It’s not often the Dallas Cowboys move down in the draft. Since 2010, Dallas has traded down just once, in 2013. That year, the Cowboys sent their first-round pick, number 18 overall, to the San Francisco 49ers for their first- and third-round selections.
With those two picks, Dallas selected center Travis Frederick and wide receiver Terrance Williams. Despite receiving heavy criticism at the time, the move down for Frederick turned out to be a great one, as the now-retired 29-year-old was a five-time Pro Bowler in his six-year career. Williams also was a dependable wideout, surpassing 550 receiving yards in five of his six NFL seasons.
So how does this relate to 2020? Well, the Cowboys are once again in a unique spot. With an offense-heavy top of the draft, there appears to be only two defenders (CBs Caleb Farley and Patrick Surtain II) worthy of a top-ten pick. Unless a blue-chip prospect, like tackle Penei Sewell, falls all the way to the 10, it wouldn't make sense for the Cowboys to spend a premium pick on an offensive player with so many holes on defense.
But, what if one of the top four quarterbacks or top three receivers falls to pick 10? Even if one of the top two corners is still on the board, if a team was willing to give up solid draft capital to move up, would it benefit Dallas more to acquire multiple picks, rather than stick and pick Farley or Surtain II at 10? To answer this question, let’s see how it could play out.
Hypothetically, the Cowboys are on the clock at pick 10. Farley was selected by the Detroit Lions at pick seven, but Surtain II is still there for the picking. Sticking and selecting the Alabama corner would be a solid move, but what if the Oakland Raiders come calling with a trade offer? Oakland offers Dallas picks 17 and 48 for number 10 overall.
For the sake of this scenario, let’s say Dallas accepts the trade. They now hold four picks in the first three rounds and are once again on the clock at pick 17. Lucky for the Cowboys, talented South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn is still on the board. I went ahead and finished out the trade-down mock draft, and here’s what the Cowboys walked away with in the first four rounds. (Mock draft via The Draft Network)
Our very own Connor Livesay posted his latest mock draft simulation on Monday in which he too examined the trade down possibility.
I promise that this is in fact the one pic.twitter.com/JgjJSMbtVC— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) February 22, 2021
In both of the above scenarios, the Cowboys were able to walk away with five defenders in the top 115 picks. Also, potentially the biggest selling point of all, moving out of pick 10 allowed Dallas to double-dip at cornerback.
With all the uncertainty in the secondary, and Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis’s time in Dallas potentially up, selecting two cornerbacks in the first four rounds may be a necessity. If the Cowboys are to stick with their 10th pick, they probably won’t have the draft assets to spend two top 100 picks on a cornerback.
A potential trade down likely will be decided by how much of a gap the Cowboys believe there is between their top two defenders on the board versus their third or fourth. For example, like in both the scenarios above, if getting Horn over Surtain II, but also picking up another top 50 pick ultimately worth it.
With all their holes on defense and limited resources to fill them, this may be the year the Cowboys should strongly consider a trade down scenario.