Re-signing Jourdan Lewis to a three-year deal but losing Chidobe Awuzie in free agency likely means that this pick is an outside corner, especially if the Cowboys have their choice of the position group. A three-year starter and the 2020 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Surtain II has an NFL pedigree (father was a three-time Pro Bowl CB and his high school coach) with the size (6-2, 208), length and ball skills that new coordinator Dan Quinn will covet.
The Cowboys allowed 34 passing touchdowns in 2020 with just 10 interceptions, one of the worst ratios in the NFL in 2020. With Dak Prescott re-signed and the Cowboys seemingly in a position to compete again for the division title, it is hard to imagine Jerry Jones passing on an opportunity to solidify the secondary with Surtain, an NFL legacy with his own Pro Bowl potential.
This fit seems so obvious I almost don't want to make it. Surtain is the best corner in an athletically gifted class, and he has the pedigree to excel with the star on his helmet in Dan Quinn's defense.
In the Super Bowl era, the latest slot where the first defensive player in the draft was taken was in 1999 when Champ Bailey went No. 7 to Washington. But Surtain falling to No. 10 as the first defender is a realistic possibility. Dallas has the chance to reunite him with Trevon Diggs on the cornerback depth chart.
This will anger some Cowboys fans, and we get it. They need defense! We know, we know. Would they consider South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn here? Maybe -- he'd fit Dan Quinn's preference for longer corners. What about LB Micah Parsons? Another maybe, especially if they're worried about the health of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch.
But Slater could be a Day 1 starting left guard who eventually moves to tackle. Dallas has done a good job of sticking to its board, especially with first-rounders, so a Slater pick here shouldn't be stunning. Some teams believe he has a chance to be picked ahead of Sewell.
Dallas trades back five spots with New England, gains what would likely be a 2022 first-round pick and is able to plug a need at No. 15. The Cowboys' defense was dreadful last season, and they lost starting corner Chidobe Awuzie in free agency. They can pair Horn with 2020 second-round pick Trevon Diggs, who had a nice rookie season. The knock on Horn is that he had only two career interceptions, but that ball production should come in time.
The first defensive player off the board, and it's a cornerback to a team in desperate need of help there. Surtain would join his former Crimson Tide teammate, Trevon Diggs, in Dan Quinn's defensive backfield.