Was Trading Down A Mistake?

Despite watching the NFL Draft alone in my room Thursday night, I managed to muster up some excitement for the newest Dallas Cowboy who would be the next to earn his star. After waiting for about an hour it was finally the Cowboys pick at number 18. Jarvis Jones, the linebacker from Georgia, was just selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Phew. There was a big sigh of relief from me and I knew there were some great 1st round talents left on the board.

While I was disappointed that the Alabama linemen were gone after being selected back to back, I still had hope that the Cowboys would take a player to sure up their defense. Maybe defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd to be the eventual replacement for Jay Ratliff. Or perhaps Eric Reid, the defensive back from LSU. Either player would have been a justifiable selection. The Cowboys would have taken the best player available in my opinion if Floyd was selected. As for Reid, well the Cowboys need safety help.

Instead, the Cowboys traded the 18 pick to the 49ers for the 31st pick and a third round pick (74). This time I let out a sigh of impatience and disappointment. The 49ers would go on to take Reid, a player I really wanted to rep the star for the next decade. Then I began to wonder how much value did they get in return for the 18th pick. Well, I found that out earlier by chance. I was going to look it up myself eventually, but VaFan helped me out by accident. His quote is below.

"Before I sign off on this post -- much has already been written about Travis Frederick, our new Center. My take on this is we surrendered a 900 point spot -- #18, for 820 points - 31st and 74th, when SF could fairly have given us the 61st pick and a 7th rounder."

So they lost 80 points in value, but let's break down the selection process some more.

The Cowboys took Travis Frederick 31st overall when many draft experts felt he could be a 2nd-3rd round pick. The unknown isn't our friend here because now we're all left with guessing on when we could have picked him up. Linemen were flying off the board too, so I guess Jerry and co. felt some urgency to get their guy. Despite that, let's just say that Frederick could have been selected with the 47th pick in the second round instead of the 31st pick.

After more research I come to like the Frederick pick more and more, but I'm not a fan of where he was picked. So with that I'll explain possible scenario that didn't come to fruition during Draft week.

The scenario involves Dallas not trading away the pick at all and taking Sharrif Floyd. Floyd was a top 5 pick in most mock drafts, but he fell to the Vikings at pick 23. With Ratliff being 31 and Hatcher being 30, I saw the middle of the defensive line needing some fine tuning and Floyd would have been a nice player to place there. Jerry feels differently as he said this in an ESPN article.

"We feel like, first of all, defensive line is a position of strength for us," Jones said. "Number two, in our system, we probably would put a premium on quick-twitch potential three-technique. We view him as not that, but certainly capable of getting there."

So in hindsight I have the Cowboys taking Floyd with their 18th pick. Next at 47, Dallas would take Travis Frederick. Again, who knows if he's still on the board, but let's pretend he is. That means Gavin Escobar wouldn't be a Dallas Cowboys. I didn't like the idea of picking a tight end in the second round. To me it seemed unneeded with Jason Witten and James Hanna. Even if Dallas wants to run more two TE sets next year I still believe the team has bigger issues to go out and fix before this problem. I like Escobar, he's a nice player to have, but the pick didn't make sense.

It's obvious the draft was constructed to help Tony Romo out next year. They gave him a new center and two receiving weapons. All three should make an impact someway next season. To me though the Cowboys could help Romo out by drafting defense and offensive line help. The defensive side of the ball can make Romo look good if they're winning games 31-13. If you read some of my older work, a lot of rants, then you're aware of me advocating the development of the lines. The teams that win football games have solid interiors on both sides of the ball. A reason I like the Frederick pick, but figure the team could have taken him in the 2nd round and build the defense with Floyd.

As for the picks that were actually made, the Cowboys aren't lacking offensive weapons, but I guess you can make a case for the picks with Witten aging and Austin being prone to injuries.

For now we speculate for the fun of it. In three to five years we'll know the answer. I can't definitely say the Cowboys should have done this or that at this point. That would be unfair. All we can hope is that they're drafting smart. Overall I'd say the Cowboys did a good job drafting for value. B- in my book.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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