Sun, 16 May 2021

Mick Shots: With Draft Nearing, Eye On 2021

Dallas Cowboys
08 Apr 2021, 20:24 GMT+10

Mickey Spagnola

FRISCO, Texas - Starting to feel a draft.

And has nothing to do with the 20 mph winds blowing through these parts the last couple of days.

Nope the Cowboys selecting 10th overall, previous QB runs in the draft, a potential rocky road and a special birthday shoutout.e, the NFL Draft, April 29, now just 22 days away, the Cowboys holding the 10th pick in the first round, the first time in their 61st draft in franchise history they've held that pick. Now, they've had the ninth pick once, turning into Tyron Smith in 2011, and twice the 11th pick, Michael Irvin in 1988 and DeMarcus Ware in 2005.

But never the 10th pick ... until this year.

And get this: Only 15 other times since their very first draft in 1961 have the Cowboys owned a top-10 pick.

Winning in the NFL does have its disadvantages.

But you can sense the draft is near. Those yearly draft guides are coming out, including the official 2021 _Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine Draft Guide_. Mock drafts are springing up faster than front-lawn weeds. Third versions of mocks are out, and funny thing is, I've seen one that's made three different picks at No. 10 for the Cowboys, and each time all three of the picks were available. Not sure what changed.

And think about this: With a huge possibility of five quarterbacks going in the top 10, along with two wide receivers, maybe a tight end and two offensive tackles, and if we are to assume none of those positions appeal to the Cowboys, then their 10th spot might just be high-priced real estate for teams looking to move up.

Just remember, with the draft now within three weeks, it's that time of year for loose shots flying around.

Just Curious: Was just thinking the other day, with the first three teams in the draft, the Jaguars, Jets and 49ers, seemingly set on selecting a quarterback, and the possibility at No. 4 of Atlanta maybe grabbing one or trading out of the spot with a team in quarterback need, has there ever been a draft with quarterbacks selected in the first four picks? Answer: Never. Best I could find was quarterbacks taken with the first three picks two times. First in 1971: Jim Plunkett, Archie Manning and Dan Pastorini. But not another quarterback until the fourth pick in the third round (Lynn Dickey). Then in 1999: Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb and Akili Smith. In fact, five QBs were taken in the top 12 with Daunte Culpepper at No. 11 and Cade McNown at 12. Not another until Shaun King with the 50th pick. The latest huge run on quarterbacks occurred in 2018 with four drafted in the top 10: 1. Baker Mayfield; 3. Sam Darnold; 7. Josh Allen; 10. Josh Rosen. Sam The Man: Speaking of Sam Darnold, assuming Carolina traded those three picks to the Jets to acquire Darnold as its starting quarterback, not good news for the Cowboys. They play Carolina at AT&T this season, and Darnold sure did a number on the Cowboys in 2019 in their only meeting with him. Who can forget his 92-yard touchdown pass to Robbie Anderson that day at MetLife Stadium. Remember? Darnold led the Jets to that 24-22 victory over the Cowboys when he completed 23 of 32 passes for 338 yards, two touchdowns, two sacks, two interceptions and a 113.8 QB rating in his first game back after being sidelined with mono. Darnold also completed two passes for 48 yards worth late in the game to set up what turned out to be the Jets' game-deciding field goal with 3:24 remaining. Oh, and the Panthers also have Anderson now, too. Rocky Road: Last week we discussed New England becoming the Cowboys' 14th opponent in what now will be a 17-game season, which also includes the three NFC East teams, four teams from the NFC South, four teams from the AFC West and the third-place teams from the NFC North and NFC West. This dawned on me, too. Doesn't seem as though the Cowboys have a very good record the last time they've met all these teams. And they haven't, going 5-9. Look at it this way: In 2020, they lost the last game of the season to the Giants, lost both games to Washington and lost to the Cardinals and Vikings while beating the Eagles and Falcons. That's 2-4. In fact, the Cowboys have lost five of their last six games to Arizona and the last two to Minnesota (last win 2010). OK, then they have lost the last two meetings to Carolina, the last six to Denver (last win in 1995), lost the last three to the Chargers (last win 2005), the last six to New England (last win 1996 after beating the Patriots in their first seven meetings) and the last meeting with New Orleans, with a 3-10 record against the Saints going back to 1998. But at least the Cowboys have won their last meetings with the Raiders, Chiefs and Buccaneers, beating Tampa Bay the last two times and in seven of the last eight. But overall, tough sledding. More Shots: Happy birthday to Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett, turning 67 today ... And did you realize when Dorsett finished his All-American career at Pittsburgh, his 2,150 yards rushing in 1976 was the single-season NCAA record, winning him the Heisman Trophy and leading Pitt to a national championship? . . . The Cowboys moved up to No. 2 in the first round to grab the star running back in exchange for just their first rounder and three second-round choices, Dorsett then helping the Cowboys to consecutive Super Bowl appearances ... BTW, on that Pitt coaching staff that title year were future Cowboys coaches Joe Avezzano (offensive coordinator and offensive line) and Dave Wannstedt (grad assistant) ... Dave Campo was at Pitt in 1975, and in 1977 there was Jimmy Johnson and Tony Wise ... The Cowboys agreed to terms with safety/linebacker Keanu Neal two and a half weeks ago, but he still hasn't officially signed his deal, essentially one-year, $4 million. And for good reason. As our Nick Eatman pointed out on the Cowboys Break podcast, an ear issue has prevented Neal from flying in. Nothing nefarious going on ... The Cowboys added two more players, veteran punter Bryan Anger and veteran tight end Jeremy Sprinkle, both to one-year contracts. Nothing wrong with either position, but competition is always welcomed.

Last word, and I do mean word, goes to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who reportedly used the word "infatuated" with our buddy Chris Mortenson when talking about Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, considered by some a top-5 draft prospect. Of course Jerry is. So is most everyone else. But tight end had nothing to do in the first six games of the 2020 season with the Cowboys giving up 20, 39, 38, 49, 34 and 38 points. Drafting a tight end in the first sure would put a lot of trust and pressure on new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to fix what's been ailing the Cowboys defense.

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