How critical is it for Dallas to use their #9 pick, or trade up, or trade down?
On the one hand, the blue chippers live in the first 10 (or earlier) picks, supposedly, so trading up is the only "guarantee." On the other hand, trading down increases the mathematical odds in the simplest sense. But where are the blue chippers (like Patrick Peterson) vs. the silver chippers (like Larry Allen) in the draft?
Using years 2005-2010 as a comparison, these picks produced pro bowl players:
Pick 1-10: 15
Pick 11-20: 16
Pick 21-30: 17
Pick 31-40: 4
Pick 41-50: 8
Pick 51-64: 10
Pick 65-96: 3
Based on the law of averages, there is nothing to gain at #9 vs. trading down in the first round. On the other extreme, never trade down into round 3. It's barren. Yes there is an occasional gem and the Cowboys are relatively good at it (see the recent posts on the topic), but you are relying on a 60-1 shot to solve a problem.
There is also the cost value. Sample contracts last year ...
Pick 9 5yrs/$50M
Pick 14 5yrs/$21M
Pick 17 5yrs/$18M
Pick 28 5yrs/$13M
Pick 40 4yrs/$4M
You can almost buy 4 starters for the price of 1. Is any player, besides a QB, worth that?
Let's assume Peterson is the next Deion Sanders. Let's assume Smith is the next Walter Jones. I would still trade down.
[Caveat: I realize "pro bowl" status is a bit of a popularity contest, but in the end it's a good enough measure.]