During the 2020 season, the Dallas Cowboys were at one time in line to get the fourth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Then they went on a three-game winning streak, and slid to tenth. Many bemoan the loss of draft capital. It was believed that the fourth pick would be a prime target for some team seeking to trade up, especially one that was in need of a quarterback. Now that has been lost.
Hold on a minute. That may not be the case at all. There still may be a chance for the Cowboys to trade back in the first and accumulate some additional picks, especially on day two where the talent is still good.
At The Athletic, Dan Brugler has a two round mock draft up. His introduction seems rather pertinent.
The quarterback movement this offseason will be fascinating.
Do the Colts bring back Philip Rivers or move on? How does the new Jets head coach feel about Sam Darnold? Do the 49ers have an upgrade in mind for Jimmy Garoppolo? What about Chicago? New England? Washington?
The questions go on and on. Several quarterback-needy teams will look to the draft to find the answers, which is one of the reasons many expect four quarterbacks to be selected in the top 10, which has only happened once — in 2018.
Aside from worthy quarterback talent at the top of the draft, several around the league also voiced a lack of optimism about the 2022 quarterback draft class (based on early scouting) as another contributing factor why teams will be more aggressive drafting quarterbacks in April.
What we know is there is more demand than supply, making this two-round mock draft an exercise of quarterback musical chairs.
In his mock, he has four quarterbacks going before Dallas’ spot. But that may not be all the teams that choose to go after one. According to Drafttek, there are six QBs coming out of college that are first-round talents, or just outside. And we are yet to see how things shake out in the college showcase games and the combine. It is possible that one or more will move up in the minds of NFL staffs, which is all that matters, Additionally, there is no position so badly over-drafted as quarterback, because teams are well aware that it is almost impossible to succeed in this league without a good one. As Brugler notes, a lot of them have nothing but question marks. Most of the teams he brings up as possibilities outside of the usual suspects this year are behind the Cowboys in the draft order.
Suppose the New England Patriots decided to offer their 15 and 46 to come up and get a new QB, giving up a little extra draft capital in the deal. Having an additional second-round pick could be very important in fortifying the defense, or maybe offer a chance to get a bit of needed depth on the offensive line. There are multiple other possibilities, but the principle is the same. In a draft that does not appear to have a large contingent of blue-chip talent at the top, mining the second round for an additional potential starter is certainly worth consideration. Remember, last year the Cowboys got Trevon Diggs in the second, and by the end of the season, he was the best defensive back they had.
The best case scenario for Dallas would be if someone like Trey Lance was still available when they went on the clock, or if Mac Jones or Kyle Trask turned some heads at the combine. It could make pick ten very, very valuable to more than one team.
With a fairly large group of quarterbacks that are at least worthy of some consideration for the first round, and a weak class coming behind them, the idea of trading back is hardly as dead as some may have thought. Beyond that, some other top ten level talent may still be attractive to a team behind the Cowboys, such as WR Ja’Marr Chase or the player Brugler mocked to them, OT Rashawn Slater. Dallas still has to made the decision whether they should use that tenth pick to get someone they really want. But if the trade back is small enough, or if they just feel better about the middle of the first round than their current pick, they should definitely entertain any offers that give them enough value in return.
Jerry Jones loves him some trading in the draft. This could be an excellent year for him to let that loose - as long as it is in the right direction.