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NFL Draft 2014: Should Cowboys Move Around Or Stay Put On Draft Day?

Conventional wisdom holds that teams should trust their draft board and take the best talent that slides into their lap. At the same time, moving back a few spots could net you extra picks with which to address holes in your roster. What to do?

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Just a year ago, the thought of trading down would have been met with a largely negative response by Cowboys fans, as we were collectively still smarting from the 2009 debacle that saw the Cowboys trading down multiple times in the draft, only to end up with nothing. A small fraction of the fanbase would probably have argued that trading down would allow the Cowboys to address depth issues and increase the overall value of their draft picks, but the majority would probably have categorically ruled out trading down, if for no other reason than an inherent distrust of the Cowboys' front office.

Then something funny happened. The Cowboys traded down last year, and after one NFL season, the selection of Travis Frederick and Terrance Williams looks like a great success. Suddenly it's okay to talk about trading down. In fact, bouyed by the successful 2013 trade down, popular sentiment has shifted to such a degree that you'll be hard-pressed to find a fan mock these days that doesn't have the Cowboys trading down.

Such is the fickle nature of our fandom.

Over the last 25 drafts, Jerry Jones and the Cowboys have engineered 67 trades involving draft picks. Some of those trades, like the franchise-defining Hershel Walker trade in 1989, were hugely successful. Others, like the acquisition of wide receiver Roy Williams, were unmitigated disasters.

The Cowboys have been involved in draft day trades in 23 of their 25 drafts under Jerry Jones. You may not like it, but the Cowboys are going to move around in the draft, that's almost a given. The only two years in which the Cowboys managed to keep their feet still on draft weekend were 2000 and 2011.

Also, if you were planning to make yourself comfortable on draft weekend and watch the Cowboys first- and second-round selections, don't get too comfortable: In the quarter century of drafts Jerry Jones has presided over, ten drafts did not have the Cowboys picking at least once in the first and second round.

And while Jerry Jones may not be the maverick owner he once was, his appetite for wheeling and dealing remains as strong as ever (see detailed list of more recent trades at the bottom of this post)

The danger in moving around is that you can end up missing some very good players. In 2009, the Cowboys traded out of the 51st pick for the 75th (Robert Brewster) and 110th (Victor Butler) pick. Within nine picks of that original pick, OG Andy Levitre (51), RB LeSean McCoy (53), OT Phil Loadholt (54), OT Sebastian Vollmer (58) and OT William Beatty (60) were selected, all of whom would have been a dramatic upgrade over anybody the Cowboys ended up selecting. At the same time, had the Cowboys not traded up the three spots in the first round and four spots in the second round of the 2010 draft, they wouldn't have gotten Dez Bryant and Sean Lee.

Which just goes to show that if you cherry-pick your examples, you can prove just about anything.

So what do you think: Can the Cowboys sit tight during the draft? And more importantly, should they?

Cowboys recent trade history involving draft picks

2009 Draft Picks:

- Traded for 1st, 3rd and 6th for WR Roy Williams (20, 82, 192 = RW, 210)
- Traded down with Buffalo for more picks (51 = 75, 110) -> OL Robert Brewster, LB Victor Butler
- Traded down with Tampa Bay for more picks (117 = 120, 229) -> LB Brandon Williams, WR Manuel Johnson
- Moved up 13 spots to 143 in trade with Atlanta (143 = 156, 210) -> DB DeAngelo Smith

2010 Draft Picks:

- Moved up three spots in trade with Patriots to grab WR Dez Bryant (24, 119 = 27, 90)
- Moved up four spots in trade with Eagles to get LB Sean Lee (55 = 59, 125)
- Traded down with Miami for extra picks (119 = 126, 179) -> DB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, OL Sam Young
- Traded fifth round pick (158 ) to Denver for OG Montrae Holland

2011 Draft Picks:

- Traded Patrick Crayton to San Diego for 2011 seventh-round pick (220) -> FB Shaun Chapas

2012 Draft Picks:

- Moved up to the sixth spot to get CB Morris Claiborne (6 = 14, 45)

2013 Draft Picks:

- Traded down with San Francisco for more picks (18 = 31, 74) -> C Travis Frederick, WR Terrance Williams
- Traded 2013 seventh-round pick to Miami for C Ryan Cook

2014 Draft Picks:

- Traded 2014 sixth-round pick to Kansas City for DE Edgar Jones and a 2014 seventh-round pick
- Traded TE Dante Rosario to Chicago for conditional 2014 seventh-round pick

2015 Draft Picks:

- Traded conditional 2015 pick to Indianapolis for DE Caesar Rayford
- Traded DT Sean Lissemore to San Diego for conditional 2015 seventh-round pick

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