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A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

Dallas Cowboys 2011 Draft Trade Scenarios: Your Ultimate Guide

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Jonathan Bales

Despite a much earlier draft slot than usual in 2011, the fluidity of this particular draft class and the multitude of needs for Dallas has made predicting their draft choice a difficult task.  The “consensus” seems to be that they will end up with USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith, but that is far from certain.  I actually think there is a solid chance that Smith gets selected before the ‘Boys are on the clock, either by a team currently ahead of them or another looking to move up (Washington, perhaps).

Either way, Smith is far from a sure thing.  I do think he’s the most likely of all the prospects to come to Big D (as evidenced by my last 32-team mock draft and Cowboys-only mock draft), but the abundance of targets and draft scenarios shifts Smith’s potential arrival from ‘likely’ to ‘most likely.’

So what are the Cowboys’ true plans?  I really think it depends on how the top of the draft plays out.  I wouldn’t rule out a trade up, a move down, or remaining at No. 9.  Each situation could present the best value depending on how the prior picks pan out.  Listed below are potential targets for the Cowboys if they do decide to make a move, along with suitable trading partners.

Moving Up

  • Possible Trade Partners

Cleveland Browns No. 6

To move up three spots, the NFL’s draft value chart suggests the Cowboys would need to relinquish their third-round pick.  Is it worth it?  Perhaps for P-Squared.

San Francisco 49ers No. 7

If you have not deciphered it yet, I am writing the team names in their uniform colors.  Why?  I honestly don’t know, but enjoy it while it lasts.

The Cowboys would probably need to relinquish their third-rounder to move up to San Fran’s spot, but they would receive a pick in return (likely a fourth).  Not a bad exchange if the right guy is still on the board.  The problem is that the Niners will likely have interest in the same sort of prospects as Dallas.  Why would they move back if Peterson or Dareus fell, for example?

  • Possible Targets

Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

The Cowboys are rumored to have Peterson at the top of their board.  I don’t think he will fall, but if he drops to Cleveland, look for Dallas to at least inquire about a trade.  The Browns could very well have interest themselves, but it is highly unlikely the Niners would move back if Peterson drops to them.

Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama

This is a tough call for me.  I have Dareus rated as the No. 2 overall player on my board, but I don’t think the Cowboys should trade up for him.  My reasoning for this is lengthy, but I previously wrote an in-depth article on why selecting the best player available is a myth.  In short, it deals with position scarcity.  There aren’t any elite offensive tackles likely to be around in the second round, so grabbing one in the first (with such a huge need at right tackle) makes more sense.

Is Dareus’ value too much to overlook?  It depends on how highly the Cowboys have him rated, but I am hearing they like Smith just as much, if not more.  Thus, moving up even two spots for Dareus doesn’t seem that likely to me.

Tyron Smith, OT, USC

No one is talking about this, but I don’t think Smith’s presence when the Cowboys select at No. 9 is a foregone conclusion.  With all of the Smith/Dallas connections floating around, why is it implausible to think a team will look to jump the ‘Boys for the USC tackle?  The most likely candidate to do that, in my mind, is Washington.  They could easily move up two or three spots to secure Smith.  If the ‘Boys catch wind of this and truly covet Smith, they will need to make a move themselves.

Moving Down

  • Possible Trade Partners

Minnesota Vikings No. 12

According to the chart, the Cowboys could swap their current fourth-rounder for Minnesota’s third if they elect to move back in the first round.  The Vikings haven’t been mentioned as a potential trade partner for Dallas, but it could happen if either Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert shockingly falls.

In my opinion, any move down all but eliminates Smith from contention, so the Cowboys will need a backup plan.

Detroit Lions No. 13

The difference in compensation between Minnesota and Detroit highlights a flaw in the NFL’s draft value system, in my opinion.  Instead of swapping third and fourth-round selections, the Cowboys would simply acquire the Lions’ third-round pick if they alternated first-round selections.  With the Lions possibly interested in Prince Amukamara or even Robert Quinn, they appear to be a more likely trade partner for Dallas than Minny.

St. Louis Rams No. 14

Can you even read the yellow font?  Oh well.  The Rams are known to have interest in Alabama receiver Julio Jones and may want to jump Washington to secure him.  They are the most likely partner for the Cowboys, in my view, and would need to relinquish their third and fifth-round round picks to make the move.

New England Patriots No. 17

Am I even choosing team’s true colors at this point?  In any event, the Patriots are known to stockpile draft picks, but they already have a bunch, including two first-round selections.  To swap first-rounders with Dallas, they would need to yield their second-round pick.  Like St. Louis, a possible target for New England in this scenario is Julio Jones.

  • Possible Targets

Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

Carimi is listed first for a reason–if the Cowboys move down, it is Carimi who I think they will target.  I have heard this “rumor” from a number of sources.  I would personally rather have Anthony Castonzo or even Ben Ijalana, but Carimi is no slouch–he’s still No. 14 overall on my latest board.

Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

I find it hard to believe the Cowboys have divulged as much information (about their views on Smith, for example) as they have without a reason behind it.  I have heard very little linking Castonzo to Dallas, however.  Of course this shouldn’t be used as evidence that the ‘Boys are definitely interested in him, but he will certainly be on their radar if they have him rated as I do.

J.J. Watt, DT/DE, Wisconsin

Watt is considered a prototypical 3-4 defensive end, and only one team (Washington) between the Cowboys and Miami at pick No. 15 runs a 3-4 defense.  The ‘Skins have a bunch of holes, so Watt may not be a priority for them.  I don’t personally want Watt in the first round, but if he is the player the ‘Boys covet, I think he will still be around at St. Louis’ 14th overall selection.

Cameron Jordan, DT/DE, Cal

See Watt, J.J.

Conclusions

Overall, I think the Cowboys need to be flexible in their draft plans.  They should have a list of players for whom they would be willing to trade up, a group they would select at their current spot, and a list of prospects to target if they slide back.  Those lists need not be long.

I wouldn’t consider trading up unless one of two scenarios plays out.  The first is if Peterson drops to Cleveland.  If the Browns are willing to deal, I would sacrifice a first and a third for the top player on my board.

More likely, Peterson won’t drop, and the Cowboys will target Smith.  If he is truly the No. 2 rated player on their board, I would actually trade up for him (if possible).  I think the depth of this draft class is solid enough that yielding a third for an early fourth is worth the ability to acquire an elite offensive tackle with the ability to play either side of the line.  Here are four other reasons to target Tyron Smith.

If the Cowboys miss out on Peterson and Smith, I would desperately seek a trade down (assuming Dareus does not fall).  Castonzo would be the player I target, but the ‘Boys will probably seek Carimi.  The largest positive from a trade back is the possibility of moving up into the very top of the second of even the back of the first to acquire another instant impact player, such as Baylor NT Phil Taylor, Temple DT/DE Muhammad Wilkerson or Texas CB/FS Aaron Williams.

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14 Responses to Dallas Cowboys 2011 Draft Trade Scenarios: Your Ultimate Guide

  1. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Personally, I like the trade up to 6th for PP the best. PP is an elite prospect at a position of need (that would be free safety) as well as a dynamic PR/KR. However, I give this about 2% chance of happening.

    A VERY close second is trading down to 17 w/ NE and acquiring their 33rd pick as well. At 17, I’d take Smith, Carimi, Watt, Costanzo or Taylor, in that order. At 33, Rahim Moore, Pouncey or Ijalana (if the 17th pick is not an OT then both Pouncey and Ijalana go ahead of Moore), Ellis (if 17th is not Taylor otherwise, non-select) and Jimmy Smith would be my selections. I give this about 13% chance of happening.

    I agree w/ you JB that Minnesota or St Louis trading up (to get a QB or WR, respectively) are the most likely scenarios. In either case, I suggest the Boys use the acquired 3rd round pick and couple with pick #40 to move back into the 1st round (around 26-32) if possible. As I posted in one of the other articles, the KEY to this draft for Dallas is late 1st round to early 2nd round as far as value is concerned. With the 2nd 1st round pick, pick up Moore, Pouncey, Ijalana, Ellis, etc. as mentioned previously.

    Nice article JB.

  2. john G says:

    The redskins drafted a tackle, Trent Williams, with the 4th overall pick last year. What makes you think they’ll jump ahead for another tackle? Williams was a great pick for them, I’m curious to know what makes you think the Deadskins might jump ahead for Tyron smith.

  3. john G says:

    The redskins drafted a tackle, Trent Williams, with the 4th overall pick last year. What makes you think they’ll jump ahead for another tackle? Williams was a great pick for them, I’m curious to know what makes you think the Deadskins might jump ahead for Tyron smith.

    Good stuff JB

  4. willis says:

    Hey, I would love to get Peterson. But I have a sightly different stance, Tyrone. I believe the best scenario would be getting two impact players by trading down in the first round. The next team who really needs a tackle is the giants at 18. Which iswhy i believe there is a possibility we could trade down three or four spots and still get Tyron Smith. If he is gone there, the cowboys are rumored to covet Gabe Carimi who will probably be the third or fourth tackle taken. Therefore we could trade down another four to five picks and have a fighters chance of getting him. This could possibly mean we could couple our picks, potentially, for two first rounders, and maybe even a second. As sexy a pick as P squared is…. I think there is too much value here.

    But hell, we all know Jerry loves a splash player, and I would not be dissapointed at all if we got PP

  5. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Yes, I will admit, that I’m believing the hype associated w/ PP – I’ve read/heard everything from shutdown corner on defense like Revis and Asomugha as well as game-changing PR/KR like Hester and Deion Sanders. If he lives up to about 80% of the hype, he’d be as good or better than Newman ever was combined w/ a special teams threat.

    What I REALLY like is that he can play FS. And, I think he’d be an EXTREMELY good one at that. A guy w/4.3 speed, superb hips and mobility, can jump and get the ball at its highest point AND isn’t afraid to take on a hefty RB out of the backfield and lay the wood . . . I’m thinking of a John Lynch or Ed Reed type here. So, you draft him and put him there. If he doesn’t work out there, then you can always move him to CB where we KNOW he can play.

    That, to me, would be worth the pick. When you combine that with the fact that he’d be filling in the 2nd highest need on the team (RT being the 1st), it’s a no brainer. We can pick up a “serviceable” RT (one that is better than Colombo shouldn’t be hard to find relatively cheaply) in free agency easier than we can get a game-changing FS (if think PP would end up being better than either Weddle or Huff).

    The thing about the draft is, every year there’s always SOMEONE who’s special. Sometimes a draft has 10-15 of those types, sometimes a draft only has 2 or 3. This is the year for the latter and if Dallas’ has a chance to get a guy who’s projected to be THAT special at a position of need, then they should take him. Who knows, maybe NEXT year will be one w/ great tackles – if Dallas takes Smith or Carimi or Costanzo in the 1st this year, they’d be hesitant to take another one next year even though that tackle might end up being better whomever we draft this year.

    It all comes down to philosophy of the draft. Always, always, always pick up the best overall player at a POSITION OF NEED in the 1st 2 rounds. Dez Bryant was the best overall player at 24 last year, but he wasn’t needed. Therefore, we sacrificed picking up a good O lineman when we should have and are now in the boat we are in.

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  7. Tyrone–I would like a trade up for PP too, but I think moving down to 14 is the most likely scenario at this point. With WSH needing a QB and a WR and certain prospect at each position figuring to drop to Dallas, there should be a lot of potential suitors to move up.

    If we do trade with NE as you mention, though, I would prefer Smith, Castonzo, Carimi, Taylor in that order….at 33 I would take Ijalana, Ijalana, Ijalana, or Taylor if he is still available.

  8. John G–Thanks…Just like Dallas, the Redskins are in the market for a RT. We have Free, they have Williams…but Smith played RT in college and I think he’s the quick, athletic type of player Shanahan wants in his zone-blocking scheme (much like Williams last year, who I mocked to WSH ahead of Okung for that very reason).

  9. Willis–I would agree that PP is the best option ONLY if there isn’t significant value in a trade down….If the Cowboys can move down a few spots, secure one of their top OTs AND move back into the first for a guy like Ijalana/Taylor, I would prefer that even to PP.

  10. Just get Ras I Dowling & Greg Little team him with Dez Bryant & win da Superbowl!

  11. Mark Sands says:

    As long as the Union and the owners are at an empasse, it looks like we’ve dodged a bullet. Philadelphia could move into the top five at will, by trading Kolb(QB). Rules are such that no players can be traded in the draft only picks. I could see the Eagles being very interested in PP among others.Washington also has Albert Haynesworth who they would love to trade (somebody will give this idiot another chance)

  12. Mark–You’re right about Kolb, but I don’t think Haynesworth is going to fetch much of anything.

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