In exactly two weeks, Jaycee Horn will become the newest member of the Dallas Cowboys.
This, according to an unnamed NFL general manager who predicted the Cowboys will use their top pick in the 2021 Draft on the impressive South Carolina cornerback — and not Northwestern offensive lineman Rashawn Slater, as several mocks have forecast.
“Nobody really talks about their offensive line being an issue, but the left tackle (Tyron Smith) has missed games (26 over the last five seasons). I don’t really see a defensive lineman worth taking that early. Maybe they take Horn. Their people were at that workout. I think it’s either Horn or the Northwestern tackle. I think it will be Horn,” the anonymous GM told The Athletic’s Mike Sando.
For what it’s worth, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. recently projected the Cowboys — currently holding the No. 10 overall choice — to trade down to 15 and nab Horn, netting significant capital in the process.
“Dallas trades back five spots with New England, gains what would likely be a 2022 first-round pick and is able to plug a need at No. 15,” Kiper wrote. “The Cowboys’ defense was dreadful last season, and they lost starting corner Chidobe Awuzie in free agency. They can pair Horn with 2020 second-round pick Trevon Diggs, who had a nice rookie season. The knock on Horn is that he had only two career interceptions, but that ball production should come in time.”
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The son of former New Orleans Saints star Joe Horn, Jaycee registered 69 solo tackles, 23 pass deflections and two interceptions across 30 career appearances for the Gamecocks. He opted out of the 2020 campaign with three games remaining due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound cover man blazed the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds at his March Pro Day, solidifying himself as a first-round prospect. Depending on who you ask, Horn is the top available CB in this year’s class, surpassing Alabama’s Patrick Surtain and Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley, whose stock was torpedoed by offseason back surgery.
“Horn has a long and stocky frame that is built for competing with X-receivers in the NFL,” The Draft Network’s Joe Marino wrote. “His size, length, and physicality show up in coverage where he is highly disruptive in press and ultra competitive at the catch point. The concerns with Horn show up primarily as a tackler and playing off-man coverage. Unfortunately, Horn doesn’t play to his weight class as a tackler and there are too many missed tackles on film. Additionally, Horn can be guilty of guessing when mirroring routes, leading to false steps, which is problematic given how segmented his transitions can be in the first place. If used correctly and with development, Horn can be a quality starter, especially if his ball skills continue to progress as they did in 2020.”
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