The Dallas Cowboys have said they are willing to move around on draft day in the 2017 NFL Draft, so we explore some of their potential options to do so.
Trading spots on draft day is the spectacle of the yearly player selection meeting. Some trades are so huge they alter the course of the NFL landscape for years. Others are so incredibly insignificant that we forget they even happen.
First up, a quarterback goes tumbling down the board.
Nov 19, 2016; Ames, IA, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Patrick Mahomes II (5) throws a pass against the Iowa State Cyclones at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Given that none of the quarterbacks are ready to start Week 1, chances are good one will slide. Any team searching for a quarterback will be able to choose from Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, DeShone Kizer and Patrick Mahomes.
Most experts would agree that no player on that list warrants a top-10 selection. The teams that desperately need quarterbacks (the Browns, 49ers, Jets and Bears come to mind) all pick inside the top-10. The Browns may go for a quarterback with their second of two first-round selections. However, that still leaves three quarterbacks to slip to 28.
If that happens, Jerry Jones and Co. should expect their phone to be ringing with a team looking to lock in a fifth-year option on their future signal caller on the other end. To move up from the front of the second round to the back of the first would probably cost a team their second- and third-round choices. Dallas could do very well with an extra third-round choice.
Oct 8, 2016; College Station, TX, USA; Tennessee Volunteers defensive end Derek Barnett (9) and Texas A&M Aggies offensive lineman Avery Gennesy (65) in action during the game at Kyle Field. The Aggies defeat the Volunteers 45-38 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Scenario 2: Premium Edge Rusher Slides
This scenario, unfortunately, is based more off Jerry Jones’ willingness to make a flashy move for a flashy player than the merit of a trade-up. Since the defensive end class is so deep this year, we are looking at three to four defensive ends worthy of top-10 selections. Odds are that at least one will slide out of the top 10. If that were to be the case, I could see the Dallas Cowboys jumping up 15 picks or so to snag who they believe could be their “war daddy.”
The move would be cost prohibitive. According to the Jimmy Johnson Draft Value Chart, picks 10-15 are worth anywhere from 1000-1300 points. To move up from 28, the Cowboys would have to give up their first-, second- and third-round picks. To me, that just seems too expensive.
Scenario 3: Second-Round Double Dip
This scenario has a similar downside to the previous one, in that the Dallas Cowboys are likely giving up picks to make it happen. But, if the value is there, it might prove to be a fruitful trade.
The second round is loaded with starting caliber players this year, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Depending on how the Cowboys stack their board, they could have several players targeted in the mid-to-late second round.
If Jerry Jones believes he is going to lose out on a player his front office is targeting, don’t be surprised if he gives up some later round picks to double dip in the second round. Players like Josh Jones from NC State, Carl Lawson from Auburn and Cordrea Tankersley from Clemson all come to mind as possible trade-up targets in the mid-40s range.
December 2, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Washington Huskies defensive back Sidney Jones (26) defends against Colorado Buffaloes wide receiver Kabion Ento (17) during the fourth quarter in the Pac-12 championship at Levi’s Stadium. The Huskies defeated the Buffaloes 41-10. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Scenario 4: Mortgage Some Future
This is a scenario I originally saw on Twitter and didn’t think too much of it. However, after giving it more thought, I think this move is brilliant, and could wind up getting the Dallas Cowboys a steal on an impact defensive player.
On March 11, at the University of Washington Pro Day, Sidney Jones, a top cornerback prospect, suffered an Achilles injury. This lead to concerns that he may not be able to take the field during the 2017 season.
So, the Dallas Cowboys could opt to trade future draft picks, perhaps next year’s second-rounder and a late-round pick or two, to snag Sidney Jones in the second round of this year’s draft. Essentially, since Jones may not play this year, the Cowboys would be taking a first-round caliber player in the second round of next year’s draft.
If you think about it that way, it’s a very tempting opportunity.
Nov 26, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Syracuse Orange wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo (7) runs after a catch against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Scenario 5: Stockpiling Late
The final scenario is one in which the Dallas Cowboys don’t find a player on their board at 28, 60 or 92 that they are head over heels for. So, they trade it away, and grab some picks later in the draft. Their first-round selection could net them a third-, fourth- and fifth-round pick. The second-rounder could get them a late third and a few picks in the fifth round or later. Their third-round selection could net them a nice haul of late-round compensatory picks.
With all those late picks, the Cowboys could find themselves several future starters, or even late-round gems. For example, in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Dallas took Anthony Brown and started his rookie year. Now he figures to be one of the key components in the Cowboys secondary in the 2017 season. Late-round picks can be very valuable if used correctly.
My personal favorite of the later round players is Syracuse wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo. He’s tall and has good speed, and is excellent at high-pointing the football.
The tricky part of this scenario is simply finding trade partners. With such a deep draft, it may be hard to find teams that are willing to part with picks to move up and get a similar caliber of player.