Realistic Draft-Day Trade Possibilities for the Dallas Cowboys

Jonathan BalesAnalyst IApril 28, 2014

Realistic Draft-Day Trade Possibilities for the Dallas Cowboys

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    Gus Ruelas

    The Dallas Cowboys have been no stranger to draft-day trades, as owner and general manager Jerry Jones loves to maneuver up and down the draft board.

    With 11 picks in 2014, the Cowboys are basically guaranteed to be on the move again this year. There’s no way they’re taking 11 rookies to training camp, so they’ll work to unload some of those selections.

    That doesn’t necessarily preclude Dallas from trading down in some spots to acquire even more picks, though. Given that they’re kind of sitting in a gray area with the 16th overall selection, it makes sense the Cowboys would want to move down in the first round if an elite player doesn’t fall to them.

    In addition to trading back, there are a few other realistic trade scenarios for Dallas this year. Let’s take a look.

Trading Up to No. 13 Overall (St. Louis Rams)

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    The Cowboys need defensive linemen, but there’s a good chance they’d need to reach on a player like Kony Ealy if they want one at No. 16. Because of that, we could very well see the Cowboys move up a few spots to grab either Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald or UCLA defensive end Anthony Barr.

    The Cowboys have been trade partners with the St. Louis Rams in the past, and it makes sense Dallas would want to leapfrog the Chicago Bears, currently sitting with the No. 14 overall selection. Looking at the NFL trade value chart, the move up from No. 16 would cost the Cowboys in the range of a late third-round pick.

    They don’t have that, of course, so they’d either need to give a little extra compensation by handing over their third-rounder, or they’d yield their fourth- and multiple other late-round picks. The latter scenario is far more palatable and wouldn’t be too large of a price to pay for Donald or Barr.

    Potential Target: Pitt DT Aaron Donald or UCLA DE Anthony Barr

Trading Up to No. 11 Overall (Tennessee Titans)

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    If Donald and/or Barr drop out of the top 10 and the Cowboys want to ensure they can grab one, they might need to move up to No. 11 to jump ahead of the New York Giants. The problem is such a jump is pretty expensive and is “worth” a high third-round selection on the trade chart.

    If the Cowboys were to move up five spots in the first round, they’d certainly need to surrender their third-round pick, at a minimum. For a team with so many holes, that’s a very large price to pay.

    You can also see why moving into the top 10 is so prohibitive; the Cowboys simply aren’t in a position to surrender their first- and second-round picks to acquire anyone, sans perhaps South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney (and maybe not even him).

    Potential Target: Pitt DT Aaron Donald or UCLA DE Anthony Barr

Moving into the Back of the First Round (Cleveland Browns, No. 26)

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    In the likely scenario both Donald and Barr are off of the board by the time the Cowboys are on the clock, there’s a high probability—probably the most likely scenario for the team in the first round—they try to trade back in the first round.

    If Dallas wants to move to the back of the first, the Cleveland Browns seem like a suitable trade partner since they have three selections in the initial 35 spots. Everyone seems to believe the Cowboys would consider Johnny Manziel if he slips to No. 16, but it’s more probable we’d see the team move back in the first round, kind of like they did when they passed on Brady Quinn years ago.

    The move down to No. 26 is worth a late second-round selection. We’d probably see Dallas wind up with Cleveland’s pick in the top of the third and perhaps another late-rounder.

    Potential Target: Auburn DE Dee Ford

Trading out of the First Round Entirely (Cleveland Browns, No. 35)

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    What happens if the Cowboys want to move out of the first round entirely?

    Well, Cleveland is sitting at the top of the second round as a potential trade partner, yet again. Moving out of the first round to pick No. 35 would be worth a mid/high second-round pick for Dallas traveling from the mid first round.

    If the Cowboys move out of the first round entirely, it’s more likely that we’ll see them implement a “best player available” draft strategy, because they’ll probably have three second-round picks on their hands, and thus, a lot of flexibility.

    That would allow them to jump on a potential No. 1-esque wide receiver such as Penn State’s Allen Robinson.

    Potential Target: Penn State WR Allen Robinson, Fresno State WR Davante Adams

Multiple Moves Up in the Middle Rounds

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    As mentioned, the Cowboys are going to be active in the middle rounds because they have 11 total picks, including six in the seventh round. While those picks by themselves aren’t really worth that much, they do give the ‘Boys a lot of flexibility.

    Specifically, if the Cowboys really covet a player in any round but they’re unsure if the prospect will fall just a few more spots to their pick, they should make the move up, if possible, to be certain they nab their man.

    The cost is minimal, and Dallas doesn’t have room on its roster for all of those late-round rookies, anyway.

    Potential Targets: Arkansas DE Chris Smith, Towson RB Terrance West, West Virginia DE Will Clarke