry Jones passionately push to try to trade for Paxton Lynch five years ago and, though he has the juice to do what he wants, not overrule his football people when they said the Cowboys should not up the offer to be able to trade for Lynch. Good thing, obviously. So I doubt Jones this year will trade next year’s one, or a passel of picks, to move up to number four to be able to take the talented Florida tight end.
“Picking Surtain is smarter. Dallas gave up 29.6 points per game last year, and allowed a ghastly 34 touchdown passes. (Previous five years, on average: 23 per season.) The Cowboys, as my friend [and long-time reporter for the Dallas Morning News] Rick Gosselin has preached for years, have to spend more time tending to the defense in the high rounds, and Surtain would be a good add to a beleaguered defense.”
King self-deprecatingly calls his mock picks “dart-throwing, mostly,” but the Surtain pick would surprise absolutely no one and make perfect sense for Dan Quinn’s defense.
Cowboys fans will likely sigh when Pitts comes off the board earlier than 10th, and they’ll no doubt follow the career paths of other personal mock darlings like Penei Sewell, Rashawn Slater, and Jaycee Horn wherever they go (the way they still do with T.J. Watt) and wonder about what might have been, but there’s really no scenario where picking the talented Surtain would be seen on Thursday night as anything but a solid bulls-eye.
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