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How the Panthers could cause the Cowboys to pursue a first-round trade back in the 2021 draft

Things don’t always go as planned in the NFL draft.

NFL: NFL Draft Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve seen that the Dallas Cowboys plan on defense is to bring in cheap players to fill positions of need in preparation for the draft. Par for the course for the Cowboys before the draft, but now after the Carolina Panthers decided to trade for Sam Darnold, a potential grenade has been thrown into the Cowboys draft plans. It has the possibility to create problems for the Cowboys and cause them to trade back, or take a player at a position of need, if no one wants to move up and their top players on their board are wiped out.

Last season the Cowboys were in this situation when the Atlanta Falcons were drafting ahead of them. Both teams had similar needs, now fast forward to this season and it’s the same situation all over again but this time it’s with the Panthers. The move to get Darnold made this worse for the Cowboys as many people assumed that the Panthers were going to target one of the quarterbacks in this draft, but now they have the ability to move to another position of need, cornerback.

The Panthers depth at cornerback isn’t the best, and now with the eighth pick they have the ability to pick the main prospect mocked to the Cowboys in Patrick Surtain II, which could be followed by the Denver Broncos to take a cornerback which is a position of need. The Broncos may have signed cornerback Ronald Darby to a three-year deal, but they signed Kyle Fuller to just a one-year deal meaning they still need a cornerback of the future. So now the Broncos take Jaycee Horn because they aren’t sure how well Caleb Farley’s back will be in the long run after his surgery and injury history.

In this scenario both of the cornerbacks favored to be drafted by the Cowboys are now gone, and the team is faced with a tough decision - do they trade back and take a chance on Farley coming off back surgery, or do they go with the best player available which could be a wide receiver? You can never have to many good receivers but you can’t put them all on the field at one time. You also put more pressure on a defense that was one of the worst in Cowboys history and has most of their secondary returning at cornerback.

If they trade back and take Farley, they are taking a chance. The move has the potential to be a draft steal, getting the player many saw as having more upside than Surtain II. But on the flip side, they could be taking a player that is injured, and has only one big year of production in college.

It’s a tough decision but it’s one that could very well happen and the Cowboys now have to plan for this scenario or risk making the wrong choice with the 10th pick.