This is shaping up to be a very interesting draft for the Dallas Cowboys. As one of the few teams early in the order that has their franchise quarterback wrapped up for several years, they stand to benefit from the expected rush of needy teams to take passers early. That could well push some blue-chip players down to them at 10. If things fall a certain way, it could also put them in position to trade back a few spots and gain even more shots in the early rounds.
However, what about trading up? There was a somewhat joking comment made about that recently, as quoted by Mike Fisher in a recent report.
“We’re hearing this thing about Jerry Jones, the owner of the Cowboys and the GM, being infatuated with Kyle Pitts,” ESPN Chris Mortensen said. “So I figure he’s gonna have to trade up to get Kyle Pitts.’’
As mentioned in the article, Mortensen was mostly just kidding, and that would also require Stephen Jones and Mike McCarthy to get on board, which seems unlikely. But it does bring up the fact that Dallas has a nice bag of draft picks that could be used to move up, and not just in the first round. It may be more realistic to look at what might tempt them to package some picks to move up from their second round spot at 44 overall. Marcus Mosher looked at some names he thinks might be targets for the team.
I’ll throw in another name, Caleb Farley. If things fall so that the Cowboys do not take Patrick Surtain II or Jaycee Horn with their first pick, they might have an opportunity to move up to earlier in the second or late in the first to grab Farley. At that point, his injury history might seem a more reasonable risk. Dallas has clearly shown in recent years that they are not afraid to take a bit of a risk with their second choice of the draft. The most obvious example was taking Jaylon Smith with full knowledge that he was going to miss his rookie season while rehabbing from his devastating injury in his last college game.
While we don’t know just what the Cowboys own draft pick value table is, it is possible that Dallas could move into the tail of the first round or the very beginning of the second by packaging their second round pick at 44 with their compensatory third round pick at 100, or a combination of their 44, 116, and 139. Those are just a couple of possibilities.
It will depend on how things play out. But even if the Cowboys traded three picks to get up to a player they really want, they still have eight overall selections.
While I tend to prefer trading back, the only real thing that should matter is the talent you accrue in the draft overall. One really good borderline first-round player could well be more valuable than two or three taken later.
We have already seen some big draft trades happen. Further stirring the pot is the lack of the normal NFL Combine, which has made it harder for teams to get good medical evaluations of the players. That adds some uncertainty that could make things more volatile during the draft than normal.
This is the kind of environment where Jerry Jones and the rest of the brain-trust might be looking harder for chances to move around. They certainly have plenty of places to improve the roster, and the value of each individual selection will impact things.
Just as a reminder, many trade possibilities are worked out in advance to be finalized once the team trading back knows what they have to choose from and decides it is willing to move. Many of these never happen, but if the war room is working the phones a lot once the draft gets underway, things may get very interesting.
It is still a long ways from the teams finalizing their boards, which will have to be done before any trades can be seriously negotiated. And free agency is still ongoing, as the signings of Jeremy Sprinkle and Brent Anger shows. But this could shape up to be a year when Trader Jerry gets busy once the draft kicks off.