When I was 12 years old I worked at my dad's welding shop for half a day on Saturdays. It wasn't much - some sweeping, washing trucks, and general picking up and organizing parts. It wasn't a fun way to spend part of your weekend, but it put twenty bucks in my pocket. The best part of earning that money was that I got to decide how to spend it. Back then, you could stretch $20 pretty far. I could get a Huey Lewis and the News cassette tape, some Big League Chew, rent the latest WrestleMania VHS, and still have enough left for corn dog and a 49 cent Big Gulp at 7/11. Budgeting my money allowed to maximize the enjoyment I could get out of my money.
It's going to take more than twenty dollars, but the Cowboys have the draft resources to get some great players next month. But how can they get the most out of this draft?
Last year, the Cowboys stayed put for most of the draft and trusted their board when it was their time to pick. Selecting late in each round, the Cowboys didn't have the draft resources to play around with. That is not the case this year. The Cowboys have a great opportunity to collect a bag full of great college football players and make our weekends enjoyable again.
Let's take a look at how the Cowboys can pull this off.
Pick four gets here and Dallas is not enamored by the players they have to choose from. The next few players on their board are all about the same and they feel that one of them would be available if they moved back a little. However, the New York Giants see someone they love and since they are big splash makers this offseason they agree to trade their #10 pick (1300 points) + their second round pick, #40 (500 points) for the Cowboys #4 pick (1800 points). With the 10th overall pick in the draft, they select the top player on their board who also accommodates one of their biggest needs.
#10 CB, Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
The Cowboys would get the best pure corner in the draft. The athleticism combined with how fundamentally sound he is would give the defense a day one starter. The Cowboys would also save themselves some money in two ways. First, going from a #4 to a #10 pick shaves about $2 million per year off the rookie contract. Second, Brandon Carr now becomes completely expendable, adding another $6.4 million in cap space. That's an $8.4 million dollar move.
As the draft continues, the Cowboys war room sees one of their first round graded players falling. With some additional draft credit in their pocket, they decide to burn a little of it and move up to take their guy. They trade pick #34 (560 points) + #67 (255 points) to the Houston Texans for pick #22 (780 points). With the 22nd overall pick in the draft, they take one of the drafts best edge rushers.
#22 DE, Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State
Some people would argue that this is too early for Ogbah (CBS has him at 30). Others would argue that he doesn't make it to 22 as his stock is rising. But in this scenario he falls, which is why the Cowboys move in.
The Cowboys close out the first round with two quality starters that fill the team's two biggest needs on defense.
On to day two...
Dallas traded their own second round pick to the Texans, but they still have the one they got from the Giants. When pick #40 gets here, the Cowboys again have a handful of players in this area rated the same. They trade back ten spots and give the Atlanta Falcons their #40 pick (500 points) for their #50 (400) + #115 (64). Sitting more in the middle of the second round, the Cowboys snag one of the better running backs in the draft.
#50 RB, Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech
The Cowboys don't get the star running back that many fans were hoping for, but they get a very good one. Dixon checks off so many boxes: great vision, shifty, the build to take punishment, great blocker, and great hands to be a good pass-catching back. The addition of a back like Dixon will give the Cowboys a dynamic running back group that will go oh-so nicely with their dominate offensive line.
The Cowboys are done in day two as they no longer have a third round pick.
When day three begins the Cowboys will have three picks in the fourth round to use at their disposal. They decide to waste no more time and pull the trigger on the best quarterback remaining on their board.
#101, QB, Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Prescott is a development project, but he has high upside. This is exactly what the teams is looking for with a couple good years of Tony Romo still left in the tank.
#115, SS, Miles Killebrew, Southern Utah
The Cowboys got themselves a strong coverage safety last season when they drafted Byron Jones. This year they look for a ferocious, hard-hitting, run stopping strong safety. His tape was fun to watch. (Let me know your favorite play in the comments. Mine is at the 1:40 mark)
#135, OLB, Travis Feeney, Washington
The Cowboys find themselves a great situational defender late in this round. Feeney is a tweenie, I mean tweener, who is a little undersized for the linebacker position, but would be great in coverage. And if the team wants an extra run stopper on short yardage downs, he has the athleticism to slide in at strong safety.
The Cowboys need to go at this draft hard. They can pull out some nice selections if they can find some trading partners and swindle some deals. They haven't been very good in the latter parts of drafts, so that makes it even more crucial to come away with some great players in the earlier rounds. The Cowboys have plenty of draft stock, but they got to put it to good use.
What is the best collection of players you think the Cowboys could land in the first four rounds?