Mock Draft 2.0: Trading Down Strategy

Recently, Tom Ryle made a post suggesting a possible trade down route for the Cowboys in the draft, so that they could have more picks to work with, since the draft is very deep at the positions of need for Dallas. Since we couldn’t do so in the Draft Challenge, I decided to bounce off of Tom’s idea and use his method to create my own mock draft. My first mock draft was based on why the Cowboys should draft Tyrann Mathieu, and theme in this one is how to the Cowboys can go about the draft if they trade down.

In the original post ( Tom chose to trade the Cowboys 18th overall pick to the Bengals, who returned a pair of 2nd round pick (37, 55). In my version, the Cowboys trade the 18th overall pick (900 points) to the Dolphins for two second round picks, a fourth round pick, and a seventh round pick, translating to the 43rd (2), 56th (2), 110th (4) and 203rd (7) picks. Dallas trades a 900 point value, losing only 5.8 points while gaining two extra valuable picks, and a long shot at a sleeper. Following this, the Cowboys now trade up, trading away picks 146 and 177 (53.6 points) to the Packers for the 121 (52 points.) pick.

The Cowboys now own the following picks:

2-11 (43)

2-17 (49)

2-24 (56)

3-18 (82)

4-14 (110)

4-17 (113)

4-25 (121)

7-11 (203)

Following those picks, I made two mock drafts for the Cowboys. The first one is based off of Drafteks Big Board, in which a player lasts until where he is ranked, regardless of position. The second draft is based off of who I personally think will be available at each of these picks.

This is the first one (Big Board)

2-11 (43): Eric Reid S, LSU: For anyone who read my first mock or a few posts/comments before, you know that I am very high on Eric Reid. I love the guy and think he brings what Dallas needs: the hard hitting, bully in the backfield. He is a playmaker that knows how to lay down the sauce. Dallas needs a safety too make the Tampa 2 work, and Reid is the guy who can eliminate the big play and also make plays on the ball when it is in his range. In the second round, this is a great value, while filling a need for Dallas.

2-17 (49): Larry Warford G, Kentucky: Warford is a great guard who is first round material, but he is at a disadvantage considering that guards are not drafted high, and the fact that this year’s offensive line class is very deep. There will probably be 2 guards taken in the first round. If Dallas can land Warford in the second round, they would be filling another major need with an instant upgrade rookie who is a first round talent. If these first two picks both land first round quality that can grow into elite, you know this draft is shaping up very good for Dallas already.

2-24 (56): Kawann Short DT, Purdue: Dream draft or what? In their last 2nd round pick, the Boys can fix another gaping need at DT. Short is very disruptive and fits the mold exactly how Dallas would need a DT for the Tampa 2 to work. Short is yet another first round talent who drops because of the depth at DL. Short would be a miracle pick here as Dallas knocks down need at safety, interior line, and D line all in the second round with first round quality players.

3-18 (82): Margus Hunt De, SMU: Hunt is a prospect who is huge and knows how to apply pressure from the DE position. Since Dallas needs a strong DL that can apply pressure, Hunt is a good pick here. With Ware on the other side, Hunt playing strong side, Short in the middle, and (possibly) Henry Melton from free agency, the Cowboys could have a very good looking front seven. If Hunt is available (which he is on the Big Board), it is a pick that can take one more need off the checklist. And, the next few picks are only going to do the same thing :)

4-14 (110): Dallas Thomas T, Tennessee: Thomas isn’t elite, but he is a good, decent prospect who will provide an upgrade where it is needed. Doug Free is the absolute worst player in the NFL, and Jerry Jones could plug himself in and it would be an upgrade. Thomas won’t be Romo’s favorite offensive lineman by any means, but he will be solid at right tackle and should be able to block without cheating. With an offensive line that features Tyron Smith, Nate Livings, Phil Costa, Larry Warford and Dallas Thomas, Romo will be much happier in the pocket. There are still problems on the left interior, but that is about to be addressed soon also, as you are about to see in a couple picks.

4-17 (113): Joseph Randle RB, OSU: At the 82nd pick, I had a hard time deciding between Stepfan Taylor and Margus Hunt. After looking ahead in the draft, I still struggled to make a selection. I finally went for Hunt, deciding that Randle could do a solid job at least filling in behind Murray, and would at least be better than Felix Jones if he’s called to start a couple games. I think Randle is an underrated prospect. He’s got the speed and moves to work well as a rotational RB with Dallas. With the improved offensive line and 2 good runners, Dallas should have a good run game that always features a fresh pair of legs. Not to mention that it will fun seeing two RB’s from rival schools on the same roster, competing as hard as they can to edge the other.

4-25 (121): Khaled Holmes C, USC: This is probably a reach pick, but it will be something worth it for Dallas. I don’t think Holmes is the center of the future for Dallas, but he can hold his own and upgrade what we have now for 2 or 3 years while Dallas grooms a true franchise center. I know it seems like a dangerous move to put 3 rookies on the offensive line, I would rather take an offensive line of mostly rookies than the line we had last year. A line of Smith, Living, Holmes, Warford, and Thomas would actually look pretty good if you ask me.

7-11 (203): Tyrann Mathieu CB, (NONE): In my previous mock draft, I also pointed out that I like Tyrann Mathieu. Despite his troubles, I would like Dallas to take the chance with him. They did it with Dez, and while it did take time and commitment, I think we are all happy with the offensive weapon we have groomed through patience. According to the big board, Mathieu should be available. He can be a valuable pick because not only is he a tremendous playmaker, but he brings fire to the defense. He could play on special teams and would bring a kick to the kickoff return team. While Dwayne Harris is penciled in for punt returns, we still have issues at kick return. Mathieu can also fill in at the slot corner/nickelback if Orlando Scandrick gets injured. And we don’t have to worry if he acts up, as he can be cut immediately considering the low investment put into him.

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And Here Is My Mock Draft Disregarding the Big Board

2-11 (43): Kawann Short DT, Purdue: The Cowboys need a penetrating defensive tackle, and that is the best way to describe Kawann Short. Because of a deep class at the position, Short should be availabe. He knows how to get in the backfield with speed and can disrupt the QB consistently. Dallas needs to make its defensive line much more aggressive for the Tampa 2 Defense to work. Short can be an elite presence at DT and can anchor this line for years to come.

2-17 (49): D.J. Fluker T, Alabama: D.J. Fluker is a great tackle prospect who has the tools to be a first round pick. Again, he will fall because of a strong pair or tackles in the first round. If Fluker falls to the Cowboys, he will fill a huge need on the offensive line. Doug Free just sucks and Fluker will me lightyears better at protecting Romo without cheating on every other play.

2-24 (56): T.J. McDonald S, USC: McDonald is not a very flashy safety, but I think he will be an important pick for Dallas here. While McDonald doesn't deliver bone crunching hits or fly the ball like Ed Reed, he is a decent all around player. He can take away the deep pass, will get his fair share of turnovers, and can make necessary tackles. He is a slight reach at 56, but Dallas needs a good safety and I doubt McDonald would last until 82.

3-18 (82): Brian Winters G, Kent St.: Winters would provide an upgrade on the interior line that Dallas needs. Winters has his flaws, and is not close to a dominant guard, but he is solid. He can help keep the pocket clean for Dallas alongside fellow rookie Fluker.

4-14 (110): Joseph Randle RB, OSU: The Cowboys need someone to play as the backup to Murray, and I like Randle to be that guy. Randle has shown talent this year and I think he is being undervalued. The Cowboys will have the luxury of a better line protecting them and a pair of fresh legs in the backfield at all time to aid them in improving a terrible 2012 run game.

4-17 (113): Tyrann Mathieu CB, (NONE): With the good players running thin halfway into the fourth round, I think Dallas decides to roll the dice on Tyrann Mathieu. At this point, there isn't really a good player worth drafting in any position of need for Dallas. Mathieu is a talented athlete than can make plays. He can feature as a kick returner, as well as a member of the kickoff team, where he can attempt his famous rip. I would also not mind seeing him bulk up 5-7 pounds and challenge Orlando Scandrick for the slot corner job, where he will have more opportunities to put his playmaking abilities to use.

4-25 (121): Alvin Bailey G, Arkansas: Bailey will not blow you away and will likely never be a top tier guard. However, he can be a valuable backup as Dallas grooms him to take over the starting spot and be solid like Winters on the other side. This pick will give the Cowboys depth and the ability to plug and play the offensive linemen at different spots to create the best combination of linemen. He may also challenge for the starting spot at guard.

7-11 (203): Jelani Jenkins OLB, Florida: At this point, the 7th round pick is a crapshoot anyway. Teams use the 7th round just to see if they can come out with someone with a bright NFL future that was underrated. Since Dallas could use a LOLB, why not make that pick a LB? Jenkins will probably never surmount to more than a key backup, but hey maybe he's the next Jay Ratliff. It's worth the shot.

Well those are my two mock drafts. Please tell me what you think and what you would do differently. Also, I will try to make as many mock drafts as possible, exploring different options and trades Dallas could be a part of on draft day. Watch out for those every few days, and I'll try to post them if I can!

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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