I believe that as Cowboys fans it is time for us to come to grips with the idea that our 2014 draft love child Aaron Donald will be selected before the Cowboys get on the clock at 16, whether it be #8 to Minnesota, #12 to the New York Giants, or #14 to Chicago, the odds are against a drop by Donald all the way to 16. So now with only 30 days remaining until the 2014 version of Football Christmas, let's discuss a possibility that is both legitimate and holds the potential to come true. A few days ago, my good buddy Rabble took a shot at the "Worst Case Scenario" for the Cowboys in the draft. But we'll look a little more optimistically.
First of all, let's frame the situation, it is one that was indirectly discussed on the dc.com Draft Show last Friday. Let's say that at #16, the best player on the Cowboys board, who is available, is the Fightin Texas Aggie (WHOOP!) WR Mike Evans, and the second best player is Notre Dame OL Zack Martin. For a little background information, let's say that at #4 overall, the Browns selected any one of the "Big 3" Quarterbacks, whether it's Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, or Sir Johnathan Football. When the Cowboys get on the clock at 16, they fill out the card for the Evans pick, and the phone rings, when Stephen (yes, Stephen) Jones answers, it is Ray Farmer, GM of the Browns, calling about jumping from #26 overall up to #16 to grab Evans, who is a top 5 player on their board, to go with their shiny new QB, before Baltimore gets a chance to make the #17 overall selection.
The difference in value on the Jimmy Johnson Value Chart between the 16th and 26th selection is exactly 300 points. Which is equivalent to a pick at the back end of the 2nd round (#60 overall). However, the Browns hold the #36, and #71 picks, meaning they must either over pay, or package their 4th round pick (#106) with their 3rd (#71) in order to get to the Cowboys spot.
In this situation, with two players on the board who I am happy to select, I am letting Cleveland know that the price to get to #16 is the #36 overall pick.
Once the trade is completed, and the Browns select Evans, the Cowboys would have the #26, 36, and 47 picks in a draft with a massive sweet spot in the late first and second rounds. In order to gain some perspective, let's look at the guys who play positions viewed by many as "Primary Needs" for the Cowboys that would have a legitimate chance of being the highest graded player on the board at any of those three picks. For the purpose of the exercise I've considered the primary needs to be Rushmen, Safety, Linebacker, Offensive Line (G/T), and Wide Receiver.
|Rushmen||Safety||Linebacker||Offensive Guard / Tackle||Wide Receiver|
|Kony Ealy, MIZZOU||Calvin Pryor, Lou||, Bama||Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA||Brandin Cooks, Ore. St.|
|Dee Ford, AUB||Jimmie Ward, N. Ill.||Ryan Shazier, TOSU||David Yankey, STAN||Marqise Lee, USC|
|Scott Crichton, Ore. St.||Lamarcus Joyner, Fla St.||Kyle Van Noy, BYU||Gabe Jackson, Miss St.||Kelvin Benjamin, Fla. St.|
|Kareem Martin, UNC||Cyrus Kouandjio, Bama||Allen Robinson, Penn St.|
|Jeremiah Attaochu, Ga Tech||Morgan Moses, UVA||Davante Adams, Fresno|
|Demarcus Lawrence, Boise St.||Joel Bitonio, Nevada||Martavis Bryant, Clemson|
|RaShede Hageman, Minn||JaWuan James, Tenn||Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss|
|Dominique Easley, Fla|
These guys are all players who are ranked somewhere from 20 through 60 overall on the CBSSports.com rankings. That's 28 players in that range who would be good value, and would have an opportunity to make an impact on the team very early, and you have the ability to pick 3 of them.
Last year we saw the Cowboys trade back in the first round, which ultimately resulted in being able to select three players who were slotted from 21 to 25 overall on their board (thanks again Rabs!), and two of the three (Frederick, Williams) made significant impacts, while the third is expected to take on an increased role in 2014 after showing flashes in 2013. A trade like this one could result in a similar haul in 2014, and set Dallas up for increased success in 2014 and beyond.
I decided to go through and just toss out a few scenarios I could see taking place from these guys.
|Pick||Scenario #1||Scenario #2||Scenario #3||Scenario #4|
Any one of those combinations provides significant value, as well as upgrades at three positions of need, who will significantly improve the team early and in the long run. All while leaving Will McClay, the Jones' and Coach Garrett NINE additional selections to use to get the guys and/or future picks that they want to get to set the team up both short and long term.