Jerry Jones says the Cowboys are more likely to trade down than attempt to trade up on draft day.
Which means you can look for them to move up.
Every year, Jones calls a pre-draft press conference. The media dutifully shows up, just in case he addresses other topics besides the draft. As far as the draft itself, anything Jones and the Cowboys says prior to draft day is usually a smokescreen.
Jerry Jones is many things, but most of all he is a shrewd businessman. Why would he tip his hand publicly before the wheeling and dealing begins with Thursday’s first round?
Last year, there was no indication the Cowboys were going to move up. Next thing you know, they’ve done just that to grab Morris Claiborne with the No. 6 overall pick.
The Cowboys had a need for cornerback last year, one that was satisfied in part by the signing of free agent Brandon Carr. Jerry couldn’t resist the chance to add another high-value corner in the draft.
The Cowboys enter this year’s draft with several clearly defined needs. They must get help in the offensive and defensive lines and at safety. With barely any cap room, it’s also clearly defined that much of that help will have to come through the draft.
In a normal year, the Cowboys could get a couple of nice mastodons in the first and second round. However, this year’s draft doesn’t have a lot of elite players at the skill positions.
There aren’t a lot of bright, shiny objects at quarterback, running back and receiver to mesmerize the truly desperate teams at the top of the draft order, or for the “one player away” crowd to trade up for.
The best of the trench warriors aren’t going to be pushed to the back of the first round as they might in a better draft year. So there’s a good chance that even at No. 18, the Cowboys might not get that high-grade lineman they desperately need.
If there’s a safety that new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin can use to make his 4-3 scheme hum, the Cowboys may take one at 18.
More than likely, there’s a lineman or two just out of the Cowboys’ reach that they can get by swapping a few picks.
Will this be a wise move? The Cowboys don’t have a lot of depth on their roster. They have a handful of top players, but there’s a significant drop off after that.
The Cowboys need a lot of good players to fill in the gaps between the great ones. Trading away your picks doesn’t leave you with a lot of gap-fillers. You end up signing players cast off from other organizations just to get by.
Of course, if you stockpile through the draft, then you have to hit on your draft picks. That’s not something the Cowboys have been very successful at doing with their later-round picks.
Trading down to get more picks increases your chances of hitting on them. That would be the common-sense move for a team in the Cowboys’ position.
Which is why the odds are good that Jones won’t do it. Remember, Jones has also said that the window is closing on the opportunity to win a Super Bowl with Tony Romo, and there’s no backup quarterback being groomed as a replacement.
Jones is a businessman, but he’s also a dealmaker. It may take a bold move to get what the Cowboys need in the draft to reach the next level.
There’s no doubt Jones is willing to deal to get his team to the playoffs, it’s just a matter of whether this is the draft to do it.