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Ex-NFL GM: Even if Kyle Pitts is still on the board, Cowboys should resist temptation, draft Patrick Surtain II

Former Miami Dolphins and New York Jets executive Mike Tannenbaum said Pitts is “super special,” but Surtain “will be a high-level corner for a very long time.”

Alabama defensive back Patrick Surtain II (2) defends against Notre Dame during the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game in Arlington, Texas, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021.
Alabama defensive back Patrick Surtain II (2) defends against Notre Dame during the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game in Arlington, Texas, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021.(Michael Ainsworth / AP)

Speculation about the Cowboys potentially moving up to draft Kyle Pitts surfaced after ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said Jerry Jones is “infatuated” with the Florida tight end.

Now the debate among fans and media alike has become should the Cowboys go for the talent of Pitts in the upcoming draft, or stick to filling one of their needs on defense?

To Mike Tannenbaum, the choice is easy.

The former executive for the Miami Dolphins and general manager for the New York Jets has the Cowboys taking Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II 10th in his mock draft for ESPN. Tannenbaum has Pitts going to the NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles two picks later at No. 12.

During an appearance on the G-Bag Nation on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM] recently, Tannenbaum made his case for why the Cowboys need to prioritize Surtain over Pitts.

“Patrick Surtain checks every box. Measurables, intangibles, physical. When you look at how he plays, the tape matches his numbers,” Tannenbaum said. “They’re desperate for somebody opposite [of] Trevon Diggs and that, to me, is an easy, easy decision.”

While it may be clear that the Cowboys have more of a need for Surtain, it’s hard to deny Pitts’ talent. During his junior year with Florida last year, he had 43 receptions for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns. He won the John Mackey Award that year, which recognizes the nation’s top tight end in college football in a single season.

Tannenbaum called Pitts a top-five player and Surtain a top-eight player in this class. However, he still thinks the Cowboys need to select the Alabama corner.

“I think Pitts is going to be super special, but they already have so many great weapons in Dallas. They’ve done such an amazing job amassing talent on that side of the ball. They can’t get off the field on third down, they can’t rush the passer,” Tannenbaum said. “To me, it starts with someone foundationally like Surtain... Everything about [Surtain] to me tells me he’s going to be a high-level corner for a very long time.”

What the Cowboys should do is one thing. But trying to predict what Jones and company will do if Pitts is still on the board at No. 10 is a whole different story.

Just like this year, the Cowboys were in desperate need of defensive help going into last year’s draft. But when star Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb somehow was still available at No. 17, the Cowboys scooped him up in a heartbeat.

After Lamb recorded 935 receiving yards and five touchdowns in his rookie season, the Cowboys can certainly argue the pick was worth it. On the other side of that, the Cowboys’ defense allowed a franchise-record 473 points in 2020.

Will the Cowboys prioritize star-level offensive talent again in 2021? The world will find out when the Cowboys are on the clock on April 29.

Find more Cowboys coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

In This Story

Selby Lopez, Digital Sports Producer. Since graduating from UT-Arlington in Dec. 2017, Selby Lopez joined The Dallas Morning News staff as a digital sports producer. He also is the beat reporter for the WNBA's Dallas Wings and is a blogger for all Baylor sports.

selby.lopez@dallasnews.com /selby.lopez.31 @LopezSelby31 Instagram Iconselbylopez31
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