Last year, the trade back in the first round of the NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys created a bit of consternation among fans. According to sources like the NFL Draft Calculator at Calculator Soup, Dallas got hosed by the San Francisco 49ers on that deal. But Stephen Jones adamantly insisted that the Cowboys have their own draft chart, and they were quite happy with what they got in the deal.
This makes it a bit difficult to write anything like an accurate prediction of what the Cowboys might do, since the chart the Cowboys use is apparently not one that are available on the interwebs. But even with bad information, I did get a bit lucky in pointing to a trade with SF last year as a good option for the Cowboys (although my projection involved a couple of extra picks to make the numbers come out, based on the calculator mentioned above).
For those who were not around, or who might find their memory impaired by heavy drinking brought on by another year as a Cowboys fan, the Cowboys went on to get Travis Frederick with the 31st pick they got from SF, and added Terrance Williams with the 74th selection. So far, those are the two most valuable draft picks Dallas got from the 2013 draft. Fredbeard simply stepped in and became a quality NFL starting center from day one, and Williams had more yardage his rookie year than Dez Bryant.
So would you do it again this year? Because there is a pretty good chance that Dallas and San Francisco may be sitting in just about the same position this season.
Dallas knows that, depending on a coin flip at the NFL combine, they will have either pick 16 or 17. The 49ers are still in the playoffs, and could wind up picking anywhere from 25 to 32, depending on how things go. They do know that they have the rights to pick 77, acquired in a trade last year with the Tennessee Titans. The odds are not bad that they will wind up with something like the pick at 30 they are projected to get based on record.
Would 30 + 77 be a good trade value for, say, pick 17 if Dallas loses the coin flip?
If things do line up so that the number make sense on Stephen Jones' trade chart, I think he should be looking to talk to the 49ers. If they are agreeable, get this deal set up so the team can have it pre-arranged.
The team is not going to actually make this kind of deal in advance of draft day. They have to see what is available when they go on the clock. There might be a player they really, really want still on the board, or there might be someone available that another team is willing to make a better offer for. But if things line up, they can be ready to go with the trade, which is how last year's move came about.
I think it is a likely scenario. Dallas needs talent on the defensive line, and this year's draft class seems to have more second/third-round players in those positions than first-round types. I also think the fact the teams had such a similar deal last year would make this an easy one to get ready, should the Cowboys decide to pull the trigger on it.
Of course, it all depends on who is left when the Cowboys pick, and what their own board says. Unless they decide to go off it, which is what they did last year when they passed on Sharrif Floyd, as was widely reported.
Hindsight says that turned out pretty well for the team, but disregarding your own draft board is not generally a path to success. Hopefully they will have done a better job for this class.
It is all wildly speculative at this point, with the all-star games and the combine still to come. But it is never too soon to start thinking about how we would run the war room if we had the chance. I think Dallas would do better getting some more draft choices.
How about you?