2. Jaycee Horn
Every draft has risers and fallers, and this year South Carolina corner Jaycee Horn has shot up draft boards. Horn was always seen as a very good prospect and his ascent is warranted and not as dramatic as some players in previous years, but the injuries to Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley opened the door for him and Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II (more on him in a minute) to clearly become the consensus top two corners on many draft boards.
Horn is the type of corner who excels in man coverage and is lauded for his aggression getting to the ball. If the Cowboys are looking for a corner who can go man to man with any receiver and lock them down all over the field, I am not sure there is a player singularly better at that in this draft than Horn.
Famously, there was only one wide receiver to earn more than 50 yards against Horn in college, it was Alabama’s Devonta Smith who had 60 and won the Heisman Trophy last year. In 2020 Horn also averaged 27.4 coverage snaps per catch allowed, a mark that led the country.
Don’t forget, Cowboys’ head coach Mike McCarthy also has a personal connection to Horn, as he coached his father, former Pro Bowl wide receiver Joe Horn. McCarthy tends to be pretty loyal to his guys- he did after all employ Mike Nolan all of last season- and I could see a situation where those family ties could really matter as the seconds keep ticking by while Dallas is on the clock.
From 1995-1998 McCarthy was the quarterbacks coach for the Kansas City Chiefs and from 2000-2004 he was the offensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints. The common denominator here? Well, none other than the aforementioned Joe Horn. From 1996-1998 Horn was a member of the Chiefs and throughout McCarthy’s tenure in New Orleans, he was a main focal point of the offense, even setting the Saints career record for receiving touchdowns.
Recently, the team released some snippets of their virtual interview with Horn on social media, helping to stoke the flame that when the commissioner Roger Goodell announces the Dallas Cowboys’ pick in the draft this Thursday night, he could be reading Horn’s name as he does it.