Pick 18 -- how it all went down

Trying this again, as my last post failed to generate much interest on TWO separate fora, so I'm thinking I must have done something wrong . I believe I have the correct sequence of events describing the controversial trade and why it was not, as has been consistently portrayed by Media and Realists alike, a case of Jerry swooping in and overruling his Coaches and scouts with a last second power play.

For evidence, I point to the Morris Claiborne trade. We know several things about this trade, Most notably, we know it was arranged in advance, dependent upon a certain order for the draft to fall. We know when it did happen, the Cowboys pulled the trigger on the trade, and, finally, we know that the Rams asked for more compensation and were refused. This shows two important things:

#1 - First Round Trades do NOT happen on impulse. They are planned contingencies, set up hours or even days in advance. Teams are simply not going to throw around valuable picks on a last minute sales pitch by a desperate GM on the phone.

#2 - The Dallas Cowboys are valuing picks based on the Harvard Trade Chart and not the Jimmy Johnson Chart. Dallas targeted Claiborne and traded up to get him. By the Jimmy Johnson chart, their arranged trade was 50 points in favor of Dallas (A late 4th rounder). When you are targeting a blue chip player, you don't skimp on your offer. Typically the team trading up loses value. The Rams (who certainly needed CB help as well) asked for more...and were stonewalled. Now, if teams were still using the Jimmy chart, the Rams could've, and should've, said "fine... we'll take Claiborne". But they didn't... they backed down.

I don't recall anyone crowing about how badly we ripped off the Rams to the tune of a (sound familiar?) 4th round pick, but the bigger point is that the Claiborne trade, by the Harvard Chart, is in favor of the Rams by almost the same pick. I believe this is significant evidence that NFL teams recognize the Harvard Trade Chart as legitimate, and, more specifically, it's the chart the Cowboys use to determine value.

So let's apply these things to 2013.

#1 -- the trade was a prearranged contingency. Given the interest in upgrading the o-line, it's safe to presume that Dallas was primarily interested in the top 5-6 o-linemen. I don't think there's any question that Dallas would've taken one of the top 5 had they been available at 18. Whether they would've taken Fluker or not is debatable, but academic, as Fluker went at #11 to San Diego. So it seems likely that the contingency trade was the opposite in this case-- that should the linemen go early, we trade back. The problem is that there was only one real trading partner looking for the right player with a decent number of picks-- San Francisco. The lack of likely partners points towards, again, a pre-arranged trade based on contingency.

#2 -- the trade was based on value for the Cowboys. The trade back was not about targeting a particular player or position, it was about gaining value. Because while many have talked extensively about how badly the cowboys were ripped off, they are using the wrong chart. Using the Harvard Value Chart (which values mid round picks more highly, seemingly especially appropriate for a draft in which the meat of the value is in the 2nd and 3rd rounds) Dallas was already ahead in value by a high 5th round pick (134 or 135).

So what was the argument about? Easy. The plan was in place, everything was going swimmingly and the 9ers were ready to play ball on a trade... and someone in the scouting department said "hey, this guy was #5 on our board, are we sure we don't want him?" And then the issue of Floyd's value as #5 guy versus the value of a trade netting us extra value becomes the debate. Doesn't it make sense, in those circumstances, if there's real conflict, to toss the question at the Defensive Coordinator? "Hey, Monte, we've got a juicy trade lined up, but we've got a stud DT sitting here in our laps, which do you think is better?"

"Welp," says Monte, "the guy has good measurables, but he seems kinda raw and lacks production. Plus, we like Rat and Hatcher, so he might only end up being a rotational player for us, anyhow."

Decision made.

And yet, we prefer the narrative of the wild-eyed owner swooping in and undermining everyone in the room to show 'em all who's boss on this team because that fits our preconceived notions better.

But be clear, there's absolutely no reason to believe the trade down was a mad, last minute decision and every reason to believe the sudden push to get Floyd was exactly that.... because the trade was in the works from at least pick 11 or, more likely, from days before; while Floyd being there at 18 was the last minute change. Enjoy your narrative if you want, and we may never know what the details of the conversation were. But I would bet large amounts of cash that I have the right of it, here. Particularly if your alternative hypothesis was that Jerry simply got a wild hair and called the 9ers against everyone's wishes.

And it was the right choice. There's no question we needed o-line help more than d-line help. There's no question that Frederick and Williams combined are worth more than Floyd. And there's no question that those are questions that matter when discussing this trade.


Claiborne Trade -- Johnson Chart: Cowboys 1550, Rams 1600 Dallas owes rams pick 122

Harvard Chart: Cowboys 424.8, Rams 342.4 Rams owe Dallas pick 118

Reid Trade -- Johnson Chart: Cowboys 900, 9ers 820 9ers owe Dallas pick 107

Harvard Chart: Cowboys 249.2, 9ers 321.4 Dallas owes 9ers pick 135

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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