As the draft process has progressed, it’s become difficult to marry yourself to the idea of a lot of players that may be available when the Cowboys pick at 28. We’ve seen front-runners like Takkarist McKinley get much-needed shoulder surgery that should keep him out a month into the season. We’ve also seen guys like Fabian Moreau injure themselves in their Pro Day, making it even more difficult when Jerry Jones has stated he wanted to avoid injury risks this year.
What has been digested and recycled over the last four months has been this notion that 2017’s draft class is quite deep at certain positions. That is very true but don’t confuse that to mean that there are a ton of first-round talents. The truth is, according to draft connoisseurs like Dane Brugler and Bryan Broaddus, the first round still has only about 18-20 true first-round talents. The depth begins from the second round and goes through the middle rounds. With the Cowboys picking at 28, don’t just assume they will get one of those true first-round talents because they likely won’t.
We’ve heard it all before that usually when you’re picking at the bottom of the first round, you’re looking at second-round talents. That certainly means the Cowboys will be picking among the best second-round talents available but that is also why a trade down scenario would just tickle the Joneses if it’s available. This should be the priority for the Cowboys, much like it has for the Patriots (fourth time since 2000 with no first-rounder) to stockpile picks in the middle rounds. If Dallas could move down just a few spots in the first or possibly at the top of the second round, it could be very beneficial for this team.
Dallas has seven picks but two of them are seventh-round selections which might as well be UDFA territory. They currently don’t have a fifth-rounder which would be nice to get back but they also could use more picks to fill out the roster. The Cowboys can only do so much with their four premium picks from rounds 1-4 but if they could acquire a few more picks, they could really be helping themselves tremendously. Though I was a huge proponent for the secondary overhaul, my colleague VAfan pointed out that it comes with risks. Dallas needs talent above all else and a trade back would be the best way to fill their needs. Let’s not forget that the Cowboys could use 2-3 defensive backs, both safety, and cornerback, they need an edge rusher, and depth at other positions, too.
As sweet as it would be to get a trade down scenario in the works, you got to have someone that is willing to move up to get there. That’s where this year may be difficult to pull one off. After all, why would someone come up to get a guy when they can sit pat and possibly get someone they like with little to no drop off? Ask yourself what the difference is between Myles Garrett and Takk McKinley and you have a huge discrepancy. However, when comparing McKinley and say a Charles Harris (who is healthy), there may not be much difference in the players. Cornerback will likely be the same story as there are plenty of guys behind the Top Gun in Marshon Lattimore, but nobody seems to have a consistent read on who is that next guy.
That’s what happens when you have a plethora of Top-50 players but the same Top-20 players as typical drafts. Sure, the value will be huge for teams with multiple picks but getting in on that action will be a tall task. There are desperate teams every year that are willing to move up for guys and the hope is that 2017 will find someone in the hunt for a quarterback or offensive player who has fallen. If that’s the case, the hope is that the Cowboys could make something happen. But, we must also address the value in these draft day trades, will they be the same as the famed Draft Value Chart that was coined by Jimmy Johnson way back when? Perhaps not, something tells me that it’ll be very hard to pry away people’s third-round picks for day one trades. If you’re looking for a fleecing, you may have to wait for another year when the quarterbacks get better. That’s the rub, quarterbacks always drive the trade market and this year’s crop aren’t looking in the least bit enticing. What if you’re trying to trade back in the first but can only get an extra four or perhaps two fours where you would typically get a three? Yeah, it’s pretty frustrating to rack the brain about.
Though this year doesn’t seem to shape up like a draft full of trade excitement, it certainly seems like a ripe year for the picking. Again, it all depends on who is there and what his value is to a certain team in need. If there is going to be an active trade market, it may not begin until the second round and that could benefit the Cowboys too if they’re smart, which we think they are. This is the first year that compensatory picks can be traded and the Cowboys could get in on that action. Dallas doesn’t have any compensatory picks this year but they stand to gain quite a bit next year. What if they got in the game of dealing next year’s regular picks? Maybe that’s playing it too cute, maybe not but it’s a thought and they wouldn’t even have to be that specific. Still, next year selections do not carry much value when the premium is on this year’s collateral.
Though it’s hard to see happening perfectly, that perfect world scenario would be the Cowboys trading down a few spots in order to get another pick. P.T. Barnum once said: “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Hopefully, for the Cowboys, someone comes a calling on draft day looking to unload a pick or two.