2012 NFL Draft Order: Should Dallas Cowboys Trade Up or Down for the Right Pick?

Tom FirmeAnalyst IIJanuary 27, 2012

MADISON, WI - OCTOBER 16: Peter Konz #66 of the Wisconsin Badgers prepares to snap the ball to Scott Tolzien #16 against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Camp Randall Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin. Wisconsin defeated Ohio State 31-18.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys are sitting in an unspectacular position with the No. 14 pick in the NFL Draft. The Cowboys are just a couple picks outside the range in which they can get a true difference maker in the first round. Still, the Cowboys can get a solid player at No. 14.

However, Jerry Jones might want to move the Cowboys in order to get the pick they pick they really want. Moving up could ensure that Jones get either Morris Claiborne or Dre Kirkpatrick, the two best players at cornerback, a position where the Cowboys desperately need to improve. Claiborne and Kirckpatrick are both ranked among the top-10 prospects by CBSSports.com and ESPN.

Kirkpatrick could fall to No. 14 if teams picking before the Cowboys decide to address other concerns.

Jones may want to pick an offensive or defensive lineman rather than a cornerback in the first round since good cornerbacks are somewhat easier to come by. Also, cornerbacks aren't as important to a successful defense as a solid defensive line. The New York Giants get away with an average secondary while filling their line with monstrous rushers like Chris Canty and Justin Tuck.

Devon Still, a 6'4" 310-pound defensive tackle, would be a great guy to plug in the middle of the line to rotate with Jay Ratliff. Still was twice a finalist for National Defensive Player of the Year.

Meanwhile, Jones may want to consider moving down to a lower pick if the player he wants is around when the Cowboys are on the board, but could hang around for several picks. One player Jones could trade down for is Wisconsin center Peter Konz. Konz, a 6'5" 315-pound redshirt junior, is quick and aggressive.

The Cowboys could use a new center after Phil Costa struggled in 2011.

Konz is rated the No. 21 draft pick by CBSSports.com. If the Cowboys trade down to the No. 21 pick, they could gain a third- and fourth-round pick, since the difference between the two picks is 300 points on the draft trade value chart and the combination of those picks (592.2) just about equals the value of the No. 21 pick.

Getting those extra picks along with a solid pick like Konz would help the Cowboys tremendously. The Cowboys would then be able to address a couple more concerns in the draft or add depth at a couple of positions.

Whether Jones is interested in trading picks is unclear. He could keep the Cowboys where they are and get the pick he wants if he feels that's the best he can do. Also, his ability to trade up or down may depend on the willingness of other teams to make deals on the first night of the draft. Nevertheless, the first round should be an interesting one for the Cowboys.