Despite Jerry Jones’ rumored obsession with Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, a presumptive top-10 lock in the upcoming draft, the Dallas Cowboys czar might have tipped his hand on a recent free-agent signing.
The Dallas Morning News‘ Michael Gehlken, as plugged into organizational matters as they come, indicated Wednesday’s addition of Jeremy Sprinkle — now the fourth TE among the offseason roster — removes the Cowboys from the Pitts sweepstakes.
Wittingly confident, Gehlken predicted the team instead will use its first-round choice (No. 10 overall) on Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II, as many mock drafts have suggested.
“Cowboys are well-stocked at tight end. They won’t be drafting Kyle Pitts this month (and likely won’t have opportunity at No. 10). Feel pretty Surtain of it,” he tweeted Wednesday.
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The Push for Pitts
Connecting the Cowboys to the Gators’ jaw-dropping pass-catcher — one of, if not the most complete TE prospects in a generation — has been a trendy exercise for national media types. Ex-NFL general manager Michael Lombardi opened the floodgates last month, urging the club to “sprint” Pitts’ card to the podium should he fall to No. 10.
The bandwagon picked up steam after ESPN insider Chris Mortensen reported Jones is “infatuated” with Pitts and reportedly mulling a blockbuster move to Atlanta’s fourth-overall spot to secure the 20-year-old’s services.
“Well, I’ll admit that he’s a perfect fit for Dan Quinn the new defensive coordinator’s scheme, Patrick Surtain II that is,” Mortensen explained earlier this week. “However, we’re hearing this thing about Jerry Jones, the owner of the Cowboys and the GM, being infatuated with Kyle Pitts. So I have figured he’s going to have to trade up to get Kyle Pitts. I don’t agree with [ESPN cohort] Mike [Tannenbaum] about where Pitts has fallen here. I think he’ll offer Emmitt Smith and Larry Allen, maybe throw in Michael Irvin. He doesn’t need Tony Romo but he has Dak Prescott, he spent $40 million a year on Dak Prescott so why not go get Kyle Pitts, or if he actually falls to 10, you couldn’t rule him out.”
There’s a widely-held expectation that Pitts will be long gone when Dallas goes on the clock in Cleveland. Prognosticators have mocked him as high as No. 4, potentially the first non-quarterback selection, and to teams such as Cincinnati (No. 5), Detroit (No. 7), and Denver (No. 9).
“Listen, I don’t think Pitts is going to be available even here [No. 10],” ESPN draft guru Todd McShay said, echoing Mortensen. … “If it is corner and if Kyle Pitts is off the board, Surtain makes the most sense because he is plug-and-play ready. He is a really complete player. He’s physical versus the run.”
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Trade Winds Not Blowing?
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Atlanta is willing to move down and has received feelers from interested parties. Subsequent speculation claimed the Cowboys and New England Patriots are the likeliest trade partners.
However, while Mike Fisher of CowboysSI.com confirmed the Falcons are open for business, Dallas has yet to officially engage new GM Terry Fontenot regarding a bombshell deal.
“That has not happened,” a team source told Fisher.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL