Opportunity cost. It is a term that means that whenever you make a specific decision to get a specific result, you give up all the alternative outcomes. This is a subject of much anguish among us humans, because we always think about the good things that might have happened. You know, if you buy the new family car the wife wants, you have to put off getting the pickup with the big wheels and all the fancy chromey stuff. But you don't think about the fact that the new, un-sexy sedan may have kept your family safe in that nasty rainstorm. No, you just wish you had a big toy like Bubba down the street. And the miserable home life that would have resulted.
The NFL Draft offers the same choice for teams. Do you go offense or defense? Stick with your pick, trade down, trade up? We all know how things played out for the Dallas Cowboys with the blockbuster trade for Morris Claiborne. And now, thanks to an interview Stephen Jones gave Rob Phillips at the official team website, we have a good idea of what the other outcome likely would have been.
Had they stayed put at No. 14, Jones said LSU defensive lineman Michael Brockers (who went there to St. Louis) likely would have been the pick -- unless they had the option to consider a trade down that would have netted them an extra high pick.
This pretty much confirms the reports prior to the draft that Brockers was on the Dallas short list. Going into the draft, Brockers or a trade down were the only things the team really considered, because they just did not see how the first five teams to pick in the draft would pass up Claiborne.
But they did, and Claiborne became our new favorite rookie. So now, we are left asking if the team got the best deal possible, or could it have played out better if Stephen and the rest of the brain trust had gone a different direction?
What might have happened otherwise after the jump.
Stephen said that the team was leaning toward Brockers, and he made it fairly clear that some of the other options that may have been popular with the fans were not so favorably viewed by the team.
"I would have guessed that we would have moved back if we were going to go anywhere," Jones said. "We obviously liked Brockers and he probably would have ended up being our pick because we thought he was quite a bit better than taking say an offensive guard."
That is a pretty clear indication that fan flavor of the month David DeCastro was not seen as being worth the fourteenth pick. So if the team had gone with Brockers, they would also have likely stayed defense with pick 45, which was traded to get to Pick 6. According to a remark by Jerry Jones, it would also have been a pick for the defense.
Asked about that scenario following the end of the third round Friday night, Dallas owner Jerry Jones struggled to think of the name of the player the Cowboys liked when the 45th pick was on the board.
All he seemed to remember was that it was a linebacker.
About five minutes later, Jones finally came up with the name, "Wagner."
That would be Utah State inside linebacker Bobby Wagner, who went 47th overall to the Seattle Seahawks.
Jones also ruled out center Peter Konz and a possible trade to get OLB Courtney Upshaw.
This is one case where I have a hard time seeing the downside to the move to get Claiborne. While Brockers and Wagner are certainly talented players, I expect Pick 6 to have a bigger impact, both as a rookie and in the years to come.
Oh, while I'm thinking about it, here is a picture of Mo getting his gear at Valley Ranch.
How do you think @moclaiborne looks in Cowboys gear? #cowboynation twitter.com/dallascowboys/…— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) May 3, 2012
Back to the topic at hand, I also feel like going for another ILB in the second round for the third consecutive year would not only have been a bit puzzling, it would have been downright upsetting to most of the readers here. I am pretty content with what the team did instead. I am in that initial, rosy glow that comes after what I think is a good draft, but I feel that the team did a good job with the six picks they had after Pick 6. Like the one they used for this guy:
Cowboy fans, welcome 3rd round draft pick Tyrone Crawford @TCrawford_40 to the team. #cowboynation twitter.com/dallascowboys/…— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) May 3, 2012
But what if the team could have gotten some additional picks with a trade down? Stephen indicated the team was considering it, if they could get one fairly high pick for a small move back.
"But at the same time, when it got right down there to it and someone offered us a big pick - we were thinking we might get a (second-round) offer to go from 14 to 18 or 14 to 20 knowing that you still might get a hell of an offensive guard, a guy like (David) DeCastro or (Kevin) Zeitler or someone like that. We would have obviously looked at that."
I'll be honest. The idea of trading back a few spots in order to come away with David DeCastro (who was still there at 24) and getting a mid to high second round pick - that does make me wonder. Of course it would depend on whether DeCastro is who we thought he was. The team, it appears, was not so sure.
So in the end, I am going to be happy for what we got. Even including this seventh round pick.
Cowboys 7th rd draft pick Caleb McSurdy being fitted for his gear #cowboynation twitter.com/dallascowboys/…— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) May 3, 2012
I threw that in for two reasons: First, I had no idea what Caleb looked like. (Makes me feel old, that's for sure.) And second - well, can you guess what I saw about this picture that I liked?