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Dallas Cowboys reportedly eyeing surprise player with No. 10 pick

Matt Johnson

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The Dallas Cowboys are making their final preparations for the 2021 NFL Draft, with an opportunity to land a marquee talent after landing the No. 10 overall pick.

Dallas could go in a number of directions with its first-round pick. Owner Jerry Jones is infatuated with Kyle Pitts, but it would likely require moving up to No. 4 overall to land him. If the Cowboys stay at No. 9 overall, cornerback Patrick Surtain II has been a popular selection in mock drafts.

There’s also the possibility of trading down. While Dallas already has two third- and fourth-round picks, there’s a realistic chance they decide to slide down from No. 10 overall. Recent NFL Draft rumors have suggested the organization likes linebacker Zaven Collins and safety Trevon Moehrig, players expected to be drafted in the 20-25 range.

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A decision won’t be made until Jones and the Cowboys are on the clock with the 10th pick on April 29. But it seems there might be a clear favorite in Dallas.

Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline reports that if Oregon Ducks offensive tackle Penei Sewell falls to No. 10 overall, the Cowboys view him as far too talented to pass up and he will instantly be the selection.

Dallas Cowboys mock draft: Latest 7-round 2021 NFL Draft projection

While picking Sewell over a shutdown cornerback (Surtain)or an athletic edge like Kwity Paye might seem surprising, it would make sense for Dallas.

How Penei Sewell fits with the Dallas Cowboys

The Dak Prescott contract is a huge commitment to this franchise and a sign that the offensive line will be a greater priority moving forward. Dallas dominated in the trenches for years, but injuries and the sudden retirement of Travis Frederick have dealt a major blow to this unit.

Tyron Smith, a seven-time Pro Bowl selection at left tackle, played in just two games before undergoing season-ending neck surgery. While he just turned 30 in December, Smith hasn’t played a full season since 2015 and has missed 26 games dating back to 2016.

On the right side, offensive tackle La’el Collins missed the entire 2020 campaign due to a hip injury. He carries a $20.75 million dead cap figure this season, but Dallas could make him a post-June 1 cut next spring and create $10 million in cap space.

Related: The case for and against Dallas Cowboys winning the NFC East

Sewell, the No.3 player on our NFL Draft big board, is an elite prospect. He is a 6-foot-6, 325-pound tackle who moves like a safety. While he sat out the 2020 season, Pro Football Focus credits him with allowing just two quarterback hits and five hurries in 491 pass-blocks snaps as a 19-year-old sophomore in 2019.

He could start immediately at left guard, playing alongside Smith. If one of the starting tackles gets hurt, the rookie would instantly provide a pillar to protect the edge. If everyone stays healthy, he could kick out to tackle in 2022 and allow Dallas to move things around.

While the Cowboys’ secondary is a major weak spot, Prescott’s contract makes this offense the priority. One of the highest-paid players in the NFL must be protected and Sewell, if he even makes it to No. 10 overall, is the perfect player to do that.