A slow start to NFL free agency for the Dallas Cowboys picked up in a big way when they went on to sign safeties Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee to headline the beginning of a new defensive era in North Texas, but as Dan Quinn readies to tackle his first NFL draft for the Cowboys, time will tell if the organization awards him more firepower with the 10th overall pick. They're already showing intense interest in possibly doing just that -- having attended pro days for both Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn -- both having punctuated their promising collegiate careers with exceptional pre-draft measurables.
So, if both Surtain and Horn are available, Quinn will need a bib to keep the drool from hitting his shirt. The same might be said for Horn, who has at least somewhat allowed himself to imagine playing in Dallas.
"It would definitely be big to be drafted by the Cowboys," the former Gamecock told 105.3FM the Fan. "A team with a lot of history."
Of course, he'd inject more context into that statement, as to not potentially alienate any other clubs.
"But anywhere I go, I'll be happy to suit up for that team," he added.
Horn is a consensus first-round pick who many don't believe will escape the top 15, and for good reason. His skill set readily transfers to the NFL level as a starter, and his sub-4.5s 40-yard dash certainly isn't dampening interest. And as far as his decision to opt out in 2020, when asked, he doesn't mince words -- noting it was because his family was battling COVID-19.
"I give them the straight up answer," Horn said, via Gamecock Central. "Going into Ole Miss week -- my mom and grandparents are from Mississippi. My mom and my two younger siblings went down a couple weeks early. My two younger siblings caught COVID, my grandparents got it and my aunt, who is considered high risk got it, and ultimately she passed. That was the main reason I opted out: getting a chance to spend time with them, with my aunt especially, before I went out for training.
"After the season with training, you don't get any time to chill with your family. After I heard the news about my aunt, I wanted to spend time with my family before moving on to the next stage of my life."
His next stage of life will involve what NFL team he plays for, and there's a good chance it could be for the Cowboys. The race on their board between he and Surtain is neck-and-neck, but it's also contingent upon what happens before Dallas goes on the clock.