With Senior Bowl week still fresh on our minds, SB Nation's Matthew Fairburn offers up one of the first post-Senior Bowl mock drafts. And this one is interesting not so much for which player the Cowboys end up picking but more for the fact that Fairburn has the Cowboys trading down with the Patriots.
A trade with the Patriots immediately fills me with trepidation, because there's a piece of NFL draft wisdom that teams disregard at their own peril:
Never trade with New England. They win every time. When the Patriots call, you hang up the phone. Immediately.
Except this time, the Patriots are looking to trade up. New England doesn't have a big history of trading up, instead they have traditionally preferred to stockpile picks, especially in the second and third rounds in the hopes of increasing their mathematical chances of hitting on a prospect or two. But in this mock draft they are trading up from 29th to 17th to pick Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro.
Since this is almost a carbon copy of last year's trade-down with the 49ers (18 = 31 + 74) that netted the Cowboys Travis Frederick and Terrance Williams, let's look at the hypothetical Patriots trade in a little more detail. The Patriots currently hold picks number 29, 62, 93 and 126 in the first four rounds. We'll use the both the Jimmy Johnson trade Value Chart and the Harvard Trade Value chart to figure out a possible deal.
The Jimmy Johnson Chart values the 17th pick with 950 points, while the Patriots' 29th pick is 'only' worth 640 points. If they were to add their third-rounder (93rd, 128 points), the Patriots would be offering only 768 points for the Cowboys' 950 points. And even though the Cowboys did give up points by the Jimmy Johnson chart in last year's draft (900 = 600 + 220), the Patriots' 1st and 3rd won't be enough by this reckoning. To make this deal work, the Patriots would have to offer their 1st (640) and 2nd-round picks (284) to make this an equitable deal (950 = 924). Does the same hold true with the Harvard chart?
The Harvard Chart: Here, the 17th pick is worth 254 points. If the Patriots were to bundle their 29th (208.7) and 62nd (131.4) picks, they'd be at 340.1 total points, almost a hundred points above the Cowboys. That point total makes such a deal highly unlikely. If the Patriots were to bundle their 1st and 3rd-round picks, the Cowboys would still come out ahead in the deal, but it would look a little more equitable (254 = 208.7 + 101.1) for the Patriots.
Since the Jimmy Johnson chart was first introduced a quarter of a century ago, NFL teams have moved on to better, more accurate charts. Sadly, many draftniks haven't, and still use the Jimmy Johnson chart as the final arbiter of whether a team 'won' or 'lost' a trade. Today, there is no one single 'correct' chart, but there's a good chance the charts being used by NFL teams are a lot closer to the Harvard Chart than to the Johnson Chart.
Sadly for the Cowboys, this means that there probably won't be an extra second-rounder in a trade-down scenario that has the Cowboys staying in the first round.
Back to Fairburn's mock draft: With the 29th pick, the Cowboys select Ra'Shede Hageman out of Minnesota.
Ra'shede Hageman is one of the toughest players to figure out in the 2014 NFL Draft. On one hand, he's physically imposing and has a combination of get off and strength that will appeal to most teams. He'll also turn heads at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. However, he plays without much technique and will have some people concerned over his history off the field. He's worth the risk at this pick, though. The Cowboys trade down and get an excellent value. Nice work, Mr. Jones.
But is Hageman the best player left on the board for the Cowboys in this particular mock draft? Here's a selection of players picked after the 29th pick:
30 (49ers): Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
32 (Seattle): Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
34 (Redskins): Stephon Tuitt, DT, Notre Dame
38 (Bucs): Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
Two questions to ponder: Would you make the trade with the Patriots, and would you pick Hageman in this scenario?