The first round of the 2021 NFL Draft is next Thursday from Cleveland, and the Dallas Cowboys currently hold the No. 10 pick in Round 1 courtesy of a disappointing 6-10 record last season. Defense was a major issue with the 2020 Cowboys, and William Hill Sportsbook oddsmakers favor the Cowboys taking a cornerback at +100 with their initial pick in the draft – perhaps Alabama's Patrick Surtain II -- whether it's at 10 or not. An offensive lineman is second at +300.
Dallas fired defensive coordinator Mike Nolan after that unit's historically bad 2020 season, so it makes sense the defense is targeted first and foremost. The team did sign former Pro Bowl safety Keanu Neal this offseason, but the former Atlanta Falcon has ben very injury-prone and got just a one-year deal.
The Cowboys also were able to re-sign top cornerback Jourdan Lewis to a three-year deal worth up to $16.5 million but lost 2017 second-round pick Chidobe Awuzie to a three-year deal from the Cincinnati Bengals. Lewis and Anthony Brown project as the Cowboys' top corners at the moment, but nearly every mock draft has Dallas taking either the Tide's Surtain II or Virginia Tech's Caleb Farley with the team's first pick.
That's one thing to remember about this prop: It's whomever the Cowboys take with their first pick of the draft, regardless if they stay put, trade up or trade out of the first round entirely. There have been some rumors of Jerry Jones eyeing Atlanta's No. 4 pick because Jones is infatuated with Florida tight end Kyle Pitts – who will not be there at No. 10. That Dallas takes a tight end with its first pick is priced +2000.
The CBS Sports Big Board ranks Farley as the top cornerback in the draft and No. 11 overall prospect and Surtain as the No. 2 cornerback and No. 15 prospect. Farley had to miss Virginia Tech's Pro Day due to a procedure to address a back ailment. That might scare some teams off, although he should be fine for camp.
Surtain, the son of former NFL cornerback Patrick Surtain, was the 2020 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, a unanimous All-American and Pro Football's top-graded cornerback in the country with Alabama. According to PFF, Surtain allowed at least 65 receiving yards to a wideout just once in his NCAA career and that was to current Dallas Cowboy and former Oklahoma Sooners receiver CeeDee Lamb as true freshman. Lamb was the Cowboys' initial pick last year at No. 17 overall. Surtain is given an Over/Under draft position of 10.5, with the Under a slight favorite.
Five of the Cowboys' past eight first-round picks have represented Dallas in the Pro Bowl not counting Lamb as there was no Pro Bowl last year, but only three remain with the team: Guard Zack Martin, running back Ezekiel Elliott and linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. No. 10 is the Cowboys' highest draft position since taking Elliott at No. 4 overall in 2016.
Free NFL pick: Cornerback at +100
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