The 2014 NFL Draft is now less than a month away, which means that free agency has calmed down and the media can start making mock drafts that are actually based on something.
The Dallas Cowboys are in a tricky position once again this year, finding themselves in the midst of the first round after another 8-8 season. As the ‘Boys examine their draft board, there are many scenarios that could play out, including a trade. Jerry Jones has never shied
away from draft day trades—in fact, he’s made one each of the last two seasons, netting center Travis Frederick after trading down last March. Here are three reasons why Dallas should trade down in the first round again this year:
1 Aaron Donald won’t be there
It’s sad but true, Cowboys fans—when your team likes a guy that means everyone else does, too. The All-American from Pittsburgh didn’t start the offseason so high on everyone’s draft board, but ever since the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine, he’s being projected as high as a top-ten pick. There are too many teams with need on the defensive line to assume that Donald will fall to the Cowboys, and there’s no reason to believe they’ll trade up to take him, either. That didn’t work out for them so well the last time they tried it. If the Cowboys stay at 16, there’s a chance they could grab a player like Anthony Barr, Timmy Jernigan or Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. At that point, it depends on how highly they regard each player—they’re just as likely to trade back and start to stack up some depth in what will be very talented middle rounds.
2 This draft is deep
Speaking of the middle rounds, this year’s draft features a better-than-average chance of hitting on some very talented players after the draft’s first two nights. The wide receiver class, in particular, is hailed as being the best in years, and running backs should still be in good supply for any interested team. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Cowboys take both a receiver and a running back, and trading back for another pick would give the team the flexibility necessary to do this. No one’s denying that Dallas’s biggest needs are on defense, but if it has extra picks to work with, it would be worthwhile to give Tony Romo some extra weapons as well.
3 Bad fits
Whether it’s for scheme or for need, some of the players likely available at 16 are not necessarily the best fit for Dallas. Let’s examine some of the popular options. Clinton-Dix is a ball hawk who hits big and played against the toughest competition in college football. Why not install him at free safety? Because, the Cowboys will say, J.J. Wilcox and Jeff Heath are already battling it out to play the position themselves, with Matt Johnson there for insurance. They could draft Barr, but is he ready to play the line? If not, can the Cowboys keep him at linebacker? He may not be a chance they want to take. And if Donald isn’t available, Timmy Jernigan may not seem like a true No. 16 to them.
This is a great draft to trade down in. If the Cowboys aren’t 100 percent sure about their guy, the best thing they can do is grab another second- or third-round pick, bringing their total up to 12 selections and increasing their chances of finding a true playmaker rather than settling for someone that doesn’t fit.
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