In a perfect world every player you have at the top of your board in every round is always there. Unfortunately, the odds of that happening are little to none and sometimes you have to put all your chips in one basket and make a trade. Trading can be risky and you can often either over pay to move up only a few spots or grab a few extra picks to move down in a draft, but also letting players come off before that selection. For the Dallas Cowboys a team that doesn’t need a starting quarterback, running back, wide receiver, or linebacker the value at pick 28 is looking bleak.
I mentioned value. Value is huge on draft day. Grabbing a player at a position of need while not reaching to far down your board to grab said player is the definition of a “good value” pick. There will be players available at the back end of the first round who will have some value, but also have a lot of questions that need to be answered. Takk Mckinley, Fabian Moreau, and Sidney Jones are three players who would have had very good value at pick 28 but injury concerns hanging over their head make for a tough decision to be made. T.J. Watt, Derek Rivers, Tyus Bowser, and David Njuko are four guys who could be available as well but questions about whether they fit the Cowboys schemes or not also make you wonder if they’ll be able to contribute when asked to do a job they didn’t necessarily do a lot of in College. Charles Harris, Obi Melinfonwu, and Adoree Jackson are three prospects who don’t have injury concerns or scheme questions but they all have a specific skill they don’t do very well in college. Harris is an excellent pass rusher, but has a LONG ways to go before being a decent run defender. Obi Melinfonwu isn’t the best run defending safety in this draft and lacks ideal instincts to make a difference on defense. Adoree Jackson is a very small framed player that lacks the physicality you like in NFL corners plus Jackson has shown he can be a liability in coverage against bigger or faster wide outs.
There are traits all these players have that are very intriguing and I’m sure they’ll be perfectly fine with staying at 28 and drafting if forced to do so, but what sounds even better to me is moving down in the draft (early second round) picking up a few early to mid round picks and really adding some key pieces to a depleted defense and maybe even upgrading a skill position or adding an offensive lineman to start molding. Can that happen? Will that happen? I can’t tell you right now, but what I can do is give you good scenarios on how the Dallas Cowboys can make it happen.
There are plenty of teams in the first round who need a starting quarterback or a quarterback to start grooming. The Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals, New York Giants, Houston Texans, and the Kansas City Chiefs are all teams who pick before the Dallas Cowboys in the first round and could use a first round quarterback on their roster. However it’s unlikely in my opinion that a Quarterback will be taken in the top five picks due to what we talked about earlier… Value.
To make this plan work the first thing we will need to have happen is Deshaun Watson, Mitch Trubisky, and Deshon Kizer be off the board prior to the Cowboys first round selection. Along with these three guys already being drafted we would need to hope that Cleveland doesn’t take a quarterback at pick #12 which I feel is more and more likely. That would leave Pat Mahomes and Davis Webb as the only two quarterbacks left with first round/early second round traits when Dallas would be on the clock at 28. The chances of Watson, Trubisky, Kizer, and maybe even Mahomes being drafted in the top 25 picks is very high in my opinion with the Chargers, Saints, Cardinals, Texans, and Chiefs all picking between picks #7-#27. IF this does happen Jerry Jones should be smiling from ear to ear.
At pick 28 in my scenario where just Pat Mahomes and Davis Webb are still available and the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, and Chicago Bears still needing a quarterback that can potentially be a starter this is where things get good for the Cowboys. All three of the teams I listed here need a quarterback desperately. With Cody Kessler penciled in as the starting QB for the Browns, Brian Hoyer penciled in as the starter for the 49ers, and Mike Glennon listed as the starter for the Bears when I say desperate I mean desperate.
Browns Trade Scenario
With the ball in Jerry Jones court and having a trade partner in mind Cleveland would be the ideal team to trade with. In the situation that Cleveland agrees to move up to pick #28 in exchange for pick #33, #52, and #108 to land a QB that certainly the Bears, the 49ers, maybe even the Steelers could be interested in the Browns could make sure they get their guy by paying the price. That would give the Cowboys picks #33, #52, #60, #92, that’s a large number of picks in the top 100. The Browns have loads of talent on their team but haven’t had a QB to lead their club in ages, not only does moving up into the first round ensure they get a QB of the future it also gives them a fifth year option on a quarterback that is very important in today’s NFL cap management strategies.
49er’s Trade Scenario
The 49er’s have a new GM, a new offensive minded head coach, and a new and improved defense. They would be silly to let their first year together go to waste by letting Brian Hoyer have the reins of the offense. The Cowboys could land picks #34, #66, #109, and #143 maybe even a little bit more for pick #28. Obviously Cleveland’s trade scenario is a little bit sweeter but either way Dallas ends up with more capital to spend in a very deep draft class.
Bears Trade Scenario
The Bear’s scenario would likely include a future second round pick due to the fact that they don’t have as many picks in the top 100. A trade to #28 would likely cost them #36 overall pick along with #67 and a 2018 second round pick. This would still guarantee the Cowboys three top 100 picks.
While Quarterbacks are normally the players that make things go haywire other positions can too, especially if they are not very deep. Offensive Line is one position you could see some teams move for. Ryan Ramczyk is a top 15 talent that could fall due to injury but a team that needs a starting tackle may be willing to give up some picks if Ramczyk is still hanging around at pick #28. The Carolina Panthers come to mind. The Panthers have the 8th overall pick in this years draft and have been keeping their eyes on running backs since this draft process started. Let’s say Carolina lands their bell cow back at #8 and Ramczyk is the only real tackle left at the end of round one. To ensure they get a guy to keep former MVP Cam Newton upright and make some huge holes for their #8 overall pick to run through you could see them use some of their picks to make it happen. Carolina currently owns the #40,#64, and #98 overall picks in the first three rounds. With no real starting caliber offensive tackle left with Cam Robinson off the board you could certainly see Carolina make a move to add a huge piece to their disappointing offense.
Now while all these scenarios sound nice to me, a lot has to happen to make them work. Dallas could certainly have all these things happen and still stay put at #28 and draft their guy. But in a draft loaded with talent at a their positional needs (defensive end, cornerback, safety) I would love to see them add two/three extra picks in the first three rounds and throw as many young pieces at this defense to rebuild as quickly as possible. The draft is just two weeks away and the excitement is starting to set in for fans, teams, and certainly the future of the NFL who are looking forward to hearing their name called on draft night. But more importantly for Cowboys Nation the excitement is setting in for Jerry, Stephen, and Will McClay to try and build a championship team.
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