Cowboys Rumors: Patrick Surtain II 'Most Connected To' DAL Amid Kyle Pitts Buzz

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2021

Alabama defensive back Patrick Surtain II (2) defends against Notre Dame during the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game in Arlington, Texas, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

Most buzz around the Dallas Cowboys ahead of the 2021 NFL draft Thursday suggests the team will address its cornerback need with the No. 10 overall pick.

Albert Breer of SI.com reported he's "heard Dallas most connected to Alabama's Patrick Surtain II, who would be a middle-of-the-fairway pick and an ideal fit for Dan Quinn's new defense, though I'd assume South Carolina's Jaycee Horn would be in play too."

ESPN's Todd McShay added that the Cowboys could move down the board if Surtain isn't available:

"The strongest information that I've heard is that Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II will be the pick at No. 10. He'd give Dallas a shutdown press corner. If Surtain is already off the board, a move back could be in play, per a different source. The Cowboys could slide back four, five or maybe even six spots and still end up with either South Carolina's Jaycee Horn or Virginia Tech's Caleb Farley as their cornerback of choice ... and some additional picks."

It's no secret that Jerry and Stephen Jones think highly of Florida tight end Kyle Pitts. They have said as much.

The problem for the Cowboys is that much of the buzz heading into Thursday is that Pitts will be off the board in the first four to six picks, with the possibility that any one of the Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals or Miami Dolphins could take him.

As McShay reported: "It would take a massive, massive overpay to move from No. 10 to No. 4 and make it happen. I don't see it going that way."

That might be a blessing in disguise. As talented as Pitts is, the Cowboys need to improve at corner, and it's likely they will have their pick of the top two options on the board, Surtain and Horn.

NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah believes Surtain is the 10th-best player in this year's draft, writing he has an "ideal blend of size, speed and ball skills" and adding that he thrives in press coverage. He compares him to Baltimore Ravens defensive back and fellow Alabama alumnus Marlon Humphrey.

Jeremiah ranks Horn as the No. 16 prospect in this draft class, meanwhile, calling him a "big, physical cornerback with plenty of speed and instincts." He says Horn "needs to play with more confidence from off coverage (to avoid panicking and grabbing), but he has the skills to excel right away as a press-man cornerback."

Jon Machota @jonmachota

Cowboys VP Stephen Jones on @1053thefan on Patrick Surtain II vs. Jaycee Horn: “It’s a great debate. I can assure you there’s been no final decision on that.”

IG: JosinaAnderson @JosinaAnderson

One #DAL source opinion on CB Jaycee Horn or Patrick Surtain: "Like them both. Would be happy to get either if we go corner." #ARZ source on Jaycee Horn: "Tough. Speed. Ideal measurement...he won't make it to 16." NFC North source on Surtain: "Long & can run. Good quickness."

The Cowboys gave up 34 passing touchdowns last season, tied for 27th in the NFL. Their top cornerbacks at the moment are C.J. Goodwin, Jourdan Lewis and Trevon Diggs. More importantly, they have plenty of talent on the offensive side of the ball.

Maybe Jones will push for a dramatic trade up the board to land Pitts. But staying put, holding on to valuable draft assets and filling a bigger need with a player like Surtain would make far more sense.