The 2021 NFL draft is only some days away, and everyone seems to more or less know what the Cowboys are going to do with their tenth general choose. It’s turn into more and more possible that, barring one other nice prospect falling to Dallas, the choose might be a cornerback. However the debate is between Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II and South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn.
The overall consensus amongst lead draft consultants is that Surtain is the higher participant, however there’s a major contingent of people that want Horn. Florida tight finish Kyle Pitts appears to be in that contingent, not too long ago telling the Cowboys that Horn is the hardest participant he confronted this previous season.
However which one is the higher choose for Dallas? The Cowboys are reportedly selecting between the 2, and Stephen Jones has seemingly admitted as a lot. And on this ultimate week, the place new rumors pop up each hour on the hour, there’s no option to know which approach the Cowboys are leaning.
Cowboys VP Stephen Jones on @1053thefan on Patrick Surtain II vs. Jaycee Horn: “It’s an awesome debate. I can guarantee you there’s been no ultimate choice on that.”
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) April 23, 2021
Each gamers provide loads of worth on the cornerback place in numerous methods. Surtain has been deemed the consensus prime cornerback largely because of how polished he is as a participant. The son of former Dolphins and Chiefs cornerback Patrick Surtain, the Alabama cornerback has been groomed for the place his entire life. It’s why he ended up going to Alabama, the place Nick Saban helped develop him into top-of-the-line defensive backs within the nation.
Surtain gives a ton of technical refinement you simply don’t usually see from rookie corners, and will realistically are available in and begin proper from the start. There have been issues over his athleticism, however Surtain put these to relaxation with an unreal Professional Day efficiency that new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn attended.
Surtain additionally has a few connections to the Cowboys already. Trevon Diggs, the Cowboys’ prime nook from final yr, performed with Surtain at Alabama and the possibility to reunite these two on this protection is definitely intriguing. However on prime of that, Cowboys cornerbacks coach Al Harris, additionally a former star nook, may be very shut with Surtain Sr. and has apparently identified Jr. for some time now. It could appear that Harris is Group Surtain.
However Horn isn’t brief on connections to this workforce both. His father, Joe Horn, was a really productive receiver for the Saints again within the day as properly; 5 of his seven seasons enjoying in New Orleans got here with Mike McCarthy as his offensive coordinator. McCarthy is claimed to nonetheless be shut with Horn, and that’s performed an element within the workforce’s curiosity in Jaycee Horn.
However there’s greater than that, too. Whereas McCarthy ought to have good perception to who Horn is as an individual, the workforce additionally has an awesome line of knowledge into Horn the participant. His head coach at South Carolina, Will Muschamp, is “greatest buddies” with Quinn in line with Bryan Broaddus. Certainly, Quinn and Muschamp had been each assistants on Nick Saban’s Dolphins groups in 2005 and 2006 (the place, coincidentally, Jason Garrett additionally coached), and Quinn was additionally Muschamp’s first defensive coordinator for the Florida Gators. Quinn ended up leaving two years later for the Seahawks defensive coordinator gig, however the two share a bond that undoubtedly has Quinn at the least considerably leaning in direction of Horn.
However having buddies in the precise locations isn’t all Horn has going for him. He’s a wildly athletic cornerback with the alpha mindset, and he performs that approach. Horn may be very bodily and aggressive in protection and has sparked a number of Richard Sherman comparisons with how a lot he talks to opposing receivers.
However the challenge for some is that Horn relied far an excessive amount of on the extra lenient contact guidelines in faculty to carry up receivers. To that finish, he jogs my memory of Michigan State’s Trae Waynes, who was chosen eleventh general by the Vikings again in 2015. Waynes impressed groups along with his aggressive play and talent to close down opponents within the Large Ten.
But it surely took Waynes far too lengthy to regulate to the NFL guidelines, incessantly getting referred to as for cross interference penalties and getting beat when he wasn’t holding. It wasn’t till the 2017 season that Waynes actually grew right into a extra dependable all-around cornerback. That progress allowed Minnesota to select up his fifth-year choice, however they didn’t hassle re-signing him after that in an offseason the place cornerback was an enormous want for them.
Waynes is definitely not the primary, and positively received’t be the final, instance of a handsy faculty nook not translating properly to the NFL. However he’s essentially the most apt comparability for Horn due to the assertion that Dallas take him tenth general, one spot sooner than Minnesota took Waynes. Moreover, Minnesota handed on each Marcus Peters and Byron Jones that yr to make Waynes the primary nook off the board.
Now, possibly Horn isn’t the following Waynes and is extra so the following Richard Sherman or Aqib Talib. He definitely has the pedigree to make the changes that Waynes didn’t make. However this in the end comes all the way down to a debate between polish and upside, Surtain and Horn.
In Surtain, the Cowboys roughly know what they’re getting: a essentially sound cowl nook who ought to thrive in Quinn’s scheme reverse Diggs. Surtain ought to go on to be named to a number of Professional Bowls and All Professional groups, however will he turn into the following Jalen Ramsey? Probably not.
Horn might, although. He’s not essentially there but, however he’s displayed each the expertise and perspective to get there. However Horn can also be more likely to have some rising pains, as most rookie corners do, as he adjusts his recreation to accommodate extra strict protection guidelines on the NFL degree.
If the Cowboys are in search of a positive factor to assist full their rebuilt secondary, Surtain is the apparent selection. In the event that they wish to take a little bit of of venture on upside, Horn is the choose. It’s an attention-grabbing debate available, and solely time will inform which prospect turns into the higher participant. Right here’s hoping the Cowboys find yourself on the precise facet of that debate both approach.