NFL franchises don’t come around a Top 10 pick in the Draft too often. This is why when they do, fans expect a “sexy” pick. You know, an electric wide receiver, an athletic linebacker, or a shutdown cornerback. In other words, just about any skill position player. So when someone suggests the Dallas Cowboys could take an offensive lineman with the 10th overall pick, many won’t like it.
With the Cowboys, the possibility is even less attractive considering tackles Tyron Smith and La’el Collins are signed to long-term deals. But make no mistake about it, drafting an offensive tackle is a route the Cowboys could indeed take in April.
Smith’s been dealing with serious injuries for a while now. What makes that even more concerning is the fact that his injury history includes back and neck issues. Smith’s already 30-years old and he hasn’t played a full season since 2015. As the Cowboys aim to extend Dak Prescott, it’d be a good idea to get some insurance at offensive tackle.
The Dallas Cowboys could draft any of these two offensive tackles…
Making things all the more interesting, there are prospects good enough in the Draft to justify spending a Top 10 pick on. Although the Cowboys left Penei Sewell in the rearview mirror by winning three straight in December, they should be in a position to draft a top-tier offensive lineman in the first round.
After Sewell, it’s likely the next offensive tackle taken is Rashawn Slater, out of Northwestern. Slater seems to be NFL-ready with great technique. His versatility to play tackle or guard would serve the Cowboys a lot if they want to give him a role while Smith remains the starting left tackle. Slater’s size and arm length will worry some, but he will be a good player on Sundays.
Some prefer OT Christian Darrisaw from Virginia Tech over Slater. Darrisaw is simply fun to watch. His draft stock keeps on rising and will continue to do so as the 2021 NFL Draft gets closer and closer. The Cowboys would get a bully in Darrisaw. He excels in run blocking but should have time to develop his pass blocking skills.
Back in October, The Athletic’s Dan Brugler listed Darrisaw as a potential surprise as this year’s OT2:
“In the Hokies’ run-heavy offense, Darrisaw consistently creates movement with his balance and heavy hands, controlling and steering defenders where he wants. He doesn’t have elite lateral movements in pass protection, but he is quick to win body angles and stay coordinated mid-shuffle.”
Yet the NFL Draft is all about taking the best player available. And once the Cowboys are on the clock, the best player available might coincide with their top need; cornerback. Caleb Fairley and Patrick Surtain II are likely to be available at 10.
But if the Cowboys’ guy is off the board by then, this team could very well continue to invest in the offensive line. It definitely won’t be a sexy pick, but fans should be ready for the possibility.
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