Wheeling and Dealing
The Cowboys have 11 picks in this year’s NFL draft, all burning a hole in Jerry’s pocket. There’s little doubt he’s making some trades beginning next Thursday night in the first round. The questions are – when, how many and will he move up or down?
Does a realistic scenario exist out there that makes sense for the Cowboys to move up? Perhaps one.
Dallas’ biggest need is defense, especially on the defensive line. The Cowboys had the worst defense in the NFL last season, and that was with DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher, who have since signed elsewhere. They’ve picked up Henry Melton, Terrell McClain and Jeremy Mincey, and have also re-signed Anthony Spencer, who missed all of last season due to injury.
That’s not going to cut it. Doomsday III, they are not.
The main problem – the two best defensive linemen expected to get past the top-10, in Pitt’s Aaron Donald and UCLA’s Anthony Barr, might not make it to the Cowboys at pick No. 16. Donald, for sure, who the Cowboys are rumored to really like. If there’s a trade up, it would be for a guy like Donald.
What would that take? Probably a third round pick, minimum, which could move them up three-to-five spots and the chance to take Donald.
Then there’s the dreaded trade-down, which Jerry seems to do most of the time in an attempt to maximize value. He did this last year and screwed it up royally (what else is new?). Travis Frederick after a trade with San Fran? Nice player but could have had him in the second round. Gavin Escobar in the second round? A waste of a pick when tight end is not even close to a top need position for this team.
This is where Jerry gets himself into trouble; he gets cute. He’s got no time to get cute this year.
Whatever Jerry does, he needs to draft at least one D-lineman who can play immediately. That means first or second round, at worst.
Reports say Dallas is very interested in Johnny Manziel. Forget it; pipe dream. Manziel won’t make it past the top-5 spots in the draft, and anything short of trading next year’s No. 1 won’t even get the Cowboys a sniff of that kind of deal. And unless they unloaded Tony Romo somehow (not happening), a trade for Manziel does not make sense anyway.
The teams that historically have the best drafts (Green Bay, NY Giants, Denver) simply don’t trade their picks and take the best player available on their board at each selection.
What a concept. Hey Jerry – take notes.
If the Cowboys stay at No. 16, hope for Barr to be there. Like Ware, he was an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme in college and would be inserted at defensive end. This kid can rush the passer, something the Cowboys desperately need. If Barr is gone, other D-line possibilities (in the first or second round) are Timmy Jernigan from Florida State, Kony Ealy from Missouri, Scott Crichton from Oregon State, or Dominique Easley from Florida.
My wish – no skill players taken by Dallas until at least the fifth or sixth round. If Jerry wants to draft a quarterback – fine, get a project guy in the sixth or seventh. Running back? Please. Wide receiver? No thanks. In fact, stay on the defensive side of the ball for three of the first four picks, minimum.
I admit it; I have no faith in Jerry when it comes to the NFL Draft (among other things). We have more of a chance of seeing another tight end being selected instead of stocking the defense with guys who can play and contribute.
But there is one thing that we can count on — Jerry will be working the phones looking to deal. Too bad other GMs always answer that caller ID on the first ring.