On Wednesday, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talked with the media where he announced a partnership with a cryptocurrency company. That’s fine and all, but what he said that got fans in a frenzy was when he leaked those little nuggets of draft information as the owner stated he would willing to trade up in the draft.
Really? The Cowboys would entertain the idea of surrendering what little premium draft capital they have to exchange quantity for quality? For a team that really needs to land a few starting-caliber players, that seems like a steep price to pay.
After listening closely to Jerry’s comments, it doesn’t appear he’s interested in trading up at all. In fact, in typical Jerry fashion, he confused trade up with trade back as everything he said thereafter indicated he would be interested in moving back in the first round. Here are his exact words...
Jerry Jones said the Cowboys would be interested in trading up in this month’s draft pic.twitter.com/AJbXijPJY8— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) April 13, 2022
Listening closely, there are a couple of phrases that make it pretty evident he is talking about trading back.
“Until you see what’s there and who’s on the other end of the line”
The “until you see what’s there” comment could mean either direction. They could see a blue-chip player fall to the late teens and want to move up or they could get to 24 and have someone they absolutely love where they have no interest in giving up their spot. The “who’s on the other end of the line” part makes me think that some teams might be interested in the Cowboys' pick at 24. Maybe a team is looking to snag a quarterback late in the first round so they can take advantage of that fifth-year option.
“Since we’re down as low as we are”
At first glance, this indicates being back at 24 isn’t ideal and he would like to improve their draft position; however, he could also mean being down that far puts them in that round two grade group anyways, so it may not matter much to pick at 24 or later. That comment is inconclusive until he follows it up with this...
“if someone we really coveted was sitting at the bottom (Travis Frederick) and we trade up to get him”
Again, this could mean one of two things. Either Jones is hinting that they would be willing to trade back to the bottom of the first round like they did in 2013 when they got Frederick, or he’s suggesting they might try to move back up into the first round after already making their pick at 24. The problem with the latter is that it would take several picks packaged together (second-, plus a third-, plus a fourth-round pick, and maybe even more) to move back into the first round. Again, that seems like a steep price to pay to sacrifice so many picks to only get two real shots at this year’s deep draft class. All signs point to a possible trade-back scenario.
Obviously, we don’t know who they are eyeballing, but we do know that there are a handful of intriguing potential prospects all grouped in that late first-round range (draft targets courtesy of NFL mock draft database).
It’s also worth noting that several players listed above are one of the Cowboys' official 30 pre-draft visitors. Would Kenyon Green or Zion Johnson make it to them later in round one? Maybe they want to select one of the linebackers, but want to do so at a better value? Or maybe there is some athletic upside player like offensive tackle Bernhard Raimann (pre-draft visitor) who they absolutely love and are confident will be there later. For what it’s worth, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein and Draft ID’s Sawyer Hicks both mocked Raimann to the Cowboys at pick 24.
What this could ultimately come down to is just how many players they love are still on the board at 24 to where they would feel comfortable holding their breath and snagging that same player a handful of spots later. Rather than foregoing draft capital in a class that the team has already said is rich with quality players, it makes much more sense to tack on some extra chances to land a good player.
Would you be okay with the Cowboys trading back in this draft, and if so who would you target?