When it comes to the NFL draft, smokescreens are used to affect other teams' draft boards. In the past, teams have leaked medical information to hurt the draft stock of a player. While it's the most important event of the NFL offseason, it needs to be said that the draft is a game, and how well franchises play this game could have real implications on the future of their team.
In the past few weeks, Carson Wentz has gone from a small-school, blue-collar kid at North Dakota State to a legitimate top-5 draft pick in this year's class. Sitting with the fourth-overall pick, the Dallas Cowboys find themselves at an interesting position. Despite holding one of the better spots for the draft, the Cowboys are a team that has the potential to make a deep run in the playoffs in 2016. Knowing that as well as the fact that Jerry Jones is known to move around on draft day, the Cowboys could be in the market to trade back and pick up some extra picks in the process.
To do this, there has to be a team that loves a guy. That team has to be willing to give up multiple draft picks to select their guy. In 2012, the Washington Redskins gave up three first-round picks as well as a second-round pick to draft Robert Griffin III. Because the quarterback position is the most important position in football, many teams will be in the market for one in this year's draft.
The Cowboys coached a roster for this year's Senior Bowl and on that roster was perhaps the draft's biggest mystery in Carson Wentz. For the week leading up to the Senior Bowl, Wentz was impressive in front of NFL scouts and coaches in Mobile, Alabama. He showed off his football intelligence, his arm strength, his ball placement, as well as that "it" factor that so many draft analysts look for in a quarterback. One team that surely took notice of all of these things were the Cowboys. Jerry Jones shook his hand and traded laughs with him, Jason Garrett has spent a ton of his time with him, and he was the clear focal part of the Cowboys-led North squad's offense.
If the Cowboys have their eyes set on Super Bowl LI in 2017, then drafting a quarterback might be less likely, while drafting a defensive guy like Jalen Ramsey or Myles Jack or even drafting an offensive play-maker like Laquon Treadwell is definitely in the equation. If this is indeed the Cowboys' play, then maybe the Cowboys are making a smokescreen of their own by hyping up a guy like Wentz.
Sure the Cowboys have a need at the quarterback position and the Cowboys will have a better feel than any team in football in terms of knowing what Wentz can bring to the table in the NFL. However, when NFL teams see Wentz, they see him flash a ton of potential, but the mystery with him is that he was doing this against FCS-level teams. Nevertheless, because all of the intangibles are there with him, this could tempt a quarterback-needy team to pull the trigger and bring him into their offense.
Some teams that could be in the market for a quarterback are the Cleveland Browns, the New York Jets, the St. Louis Rams, and, maybe the main target, the San Francisco 49ers. The Browns hold the second-overall pick and if they select California's Jared Goff, it would immediately establish Wentz as 'the next guy' to take. If one of the above teams absolutely falls in love with Wentz, then the Cowboys would be the perfect team to call up and figure out a trade with.
Being in the position they are in trading back may not resonate that well with fans, but because the Cowboys have so many needs, mainly across the defense, this might just be the move that needs to be made to immediately help the team in 2016 and beyond. By trading back, the Cowboys would pick up more picks in a deep defensive class that boasts a ton of unique linebackers and defensive tackles, two positions of which that the Cowboys will need to upgrade at some point this offseason. Dallas' interest in Wentz may be real, but his potential and the eye test from watching him alone will push a team to make a play for him, giving the Cowboys the perfect chance to stock up with draft picks. This may just be the Cowboys' plan the whole time.