Now that the big board with the top 175 players is posted, we can start looking at different strategies that the Cowboys can deploy in the draft.
Over the next few weeks, I will look at various scenarios the Cowboys could employ on draft day. These scenarios will look at possible trade partners and strategies and will end in sample mock drafts.
Before getting to the scenarios, let’s review assumptions and points:
- I am a proponent of moving down in the draft, so many of the scenarios will involve the Cowboys moving down. Several of the scenarios involve multiple trades; so yes, a few of these scenarios may be a little unrealistic (but they are fun).
- You have to find partners to trade with. It is a two way street. These scenarios will assume that the Cowboys can find the willing partners they need to execute the trades. For each scenario I will try to find a partner that has a need that they may want to trade up for, we will then analyze the “win” for each team if they make the trade.
- For the sake of consistency, I will use the Draft Value Chart to determine what trades have relatively equal value.
- For each scenario I will provide six sample mock ups of what the Cowboys could do with the final picks. For example, what if the Cowboys go running back first, or what if they go QB, or what if they go DE, etc. etc.
- I will use our big board as well as the boards from several respected scouts to determine which player(s) will be available at a specific draft number. For example, at pick number 15 most big boards/mock drafts say that two QBs will be gone, as will the top running back, so what would the Cowboys do then…..
Specific scenarios are:
- The Cowboys trade down to number 15 in the first. They would pick up the Rams two second round picks, then they would stand pat in the second & third & fourth. That is one trade and they finish with a first, three seconds, a third and two fourths.
- The Cowboys trade back to 15 and pick up the Rams two seconds. Then they trade from 15 to the twenties to pick up another second. They also take their third and one of their seconds to trade up for another first. Then they take one of their seconds and trade down to the late second to pick up a third round pick. That is four trades ending up with the Cowboys having two firsts, three seconds, one third, and two fourths.
- The Cowboys trade down to number 15 in the first to pick up two second round picks. The Cowboys would then trade down one of the seconds to add another third round pick. Finally they would trade their fourths to pick up another third rounder. This would involve three trades and the Cowboys would end up with a first rounder, 3 seconds, 3 thirds
- The Cowboys dropping down to the 10-12 in the first to pick up a second and third, then trading down a second to pick up an additional third. The Cowboys would end up with a first, two seconds, two thirds, two fourths.
- Cowboys dropping down to the 10-12 in the first to pick up a second and third. They would then trade down a second to pick up an additional third. In this scenario they would end up with a first, two seconds, three thirds, two fourths)
- They stay put in the first and trade down in the second to pick up a third and fourth. They would end up with a one, a second, two thirds, and three fourths.
- They stay put in the first and trade down in the second to pick up a third and fourth. They would take two of their fourths to pick up a late third. This would involve two trades and would end up with a one, a second, two thirds, and one fourth.
- Trade down their first to pick up a second and third, then trading up your second and a third to go back up and get a one. In this scenario they would end up with two ones, one second, one third, and two fourths.
- Trade their one down four or five positions to pick up a second. Then trading down your second to pick up another third. In this scenario, they end up with first, two seconds, two thirds, two fourths.
- Trading down in the first to pick up a second and third. Then taking a second and third and trading back up into the first. Let’s also trade back the other second to pick up another third. In this scenario we would wind up with two firsts, a mid-to-late second, two thirds, and two fourths.
- Trading down in the first for a second and third. Then, trading down a second to pick up a third. Then trading a second and third to go back up into the first. Lets also have them take their fourths and trade up to the end of the third. They would up with two firsts, one second, and three thirds
- The Cowboys staying put and not trading up or down.
Okay, so let’s start with the first scenario. In this scenario we are trading down with the Rams and picking up their two seconds. That would mean the Rams would overpay according to the value chart, but we can offset that by swapping out thirds as well. So in the third, the Cowboys would give up the 68th pick for the 77th. In this scenario, the Rams would still overpay, but if they want to come up and get a QB, then they should be willing to do it.
So in this scenario the Cowboys would wind up with the 15, 35, 44, 46, 77, 101, 135, 189, 212, 216, 217. I am also going to assume that the Cowboys will not need that many sixth rounder’s, and will trade the 189 to pick up a 5th round draft pick next year. So let’s eliminate the 189 for now.
Here are some possible drafts under this scenario. The rest of the draft is set up with the first pick. So who will be available at 15 that the Cowboys can take? It is a long shot but it is possible that either Lawson, Wentz, Lawson, Treadwell, or Elliott will be available. Rankins would be a an good alternative too.
|Draft Pick||Option 1||Option 2||Option 3||Option 4||Dream Option||Dream 2|
|15||Wentz or Goff (QB)||Shaq Lawson (DE)||Treadwell (WR)||Rankins (DT3)||Zeke Elliott (RB)||Ryan Kelly (C/G)|
|35||Ogbah or Dodd (DE)||Doctson or Fuller (WR)||Ogbah or Dodd (DE)||Doctson or Fuller (WR)||Noah Spence (DE)||Ogbah or Dodd (DE)|
|44||Jonathan Bullard (DT3||Chris Jones (DT3)||Johnathan
|Derrick Henry (RB)||Doctson or Fuller (WR)||Jonathan Bullard (DT3)|
|46||Artie Burns (CB)||Austin Johnson (DT1)||Artie Burns (CB)||Artie Burns (CB)||Artie Burns (CB)||Artie Burns (CB)|
|77||Dion Jones (LB)||Westerman (G/C)||Jordan Howard (RB)||Dion Jones (LB)||Chris Jones (DT)||Kenneth Dixon (RB)|
|101||CJ Proisse (RB)||CJ Proisse (RB)||Cardale Jones (QB)||Ronald Blair (DE)||Jack Allen (C/G)||Kenny Lawler (WR)|
|135||Max Tuerk (C/G)||Daniel Lasco (RB)||Max Tuerk (C/G)||Max Tuerk (C/G)||Ronald Blair (DE)||Cardale Jones (QB)|
|212||Dan Vitale (FB)||Brandon Allen (QB)||Brandon Allen (QB)||Brandon Allen (QB||Brandon Allen (QB)||Lawrence-Stample(DT1)|
|216||Lawrence-Stample(DT1)||Dan Vitale (FB)||Dan Vitale (FB)||Dan Vitale (FB)||Dan Vitale (FB)||Dan Vitale (FB)|
|217||David Morgan II (TE)||Austin Blythe (C/G)||David Morgan II (TE)||David Morgan II (TE)||David Morgan II (TE)||David Morgan II (TE)|
Everyone has their favorite picks they want the Cowboys to grab, so I am sure you will have one of the options you like better than the others. They are all good options, it just depends on your preference for your pet player. But the options are all good.
The Cowboys get a QB in the first option, then come back with their seconds and third to address defense.
In the second option, the best DE falls to them. They draft a 10 year starter (barring injury), they go on to use three of the first four picks to address the D-line. They also get a starting caliber receiver with the first of the second round picks.
In the third option, the Cowboys get the best receiver in the draft. Then with the three seconds they strengthen the defense before getting their QB and RB in the third and early fourth.
With the fourth option, the Cowboys get a starting caliber three that can also help at the one. Then they address the receiver and running back positions before coming back to help the defense. It would be gambling a lot that Ronald Blair could contribute. Under this scenario, I would assume they would bring in another vet DE for insurance.
Under the dream option, some players fall a little so the Cowboys pick up the best running back (Zeke) and the best rusher (Spence). Either Doctson or Fuller falls to the mid-second (probably Fuller), then they get a solid, athletic corner in Burns and a very disruptive three technique in Jones (my pet cat). The Cowboys then draft a future starting center and they get a DE who could contribute (Blair). They then address blocking TE, FB, and QB to groom.
In dream option two, I wanted to do something different. Why not draft the best center/guard in the draft? After next year he would be the starter. Then you come back and get your DE, DT and CB in the second. In the third, you get your running back and a receiver with some upside. At the end of the fourth you get the QB with as much upside as anyone.
You can debate which option you would like, but the point is that by trading down the Cowboys can get a group of good players that would add depth and talent to the team.
Until the next scenario, I hope you enjoy discussing the Cowboys options.
Why The Cowboys Shouldn’t Draft a Guard in the First Round
With the 19th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys are in what some call an "awkward spot" to choose a player. As a team with both offensive and defensive needs, it'll all depend on how the board falls and who's still available once they're on the clock.
They can go ahead and find this team's next number one wide receiver, look for a young linebacker for the future, draft a defensive tackle to upgrade the front seven or they can use their first-round pick to continue to build on their already elite offensive line.
Recently, my colleague Brian Martin wrote about how upgrading the left guard position should be the Cowboys' top priority in this Draft. A large amount of fans, writers and analysts feel the same way. Even still, I truly believe that Dallas may be better off addressing a different position in the first round this time around.
However, it'd be foolish not to admit that once Draft Day arrives, if Dallas ends up taking someone to instantly solidify that great offensive line to keep Dak Prescott clean and make holes for Ezekiel Elliott, the pick would simply make sense.
It's hard to imagine how things will turn out, but it's very likely that once the Cowboys' turn comes, the best player available will be a guard. There will be a lot of talent there. Isaiah Wynn and Will Hernandez will probably still be on the board, for instance.
Also, the front office has done a very good job at drafting offensive linemen. In the past recent years, Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin have been one of the main reasons for this team's offensive success.
There are many reasons to believe that OG is the way to go, but I can't help wondering...
Drafting a guard at 19 is the safe pick... but is it the right one?
This is an important question. We all know that taking a guard is the safe pick, and that if that's the direction they choose to go, they won't miss and whoever they draft will contribute from Day 1 to this team's success.
Unfortunately, anyone who looks at the Cowboys' situation objectively knows that there are some other needs they have to attend to take another step.
They have at least three linemen playing at an elite level. Not to mention La'el Collins, who has the potential to become an elite player as well. Like it or not, we need to include the salary cap into the picture.
According to Over The Cap, Left Tackle Tyron Smith averages $12.2M per year and Center Travis Frederick $9.4M. Enter Zack Martin who is about to get paid the big bucks soon. He's still playing under his rookie contract after Dallas picked up his fifth-year option.
However, a contract extension is expected to arrive this offseason. If we're being honest with ourselves, he will ask for a big amount of money, because he deserves it. Browns' Kevin Zeitler, the highest paid RG right now, earns $12M a year. Martin's numbers will probably be even higher.
If the Cowboys draft a guard, it'll be in order to ensure that this offensive line will work at a high level.
But if you already have Smith, Martin and Frederick, shouldn't it already be working at a high level? Do you really need four first-round picks (La'el Collins would've been a first-round pick if it wasn't for a situation which had nothing to do with him) in your offensive line to be successful?
A guard at 19 makes sense. It's safe. But I'd rather see this team diversify. They did a great job at finding Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis to rebuild the secondary last year. Maybe they can find a DT or a LB who can help this defense go from "solid" to great.
Or maybe, if they're ready to make this a Dak-friendly offense, go get him a fresh wide receiver. Someone who can create separation and get this offense going.
You can bring back Jonathan Cooper, who did a nice job last season or bring in another free agent. They should definitely look for a guard in April, but not in the first round. Unless it's Quenton Nelson, who is arguable the best or second-best player available this year, I hope they go in a different direction.
Upgrading LG Position Should be Cowboys Top Draft Priority
The Dallas Cowboys are quite proud about the offensive line they have put together over the years. Their OL is headlined by three former first-round draft picks who have turned into All-Pro players, and one player who should've been a first-round pick if not for an unfortunate situation that had nothing to do with him that took place during the draft.
This offensive unit is the backbone of the entire Dallas Cowboys team, but some changes need to be made. No, not the personnel per se. Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, and La'el Collins will all return to their starting roles, but that only makes up 80% of the unit. Who makes up the other 20% is probably the biggest question that needs to be answered before the 2018 season kicks off.
Yes, I'm talking about the vacancy at the left guard position.
Last season the Dallas Cowboys tried to plug the hole with Chaz Green and Jonathan Cooper. The Green experiment failed miserably and Cooper was serviceable at best. I don't know about you, but I think it's time to find a long-term solution and solidify the best offensive line for years to come.
The best and cheapest way to address the LG position is with one of the Cowboys draft picks.
Sure, the Dallas Cowboys could re-sign Jonathan Cooper to another affordable contract, but I have zero faith he can remain healthy. That's been the knock against him his entire professional career. I was actually surprised he lasted as long as he did in 2017.
With the 19th pick overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys are in a good position to have their choice of the best offensive guards in this draft class. Isaiah Wynn of Georgia, Will Hernandez of UTEP, James Daniels of Iowa, and Billy Price of Ohio State are all players under consideration here.
All four of these players are excellent Cowboys draft targets, and they can't really go wrong with any of them. They all bring a little something different to the table, but each would be an upgrade who would help get this team back on track.
You see, I think finding a new LG is the top Cowboys draft priority. I don't know if there is another position that can be filled by a rookie and contribute more to the team success in 2018.
This is especially true considering what the Cowboys like to do offensively. They want to establish the running game and control the clock. They weren't really able to do that in 2017 due to Tyron Smith's injuries in the revolving door at left guard.
We all saw what happened when they were forced to get away from their bread and butter. This is not an offense that is currently equipped to rely on the passing game to put points on the board. It's just not who they are.
That is why finding a new LG is so important. Not only would it help upgrade the running game, but it would also help keep things going if Tyron Smith continues to struggle with injuries.
It's much easier to plug and play a backup left tackle who can block in the running game than it is to find one who can pass protect as well as Smith.
I know opinions will vary, but I truly believe that it's in everyone's best interest to draft a starting caliber left guard. And if you want to know my opinion, I would do it with their first-round draft pick by taking Will Hernandez.
Do you think LG is the Dallas Cowboys top draft priority?
Cowboys Draft Target: BYU LB Fred Warner
The 2018 NFL Draft class isn't exactly full of difference-making linebackers. At the top of the class sits Roquan Smith, the Georgia LB who many feel is a franchise changer. Then there is Virginia Tech's Tremaine Edmunds, the athletic freak who has risen up draft boards. After the top two, however, there is some confusion about the rest of the class.
My third linebacker would be Alabama's Rashaan Evans, but after watching more tape over the last couple of months, BYU's Fred Warner is LB4 on my board. I recently wrote up a full scouting report on Warner for Slant Sports, in which I detailed what exactly I like about Warner's game.
During his time at BYU Warner doubled as an EDGE defender and off ball linebacker. He often found himself in-line and defending the line of scrimmage, and did a good job when asked to do so. In my opinion, he projects to be a WILL in the NFL, an off-ball linebacker the Cowboys could certainly use.
At 6'3" 235 pounds Warner is a big and fluid athlete who looks extremely comfortable in space. Fred Warner possesses impressive processing ability and the closing speed to come down hill and make plays after reading and recognizing what the offense is doing.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
"On this play we see an example of Fred Warner’s ability to read, react, and close on the ball carrier. Warner stays disciplined in his run fits at first, reading the hats of the linemen as the hole forms. As the runner bounces, Warner begins to break down hill to make the play."
Fred Warner is also rather solid in coverage. Considering his length and quickness, Warner can cover a lot of ground in zone coverage. Every now and then he made some splashy type plays in coverage as well, such as this one against UCLA.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
"Warner gets into his drop smoothly here, reading his keys and processing the play in front of him. Then, as soon as the quarterback lets go of the ball, Warner jumps on the route and makes a great play on the ball. Considering his size, this is an outstanding rep from Fred Warner."
So where would the Cowboys have to take Warner? By my estimation, 81st overall is the sweet spot for Fred Warner. There are a lot of decent linebacker prospects bunched together late day two and early day three, but I think Warner has separated himself from the pack.
I believe Warner is a better prospect than a Josey Jewell or Leighton Vander Esch, despite the love they have been getting during this draft season. I understand those who would say someone like Jewell better fits what the Cowboys need in a MIKE linebacker, but Fred Warner's hybrid versatility and skills at WILL make him very valuable as well.
The Cowboys could use some depth at linebacker, and Fred Warner would immediately provide that for Dallas. And, depending on the health of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith, Warner may be asked to play a lot during his rookie season.
Want to help make Inside The Star better?
We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.
Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).
Star Blog3 days ago
Should Cowboys Sign This RFA to a Contract Sheet?
NFL Draft2 weeks ago
Star Defensive Talent Falls to Cowboys in Latest Round of Mock Drafts
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Cowboys CB Marquez White Could Emerge in 2018
Star Blog6 days ago
Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition
Star Blog7 days ago
Switzer and Beasley: A Dilemma for Cowboys’ 2018 Offseason
NFL Draft1 week ago
The 1 Player Cowboys Should Consider Trading Up For
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Dallas Cowboys Continue Search for Coaching on Defense
Star Blog1 week ago
Will Kavon Frazier be Cowboys Version of Kam Chancellor?