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Why The Cowboys Won’t Be Trading Draft Picks In The First Round Of The 2017 Draft

If you are expecting the Cowboys to move out of pick 28, brace yourself for disappointment.

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NFL Draft Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Just a couple years ago there was a strong belief among many fans that Jerry Jones was a wheeling-and-dealing fool when it came to the coveted first-round pick in the draft. It was like the pick was burning a hole in his pocket and he just had to trade it away. Whether he was trading it away entirely for a player from another team or using it to add an extra pick, you could always count on the Cowboys to move. During the five years from 2009 to 2013, only once did the Cowboys pick at their designated spot.

  • 2009, traded it away to acquire WR, Roy Williams from Detroit.
  • 2010, moved up and selected Dez Bryant
  • 2011, stayed put and selected Tyron Smith
  • 2012, moved up and selected Morris Claiborne
  • 2013, traded back and selected Travis Frederick and got an extra pick to select Terrance Williams in the third round

Some of these moves worked out magnificently, yielding All Pros, but others saw the front office fall flat on their face.

After witnessing all the trade action that went down during those years, some of us started to condition ourselves to expect the Cowboys to move around and pick somewhere other than where they were slated to pick in the first round. We would conjure up different trade scenarios as we attempted to predict what the organization would do. But now, over the last two years, the Cowboys have duped us again as they have managed to stay put and pick at their regular spot. Is this attributed to not having any appealing offers to get the player they want? Or maybe the effect of more influence of the patient, yet diligent work of the super trio of Stephen Jones, Jason Garrett, and Will McClay has something to do with it?

Looking ahead to the draft in a few weeks, what are the chances of Dallas moving out of 28 this year?

We’ve all heard about this commitment to best player available and how the key to successful drafting is taking a great player, regardless of position. And we’ve also heard how critical it is for the Cowboys to take a defensive player in this draft, particularly at defensive end or in the secondary. But to achieve the best of both worlds, the Cowboys need to have “BPA” and “need” align together. And the only way to guarantee such is to move to that exact spot.

A lot of people are intrigued by the possibility of trading back in order to obtain some extra draft stock. Since the talent around 28 doesn’t look a whole lot better than the early second round, the Cowboys could still get a comparable player and grab another pick in a draft that is deep with starting caliber players. This seems like a great thing to do if there is not a player sitting there at 28 that really excites the war room.

But is that even something that could happen? After all, it takes two to tango. Looking at the distribution of the talent in this draft, making a deal like that seems really challenging. Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus recently explained why we won’t likely see many trades in the first round.

In this draft — more than any in recent memory — I anticipate a first round with very few trades. The reason being: I can’t think of too many players I’d fall in love with enough to part with picks. Outside of edge defender Myles Garrett and linebacker Reuben Foster, there’s a legitimate debate for the top player at almost every single position on the field. Now, there is some scarcity at positions, like offensive tackle and maybe wide receiver, where if you don’t get one of the top three there’s a dropoff, but that’s about it.

While there isn’t a lot of “wow” players that will draw some early trade action, the large range of talent of next tier players should keep a lot of teams in their seats.

The loaded nature at the top is only one half of the equation. The other half is that there are guys who’ll go in the second round this year that would have easily been first-rounders a year ago. The 36th player on PFF’s final draft board in 2016 was Noah Spence, who at the time we knew was limited to a pass-rusher-only role in the pros. This season, the 36th player on our 2017 board is Taco Charlton, a complete defensive end who will be able to do it all right away. If Spence was in this class, he’d likely be slotted around 72nd, where we have Illinois’ Dawuane Smoot at the moment. Position-by-position, those same sorts of translations can be made. The fact of the matter is, if you’re forfeiting an early-round pick via trade, chances are you’re passing up an immediate starter.

This is both good news and bad news. It’s good in the sense that the Cowboys stand a great chance of getting quality players with both picks 28 and 60. Picking towards the end of the round isn’t going to cause them to miss out on some great players. But it’s bad in the sense that other teams aren’t going to be willing to part with those second- and third-round draft picks when there are so many good players to choose from. Some deals will be made, but it’s going to be like pulling teeth to get teams to package away quality draft picks.

Fans should prepare themselves for another draft of picking at the designated spots. The Cowboys are always on the prowl to make a deal if they feel it benefits the team, however, the brain trusts have developed a greater sense of value of those precious draft picks. It would be very shocking to see them move up. Trading back may be something that they try hard to do, but that could prove more difficult than some realize. Picking up some extra draft stock would be nice, but if that doesn’t materialize the Cowboys are still in business. They’ll have a good player to select from when they are on the clock and Jerry Jones knows it...

"I have never looked at where we were when we started a draft and thought we are not going to get a very good player right there” said Jones.

Well, that comment certainly doesn’t align with his actions in years past when he’s moved around, but it’s telling to how he feels now. His people have convinced him that great players can still be obtained without putting on your fancy pants.

Do you think the Cowboys will move away from pick 28?

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