Dallas Cowboys rumored to be split on first-round cornerbacks

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (left) and son, executive vice president Stephen Jones (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (left) and son, executive vice president Stephen Jones (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /

Entering the 2021 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys are overwhelmingly favored to draft a cornerback with their top selection in the first round, 10th overall. And that’s due both to team need and the fact that the two top cornerback prospects are expected to be available when the Cowboys’ number is called on Thursday night.

For months the speculation was been that Dallas was the predestined landing spot for either Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II or South Carolina corner Jaycee Horn. Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley was in the mix as well prior to his offseason back surgery that seemingly sent his stock plummeting, although he isn’t expected to fall out of the first round.

Even on the precipice of the draft itself, the debate rages on as to who is the better fit for the Cowboys: Surtain or Horn? And apparently, that debate is even being had in the heart of the Cowboys’ draft war room.

Here’s what Pro Football Network’s Chief Draft Analyst and NFL Insider Tony Pauline wrote about the rumor he’s hearing concerning the front office in Frisco being split over the draft’s top two cornerbacks.

"“There’s a 50/50 split in the front office right now as to whether the team should take Patrick Surtain or Jaycee Horn with the tenth pick. As stated last week, during the Draft Insiders podcast with Trey Wingo — while Surtain is presently higher rated on my board, two years down the road I believe Horn can be the better cornerback.”"

Is it more concerning that there might not be a consensus on which cornerback the Cowboys should draft at No. 10 or a relief that both players are considered to be that close to one another skill-wise?

Of the two, Surtain is viewed as the safer bet and more polished player. But NFL.com Analyst Bucky Brooks thinks Horn is the best pure man-to-man cover corner in the draft.

According to The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, the choice could ultimately come down to scheme fit. Brugler points out that we’re still unsure exactly what scheme new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will choose to run in Dallas this season.

If Quinn decides to implement a more traditional cover-3 scheme, like he did as the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks, Surtain is the better choice. If the Cowboys want to use more of a press-man scheme, Horn would be better suited for it.

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Fans of the Dallas Cowboys won’t have to wait long to find out the answer as the draft kicks off Thursday night. In fact, that choice could be made for the Cowboys if either prospect is drafted before their selection in the first round. And there’s even the possibility both Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn are off the board completely when the team’s number is called.