NFL Draft 2013: Should Cowboys Resist Making Draft-Day Trades?

Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE

Conventional wisdom holds that teams should trust their draft board and take the best talent that slides into their lap. At the same time, moving back a few spots could net you extra picks with which to address holes in your roster. What to do?

Over the last 24 drafts, Jerry Jones and the Cowboys have engineered 62 trades involving draft picks. Some of those trades, like the franchise-defining Hershel Walker trade in 1989, were hugely successful, while others like the acquisition of wide receiver Roy Williams were unmitigated disasters.

The Cowboys have been involved in draft day trades in 22 of their 24 drafts under Jerry Jones, which has many fans thinking of slipping the entire Cowboys war room some Adderall to keep Mr. Cantkeepstillski and his men from moving around in the draft. The only two years in which the Cowboys managed to keep their feet still on draft weekend were 2000 and 2011. Not since 1990-1992 have the Cowboys had three consecutive drafts in which they made at least one first round pick and at least one second round pick. Think about that for a minute.

And while the Cowboys have managed to somewhat curb the overall number of trades involving draft picks over the last few years (see detailed list at the bottom of this post), there is already talk about the Cowboys wanting to recoup at least the seventh-round pick they traded to Miami for Ryan Cook, and more draft-day trades may be in the works.

Sticking to your draft board is not necessarily a guarantee for finding great players (see the 2000 draft for evidence), but over the last couple of years, the Cowboy's draft board appears to have been very solid:

The 2010 and 2011 draft boards delivered potential blue-chippers in Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, Tyron Smith, Bruce Carter and DeMarco Murray. After the 2012 draft Stephen Jones indicated that had the Cowboys not traded up for Morris Claiborne, they would have selected Michael Brockers and Bobby Wagner with their first two picks. And with the way Brockers and Wagner played in 2012, those would have been outstanding picks as well, though they would have likely been ridiculed at the time.

On the evidence of the last three years, the Cowboys look to have had very solid draft boards. The danger in moving around is that you can end up missing some very good players. In 2009, the Cowboys traded out of the 51st pick for the 75th (Robert Brewster) and 110th (Victor Butler) pick. Within nine picks of that original pick, OG Andy Levitre (51), OT Phil Loadholt (54), OT Sebastian Vollmer (58) and OT William Beatty (60) were selected, all of whom would be a dramatic upgrade over what the Cowboys have playing at the positions now.

At the same time, had the Cowboys not traded up the three spots in the first round and four spots in the second round of the 2010 draft, they wouldn't have gotten Dez Bryant and Sean Lee. Which just goes to show that if you cherry-pick your examples, you can prove just about anything.

So what do you think: Can the Cowboys sit tight during the draft? And more importantly, should they?

Cowboys recent trade history involving draft picks

2009:

- Traded for 1st, 3rd and 6th for Roy Williams (20, 82, 192 = RW, 210)
- Traded down with Buffalo for more picks (51 = 75, 110) -> Robert Brewster, Victor Butler
- Traded down with Tampa Bay for more picks (117 = 120, 229) -> Brandon Williams, Manuel Johnson
- Moved up 13 spots to 143 in trade with Atlanta (143 = 156, 210) -> DeAngelo Smith

2010:

- Moved up three spots in trade with Patriots to grab Dez Bryant (24, 119 = 27, 90)
- Moved up four spots in trade with Eagles to get Sean Lee (55 = 59, 125)
- Traded down with Miami for extra picks (119 = 126, 179) -> Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Sam Young
- Traded fifth round pick (158 ) to Denver for Montrae Holland

2011:

- Traded Patrick Crayton to San Diego for 2011 seventh round pick (220) -> Shaun Chapas

2012:

- Moved up to the sixth spot to get Morris Claiborne (6 = 14, 45)

2013:

- Traded 2013 seventh round pick to Miami for C Ryan Cook

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