What's the best haul I could get the Cowboys with realistic trade scenarios? What I'll do is attempt to maneuver in the best interest of the teams picking. I only considered a trade up if I had a specific reason for doing so. I think Houston is looking for their DeMarcus Ware. I think New England will sit tight and enjoy the falling value. I think Jacksonville's front office is in full risk/reward mode.
Let's say that all of the elite prospects (Dareus, Peterson, Fairley, Miller, in my opinion) are off the board when Dallas picks. Dallas likes certain players but wants to get the most value out of their selections. They like Tyron Smith the most, but also like other draft prospects in Smith's ‘tier'. How could they get the most bang for their buck? We'd need a perfect storm of prior picks and draft boards for this to occur, but let's see what could be possible.
Say Gabbert, Newton, Green and Jones round out the top 8 with the elites from above.
1. CAR: Cam Newton, QB Auburn
2. DEN: Marcel Dareus, DT, Alabama
3. BUF: Von Miller, LB Texas A&M
4. CIN: AJ Green, WR Georgia
5. ARI: Blaine Gabbert, QB Missouri
6. CLE: Julio Jones, WR Alabama
7. SF: Patrick Peterson, CB LSU
8. TEN: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
That seems fairly realistic, and yes, that description could end here. I'll employ the trade up/trade down scenario talked about by OCC. Let's pose that Houston wants to jump Washington for Robert Quinn, to be the 3-4 pass rusher for Wade Phillips. Dallas adds picks 105 and 178.
9. HOU: Robert Quinn, OLB, UNC
10. WAS: Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri
Is there a player that Minny (pick #12) could be targeting that another team also has their sight set on? That's what would be necessary for Dallas to move back again.
Da'Quan Bowers. Jacksonville's biggest team needs are 4-3 defensive end and corner, and coach Del Rio knows the front seven fuels the secondary. Dallas gains picks #80 and #114.
11. JAC: Da'Quan Bowers, DE Clemson
12. MIN: Cam Jordan, DE Cal
13. DET: Tyron Smith, OT USC
14. STL: Ryan Kerrigan, DE Purdue
15. MIA: Jake Locker, QB Washington
Current haul: pick #16, 40, 71, 80, 105, 110, 114, 143, 176, 178, 220, 252
Dallas still has the choice to select Amukamara, Carimi, Castonzo, or Watt. Who is New England high on that someone else might want? JJ Watt and San Diego, who has a boatload of picks. Dallas gives up 16+114 (1066pts) for 18+89+183(1063).
16. SD: J.J. Watt, DE Wisconsin
17: NE: Anthony Castonzo, OT Boston College
With the 18th selection in the 2011 draft, Dallas select"
OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin.
Current haul: Carimi, #'s 40, 71, 80, 89, 105, 110, 143, 176, 178, 183, 220, 252.
19: NYG: Corey Liguet, DT Illinois
20: TB: Prince Amukamara, CB Nebraska
21: KC: Mike Pouncey, C Florida
22: IND: Nate Solder, OT Colorado
23: PHI: Jimmy Smith, CB Colorado
24: NO: Adrian Clayborn, DE Iowa
Seattle wants to bail and get extra picks, offers up pick #25 (720pts). We give them #'s 40, 89, 143, 176 & 178(721pts) and select:
25: DAL: Muhammad Wilkerson, DE Temple
Current haul: Carimi, Wilkerson, #'s 71, 80, 105, 110, 183, 220, 252.
This could result in this seven round Cowboys mock (availability based on projections from drafttek.com, National Football Post and Rich Gosselin's top 10 by position rankings):
#18 - Carimi, OT
#25 - Wilkerson, DE
#71 - Will Rackley, OG Lehigh
#80 - Ras-I Dowling, CB Virginia
#105 - Ahmad Black, FS Florida
#110 - Bruce Carter, ILB UNC
#183 - Stevan Ridley, RB LSU
#220 - Andre Holmes, WR Hillsdale
#252 - Alex Wujciak, ILB Maryland
UDFA: TJ Yates, QB UNC
UDFA: Leslie Jasper, DT Bethel
With this, what I consider a maximum haul, here's how I foresee the roster outlook for 2011.
OL - Dallas isn't paying a ransom for their day one right tackle, Gabe Carimi, leaving Doug Free his money and the team to sign a young interior lineman vet (Blalock, Brisiel, Incognito) the same way they signed Kosier a few years back. The team re-signs Kosier and releases Bigg Davis. Phil Costa and Will Rackley are the future guard/center replacements. Find someone to compete with Sam Young who could be more of a swing tackle.
QB - All's well here, especially if a sleeper like Yates makes it out of the draft. The Boys would be wise to have him compete with McGee for future #2 behind Romo and Kitna.
WR - Austin and Bryant are starting the season and the Boys need someone to allow them to move on from Roy Williams, either this or next year. Kevin Ogletree, AFL star Troy Bergeron, and Holmes sounds like a good camp battle. Plus Johnson, Holley and Teddy Williams..
TE - No news here unless Bennett is traded for a future pick. Witten-Phillips-Bennett: we are dominant here.
DL - Ratliff stays at DT, with Brent and Jasper both playing roles in RR's exotic schemes and rotation. Bowen and Wilkerson make this possibly a dominant line. Hatcher resigned? Olshansky can stay or leave, as long as he's not playing a lot for us.
LB: OLB remains as is with Ware, Spencer and Butler but a more disruptive DL in front of them. James and Lee add Bruce Carter in this mix, plus a project in the thumper Wujciak from UMD. Brooking is expendable but could still help.
CB/SS: Dowling gives the Boys four legit cornerbacks, plus Bryan McCann and the above improved front seven. See what training camp looks like and decide on Terence Newman's salary. Dallas can address the safety position in free agency with the Davis and Barber money. Recently I've been crushing on a Quinton Mikell-Brodney Pool power play, but will have AOA, Ahmad Black, and Barry Church ready to make an impact next season.