Earlier today, I offered my first mock draft of the season, featuring LSU's Michael Brockers as the Cowboys' first rounder, a selection that was met with general discontent here in BTB nation. In my own defense, I must point out that two of the Cowboys writers I hold in highest esteem arrived independently at the same conclusion, for more or less the same reasons (you can check out their arguments here and here). The rationale behind all of our articles was that the Cowboys other first-round targets - Fletcher Cox, David DeCastro, Mark Barron, Stephon Gilmore--will be off the board by pick # 14, leaving Brockers as the proverbial last man standing.
What happens if the Cowboys are as uneasy as our readers are about picking Brockers at that spot? In yesterday's pre-draft presser, Jerry Jones remarked that Dallas could in fact trade down (he also said they could trade up, and that they would be content to remain at 14 and make a pick). Let's imagine that the scenario outlined above does in fact come to pass and that, faced with the option of Brockers or a trade down, the Cowboys opt for the latter. Let's imagine that the team trading up wants to do so because they need to jump Philly and the Jets, both of whom could take the LSU star. Lets say, for argument's sake, that Brockers would be best in a 3-4, as a five technique, so that whichever team trades up will have to run a 3-4. Who might be a trading partner?
In this scenario, I'm going to imagine that Jerry is on the phone with San Diego GM A.J. Smith, who has been most amenable trading up in the past to get a guy he covets. Jones and Smith make the deal, and the Cowboys trade back to the 18th slot, picking up San Diego's third rounder, the 78th pick overall (this is actually a perfect trade; using our handy draft pick value calculator, we see that both parties picks are worth exactly 1100 points. Win-win, all around.
If this scenario played out, how might the Cowboys draft play out? Another look at the "little board," some thoughts and a second--and final--mock after the jump.
Before we go any further, here's the Cowboys' "little board" once again:
|Round 1 (pick # 14)||Round 1 (trade down)||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4||Round 5||Round 6||Round 7/ UDFA|
|RB||Doug Martin||Cyrus Gray||Lance Dunbar
|WR||Ryan Broyles||T.Y. Hilton||Jeff Fuller||Antoine Hicks David Douglas McKay Jacobsen Cole Beasley
|OG||David DeCastro||Cordy Glenn||Amini Silatolu Kevin Zeitler||Jeff Allen||Ronald Leary||Josh LeRibeus||Jeff Olson|
|OC||Peter Konz||Grant Garner|
|DL||Michael Brockers Fletcher Cox||Dontari Poe||Chase Baker|
|OLB||Courtney Upshaw||Ronnell Lewis||Keenan Robinson||Braylon Broughton Korey Toomer Adrian Hamilton Curnelius Arnick Richetti Jones|
|CB||Stephon Gilmore||Dre Kirkpatrick||Casey Hayward Jamell Fleming||Josh Norman Ron Brooks||Chris Greenwood||Lionel Smith
|SS||Mark Barron||D.J. Campbell Christian Scott Kenji Jackson Ter’Ran Benton|
|FS||Harrison Smith||Tekkerein Cuba|
In the earlier post, I took the "Round 1 (trade down)" category players off the board. Now, with a trade down, they come back into play - and the draft vista widens considerably. Things also become much more complicated, frankly. In the previous scenario, Brockers became the prohibitive favorite largely through attrition. Now, there are many more possibilities, each of which can have a domino effect on the subsequent choices. So, lets take a look at how things might play out:
- #18: Courtney Upshaw, OLB
- #45: Peter Konz, OC
- #78:Jeff Allen, OT-OG
- #81: Jamell Fleming, CB
- #113: Ron Brooks, CB
- #135: Cyrus Gray, RB
- #152: Tank Carder, ILB
- #186: Jeff Fuller, WR
- #222: Adrian Hamilton, OLB
Although its counter-intuitive to do so, I had to work backward here. Trading down gives me another pick in the midst of the cornerback sweet spot - which seems to the the third and fourth rounds. Knowing, this, I can grab Upshaw with the first pick (instead of Dre Kirkpatrick), address the interior offensive line with Konz and Allen (yes, I cheated a little on Konz, who I have slotted in the first, even though I feel pretty sure he'll fall to the second round).
After this, I pick up needed cornerback depth with Fleming and Brooks, both of whom have impressive athleticism and are terrific special teams players. Later on, I'm able to get the running back and wide receiver depth I need, while picking up players who fit the Cowboys' profiles at those positions. In the seventh round, I take a flyer on a developmental pass rusher (as Green Bay used to do with quarterbacks, I'm going to select one of these every year, knowing that they are both hard to find and a valuable commodity if they hit).
So, there it is, BTBers, Rabble's trade-down mock. What would you do given the same picks? Think you can do better? Hit the comments section and bestow your best mockery upon us!
And have a great draft, everyone. I'll see you on the other side!