If you are a fan of the Dallas Cowboys, the words "trading down" can inspire shaking, cold sweats, and heavy drinking as memories of the legendarily bad 2009 NFL draft haunt you. But this is a far different year. The draft is reputedly deep in areas the team is badly in need of, like defensive and offensive linemen. There have also been reports that Jerry Jones wants to do something to make up for the seventh-round pick that went to the Miami Dolphins.
It may be time to consider trading out of the first to stockpile some lower but still valuable picks. If the quality is more level than usual through the first couple of rounds, Dallas might be well served to trade the 18th pick if it can get them a couple of second round selections.
Conveniently, OCC has launched his annual and very popular Mock Draft Challenge. This leads to a lot of thinking about what the team can do in the draft and who might be available. Since his rules prohibit trading down for the purposes of the Challenge, I thought I would take a look at what the team may be able to do if they went that direction.
I took a quick look at the current draft order and was able to find a possible trade partner for my purposes, based on the current data (which of course is subject to change). Using the Draft Pick Value Calculator that OCC so conveniently provided a link for, I came up with the following trade with the Cincinnati Bengals:
Dallas trades the 18th pick (900 points) for the 37th and 55th pick, both in the second, and the 182nd, in the sixth (899.6). Dallas loses only .4 in value, and now has eight picks.
With the 49th pick Dallas already has, that gives them three second rounders. I want to focus on what might likely be available with those three picks, and just looking at the areas that the team is likely to be looking at. Again, using OCC's rules to let any readers who want to evaluate this versus other options go apples to apples, I am using the current Draftek list of prospects. The number is where the player is on the Draftek list. I started at 35, since it is a player the Cowboys are interested in, and sometimes players get pushed down a few spots.
35. Sharrif Floyd DT Florida
37. Jesse Williams DT Alabama
38. Ezekiel Ansah DE BYU
39. Barrett Jones C/G Alabama
43. Eric Reid FS LSU
44. Alex Okafor DE Texas
46. Zac Dysert QB Miami (Ohio)
47. Sylvester Williams DT North Carolina
48. Matt Elam SS Florida
49. Eddie Lacy RB Alabama
51. Tyler Bray QB Tennessee
52. Larry Warford G Kentucky
55. Matt Barkley QB USC
56. William Gholston DE Michigan State
57. Michael Buchanan DE Illinois
59. Andre Ellington RB Clemson
61. Travis Frederick C/G Wisconsin
64. Mike Glennon QB North Carolina St
You may notice that in addition to the usual suspects (interior OL, DL, and safety), I included running back (in anticipation of Felix Jones' departure) and quarterback, because with the extra pick, the team could look at getting one to groom for the future without detracting from the positions of real need, at least in my view.
You can play around with this list a lot, but here is how I think I would allocate the projected Dallas picks, based on the limited info out right now:
37. Jessie Williams DT. He's 320 pounds now. Could be the solution to the 1 technique question. Ansah right behind him would be a hell of a consolation prize.
49. Larry Warford G. I would love to snag Elam here, but based on the board, he is just out of reach. And Warford should take care of the issues at guard.
55. William Gholston DE. Now we have both a big body inside and a pass rusher outside. And Buchanan is right behind him as a fallback. Barkley is very tempting here as the possible heir to Romo, but I seriously doubt he would still be around the way quarterbacks get pushed up the board.
The DL and OL are now both shored up - and you have five picks left to play with. Just for fun, here are some options for them.
85. Tony Jefferson FS Oklahoma. Another need covered, and the third round this year also looks fairly solid.
113. E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State. Here is a chance to find a QB, and it is only a fourth round pick.
146. Hugh Thornton, G, Illinois. Some insurance for the line.
177. Duke Williams, FS/SS Nevada. And insurance for the secondary.
182. Cierre Wood, RB, Notre Dame. There is the Felix replacement. And no, I am not imagining things.
This is a very preliminary look, and of course Dallas would have to find a trading partner. But I don't think this is too bad a list, and lets the team cover a lot more ground with the two extra selections.
So what do you think? Is it a good year to trade down? Feel free to take your own run at it here if you find the "no trade down" rule too restrictive in OCC's contest. What can you do with some more picks?