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More Fun With Numbers: Managing the Cowboys' Picks

After reading Jim Vance’s post on draft trades, I blew the dust off of my old outdated NFL draft trade value sheet, and dug out the TI-80 I hadn’t used since statistics class in college. I have since been pacing a rut into my living room floor, unconsciously rattling off numbers like Max Cohen in the movie Pi. Rafael recently mentioned that he would be happy if the Cowboys brought home four players. I personally would prefer five or six, but how exactly do the Cowboys turn 11 selections into 4, or 5, or 6? I suppose the 'Boys could just deal their whole cache of picks to move into the middle of the first, since similar moves have worked so well for other teams in the past. What sequence of moves would put Dallas in the position to get the most value out of this draft?

There are two things you have to keep in mind when reading this post. Firstly, the Cowboys' compensatory selections (172nd and 208th overall) cannot be traded. Burn them into your mind, tattoo them on your arm overtop of where you inked the name of that girl you no longer talk to. Secondly, this post is strictly theoretical. In reality, the Cowboys would have to find a needy and willing trade partner in order to make any moves. All of these proposed trades were drawn up under the assumption that Jerry Jones has either hypnotic power, or extramarital dirt on all of the other owners and GM’s.

Ready to play now? Let’s play.

Here are the selections currently held by the Dallas Cowboys:

  • 2nd round (51st overall)
  • 3rd round (69th overall)
  • 4th round (101st, and 117th overall)
  • 5th round (156th, 166th, 172nd overall)
  • 6th round (197th, 208th overall)
  • 7th round (210th, 227th overall) compensatory selections in bold italics.

Scenario One:

  • The Cowboys deal picks #51 and #69 to Tennessee for the 30th overall selection.
  • The Cowboys package picks #101, #117, #156, and #166 in exchange for the Jets’ 76th overall selection.
  • The Cowboys deal picks #197, #210, #227 to Cincinnati for the 179th pick.

Cowboys new draft order: 1st round (30th), 3rd round (76th), 5th round (172nd), 6th round (179th), 6th round (208th)

Total picks: 5

You want Louis Delmas? You can try your luck and hope he falls, or you can just stop screwing around and move up into the tail end of the 1st round and take him. You want Connor Barwin? If you think he will escape the sinister clutches of the evil Professor Belichick at #34, you might be clinically insane. In this scenario, even after packaging 2nd and 3rd rounders, the Cowboys end up with a third rounder (76th) that is only seven slots back from it’s original 3rd rounder (69th). The big problem with this scenario is the middle. I am not a fan of waiting nearly 100 spots (between 76 and 172) to select a player. There is also not a lot left on the back end. However, if the Cowboys have one particular guy in the crosshairs, this may be the way to go.

Scenario Two:

  • The Cowboys send picks #51, #101, #197, and #227 to Jacksonville for the 39th selection.
  • The Cowboys trade picks # 156, #166, and # 210 to New Orleans for pick # 116.

Cowboys new draft order: 2nd round (39th), 3rd round (69th), 4th round (116th, 117th), 5th round (172nd), 6th round (208th)

Total Picks: 6

This scenario is probably my favorite. Keep this in mind. There are three 3-4 teams in a cluster near the top of the middle third of the second round (Green Bay #41, San Francisco #43, Miami #44). If the Cowboys want to land any of the last elite 3-4 personnel, they had better jump that little bunch of teams. Sitting at #39 would also be a realistic spot to try to land Delmas. This Scenario leaves the Cowboys’ draft thick in the middle, with picks in every round 2-6. Plus, having back to back picks in any round (4th round, #116 and #117) is pretty cool.

Scenario Three:

  • The Cowboys trade picks #117, #156, #166, #197, #210, and #227 to Indianapolis for pick #92.
  • The Cowboys stand pat with all other selections.

Cowboys new draft order: 2nd round (#51st), 3rd round (69th, 92nd), 4th round (101st), 5th round (172nd) 6th round (208th)

Total Picks: 6

This scenario is about two things. Firstly, the Cowboys would come out of this one with four picks in the top 101. Secondly, the Cowboys would unload everything on the backend with the exception of the two immovable compensatory picks. This is the kind of move to make if you really believe that the talent tails off dramatically after the top 100. Also, Indianapolis is the kind of team that salivates when you start waiving a fistful of late round selections at them, so this one could actually happen.

Remember, this is completely for fun. I know these teams aren’t going to just bend over and take whatever deal we forcefeed them, but it’s fun to dream up these scenarios in your head. Besides, with Terrell Owens gone and the Denver Broncos challenging for the title of “NFL’s Circus”, what the hell else are we going to talk about for the next 21 days?

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