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Four Cowboys Mock Drafts: Simulating Cowboys Trade Down Scenarios With

We examine different trade-down scenarios for the Cowboys and wonder whether trading down is a good idea.

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The possibility of trading down from the fourth overall spot has gained some traction among parts of the Cowboys fan base recently, but one of the key challenges to any trade-down strategy is finding a partner who's looking to trade up, as ESPN's Todd Archer explained recently:

I would be leery of trading down. Perhaps I would be OK moving down a few spots, but nothing out of the top 10 for sure.

There's also this -- every time people talk about trading down, I ask this question: Who will a team want to trade up to get? I don't know which prospect just yet who could command a ransom to move to the No. 4 pick.

Today we're going to explore three trade-down options and feed them into Drafttek's Online Draft Simulator (ODS), a free online tool that allows you to compile your own seven-round mock draft, and see what the Drafttek supercomputer comes up with.

The Online Draft Simulator (ODS) allows users to produce a computer generated model of the 2016 NFL Draft. The base elements the model works with are Drafttek's Big Board as well as team needs for each NFL team as compiled by the Drafttek staff. The data is regularly updated, and users can either stick with the preset values, or make changes along three key input variables: draft order, team needs and a grab or lockout feature that allows users to bypass the program logic. After making changes (if desired), the user can then generate a 7-round mock draft.

For those familiar with the ODS, you'll find the setting I used for the ODS at the bottom of the post. For those unfamiliar with the ODS, simply ignore it.

The trade-down scenarios we'll look at today involve the Rams and 49ers (I have both teams trading up for a QB to the No. 4 spot), and the Giants who could trade up to the fourth spot for Joey Bosa or Jalen Ramsey, both areas of need for the team. This gives me the following trade scenarios, two of which meet Archer's requirement of not moving out of the top ten.

First and third: San Francisco 7 + 68 (1,750 points) for Dallas 4 (1,800 points)

First and second: New York Giants 10 + 40 (1,800) for Dallas 4 (1,800)

First, second, and third: Los Angeles 15 + 43 + 76 (1,730) for Dallas 4 (1,800)

Mock 1: Base scenario, no trades

1st round (4th pick): Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida State - The Cowboys get the top defensive back in the draft

2nd round (34th pick): Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor - A Superfreak of an athlete, the formidable 6"7' Oakman has all the physical tools to be a terrifying pass rusher. While he has a great physique, his motor and play have been uneven, making him a perfect project for Rod Marinelli to help him reach his unquestioned potential.

3rd round (67th pick): Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville - Ranked much lower by Drafttek than by many other sites, Rankins is the closest this draft has to an Aaron Donald starter kit. Rankins is a natural 3-technique who could also play the 1-technique, and was the most productive defensive tackle in the draft from a FBS school (1.56 production ratio).

4th round (98th pick): Kenneth Dixon, RB, Louisiana Tech - Dixon averaged 5.6 yards per rush and 11.0 yards per catch over his college career. He has good vision, is a tough runner, and would add to the Cowboys' game as both a receiver and blocker.

6th round (171st pick): Antonio Morrison, LB, Florida - Before his knee injury two years ago at Florida, Morrison was viewed by many as a top 40 prospect. If healthy, he'd be a steal this late in the draft, and if not, he'd continue the Cowboys' long tradition of drafting injured linebackers for the following year.

Mock 2: San Francisco

(Straight trade with the 49ers for their 7th and 68th picks)

1st round (7th pick): Myles Jack, LB, UCLA - At 6-1 and 245 pounds Jack is compactly-built with good overall musculature, light feet, and natural ball-skills. Jack has the speed, agility and coverage skills that could make him the perfect middle linebacker for today's pass-happy offense.

2nd round (34th pick): Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor - See above.

3rd round (67th pick): Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA - Given his production at UCLA, it's surprising he hasn't gotten more attention in the pre-draft process. A versatile runner and reliable receiver, Perkins could be a day one starter.

3rd round (68th pick): Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor - Highly productive in college (9 INT, 23 PBUs, and 93 tackles in his last two seasons), Howard gives the Cowboys the plus size corner (6-1, 200 lbs) they covet so much.

4th round (98th pick): Deion Jones, OLB, LSU - Didn't get a lot of starts in college, but is being lauded as a three-down linebacker prospect with outstanding athleticism and above average intelligence. An OLB in a 4-3 scheme, the Cowboys show they own linebackers in the fourth round.

6th round (171st pick): Roger Lewis, WR, Bowling Green - The Cowboys can't go against type for very long and finally select a small-school standout. last year, Lewis ranked second nationally with 1,544 receiving yards on 85 catches and 16 touchdowns. Comes with some serious criminal red flags though.

Mock 3: New York Giants

(Straight trade with the Giants for their 10th and 40th picks. The ODS awards Myles Jack to the Cowboys again)

1st round (10th pick): Myles Jack, LB, UCLA - See above.

2nd round (34th pick): Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor - See above.

2nd round (34th pick): William Jackson III, CB, Baylor - Jackson had 33 pass breakups in his two years at Baylor, more than any draftable cornerback in the country, and allowed just 40 percent of passes thrown his way to be completed over last two years, a terrific value. He's another plus-size corner at 6-1, 195, and plays with an aggression that teams will love.

3rd round (67th pick): Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville - See above

4th round (98th pick): Devontae Booker, RB Utah - Booker fits the Cowboys' zone-blocking scheme to perfection with his ability to find the hole, his field vision and awareness, and with how he can diagnose the blocking in front of him. Booker's speed isn't a big deal in between the tackles. He's extremely shifty and because of his smaller frame, his low center of gravity makes it difficult for linebackers and cornerbacks on the second level and beyond to bring him down.

6th round (171st pick): Tajae Sharpe, WR, Massachusetts - Sharpe led the nation with 9.3 receptions per game last year and ranked sixth in yards per game (109.9-yard average). Sharpe is athletic enough and understands space and zones well enough to work out of the slot, but also has the size, speed and route-running ability to man an outside spot.

Mock 4: Los Angeles

(The Cowboys fleece the Rams for three picks, the 15th, 43rd, and 76th)

1st round (10th pick): Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss - Treadwell, who is quite similar to Dez Bryant in the way he makes plays on and with the football, would be an ideal fit opposite Bryant, and there is little doubt that a receiver like Treadwell could supercharge the Cowboys' offense. Plus Treadwell would be up for a new contract at exactly the time Bryant's contract expires, so there's some interesting symmetry here.

2nd round (34th pick): Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor - See above.

2nd round (43rd pick): William Jackson III, CB, Baylor - See above.

3rd round (67th pick): Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville - See above

3rd round (76th pick): Alex Collins, RB, Arkansas - Collins is only the third SEC player (after Herschel Walker Darren McFadden) to have three straight 1,000-plus yards rushing seasons. He may not be the fastest runner in the draft, but he is shifty with light feet and plays with a physical style that welcomes contact, and does most of his damage between the tackles. A patient runner who could excel behind the Cowboys O-line.

4th round (98th pick): Deion Jones, OLB, LSU - See above.

6th round (171st pick): Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU - A fun player to watch due to his playmaking skills, this is the very definition of a developmental prospect for the Cowboys. Boykin has upside, but could just as easily end up as another Isaiah Stanback.

So there you have it. Three trade-down mocks, all of which present interesting options for the Cowboys. Which one of the three do you prefer, or do you like the base mock the best? Let us know in the poll and the comments section below.



I maintained Drafttek's baseline grabs and lockouts, but locked out Paxton Lynch and Ezekiel Elliott. Instead I added Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack as first-round grabs. I also changed Drafttek's priority codes for Cowboys team needs a little as follows:

Code 3: DE, CB, QB, RB,
Code 4: DT, ILB, FS,
Code 5: OLB, WR
Code 6: OT, OG
Code 9: SS, OC, FB

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