Are Cowboys Looking To Trade Down And Then Trade Up Again?

Apparently, the Cowboys are interested in Shea McClellin, but they'd probably have to move up from their second round pick to get him.

This morning, the following headline shouted down at me from the front page of the Dallas Morning News, "Stephen Jones: If right guy isn't there at 14, Cowboys prepared to trade down." In the brief article, Stephen Jones explains where the Cowboys stand regarding a possible trade down scenario:

"I think you’ve got to be willing and able to make some good, quick decisions. If the right guy is there, a guy that has equal value to the 14 pick or better value, I would submit to you we pick away.

"I don’t think it’s probably in the cards this time that we move up. But if the right guy is not there for the value, we’ve got to be prepared to move down.’’

I'm not generally a proponent of trading down - unless you're trading down not because it gives you an extra pick per se, but because you could use that pick to trade back up again. Is that what the Cowboys could be looking to do?

Last year, there were indications that the Cowboys had considered moving moving back into the first round to grab RB Mark Ingram. After the break, we look at why trading down and then back up could be an option again this year.

Yesterday, we published the latest Cowboys Pre-Draft Visit Tracker here on BTB. Here's a look at the nine highest ranked players on the invite list.

Cowboys Draft Prospects invited for a Pre-Draft Visit
POS Proj. Round Player School CBS Rank Drafttek Rank
DT 1 Fletcher Cox Mississippi State 7 12
DT 1 Michael Brockers LSU 14 18
OG 1 David DeCastro Stanford 15 9
CB 1 Dre Kirkpatrick Alabama 16 25
DT 1 Dontari Poe Memphis 17 26
CB 1 Stephon Gilmore South Carolina 19 16
S 1 Mark Barron Alabama 20 19
OG 1 Cordy Glenn Georgia 21 27
OLB 1 Courtney Upshaw Alabama 22 14

What struck me about this invite list is that outside of Fletcher Cox and David DeCastro, both CBSSports and Drafttek rank the remaining visitors to Valley Ranch as picks in the mid teens to mid twenties, the ideal area for a trade-down. In fact, it looks like the Cowboys were preparing for just such an eventuality all along. In a little statistical quirk, the Cowboys visited with all prospects that CBS has ranked from number 14 through 22, only leaving out the 18th ranked WR Kendall Wright.

Additionally, Draftinsider.net is reporting that, much to my delight, the Cowboys have taken a keen interest in Boise State OLB Shea McClellin.

Fast rising Shea McClellin of Boise State is getting a lot of consideration at middle/inside linebacker by a number of teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, who we reported last week will explore trading down from the 14th spot. McClellin showed at the Senior Bowl he could quickly adjust to a number of traditional linebacker spots. McLellin continues to move north on draft boards. We were told one franchise tried to squeeze him in for a last minute visit but there was no room on the schedule.

McClellin is unlikely to be available for the Cowboys at #45. CBS and Drafttek have him ranked 31st and 41st respectively, and many mocks are projecting McClellin into the bottom of the first round to the likes of the Packers or Patriots.

Stephen Jones said the Cowboys would stay put if the 'right guy' with the right value is there at 14. Going purely off the invite list and the rankings above, only two prospects fit that bill, Fletcher Cox and David DeCastro. DeCastro looks increasingly likely to land with the Kansas City Chiefs, and Cox is a popular mock draft choice for the Jaguars at #7 and the Panthers at #9. So it's not unreasonable to expect that both could have been drafted by the time the Cowboys are on the clock. So if those two are gone, do the Cowboys trade down?

There are many scenarios that could work in a trade-down-and-trade-up-again scenario, but here's one: The Cowboys trade their 14th and 113th picks (1,1168 pts) for Cincinnati's 21st and 53rd (1,070). The Bengals pick Dre Kirkpatrick with the 14th pick, and with the 21st pick, the Cowboys take their pick of whoever is left atop their draft board: S Mark Barron, CB Stephon Gilmore, OG Cordy Glenn, OLB Whitney Mercilus or OLB Courtney Upshaw, or perhaps one of the defensive tackles if they're still around.

The Cowboys then package their own 45th and 81st (635 pts) to move into San Francisco's 30th spot (620), one spot ahead of the Patriots, where Shea McClellin, OLB Andre Branch, OT James Brown or OG/OC Kevin Zeitler, DE Nick Perry, TE Coby Fleener and many others could be waiting. Almost any combination of these names available at #19 and #30 would be a great haul, and the Cowboys would still have the 53rd pick in the second round left.

Assuming your 'right guys' are gone (in this case: DeCastro and Cox) would you be open to a trade-down-and-trade-up-again scenario?

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