Every year, when confronting the fact that the ideal player for our favorite team might be picked before they're “on the clock,” we discuss an interesting alternative. It's a great idea, and as we imagine the scenario we can't help patting ourselves in the back for our remarkable creativity.
“What about trading down?”
It's smart, really. Getting more draft picks while avoiding reaching for a prospect that doesn't feel completely right. The Dallas Cowboys, holding the 17th overall pick, have been discussed by many as having “trade down” potential in this year's NFL Draft. After all, Cornerback C.J. Henderson isn't likely to be on the board and neither are the top three wide receivers in this year's class. While many are mocking players like LSU EDGE K'Lavon Chaisson or Alabama Safety Xavier McKinney, many are doubting they're worth it.
However, as great as trading down sounds like, the truth is that we frequently underestimate how hard it can be to pull off such a move on Draft Day. To be able to find a trade partner you obviously need to find a team willing to pay a big price to move up a few teams. This means there have to be other teams in between that are interested in drafting one particular prospect that's been dropping to them.
Which are those teams that could help the Dallas Cowboys trade down in the first round and pick up a little bit of extra Draft capital this season? But more importantly, who could be the prospect that causes the trade?
The answer seems to be none other than Utah State Quarterback Jordan Love.
It's difficult to predict where a prospect like Love could be drafted because of the many questions that surround the unpolished quarterback. The 6'4″ prospect from the Mountain West conference has an arm that will likely cause an NFL team to take a chance on him earlier than many expect.
There seems to be a growing consensus that he's sneaking into the first round. Love would be a high-risk bet for any team, but with an arm that's drawn comparisons to Patrick Mahomes, it'd be more surprising to see him still on the board on Friday.
Speaking of Mahomes, how many analysts doubted he could translate his ridiculous physical talent into the NFL before the Chiefs traded up to draft him in the Top 10 of the 2017 NFL Draft?
Jordan isn't likely to be taken that early but if he can make it all the way to the 17th overall pick and the Cowboys are looking to trade back, they should be able to find a couple of teams to pick up the phone. Just take a look at the Draft order:
18. Miami Dolphins
Other than the Eagles and Vikings, any of the above teams could be interested in drafting Jordan Love.
The Raiders have Marcus Mariota and Derek Carr, but none are very convincing. ESPN's Mel Kiper mocked Love to the Raiders just a week ago. The Jaguars' hopes are currently in the hands of Gardner Minshew, who had a surprising campaign as a rookie but was inconsistent as the year continued. The Patriots are preparing for life without Tom Brady. While Jarrett Stidham is the favorite to win the starting job, how can we rule out the possibility of them selecting the 21-year-old from Utah State?
The Dolphins are also in need of a quarterback, but with a pick in the Top 5, they should be off the quarterback market this late in the first round.
With so many teams being potential landing spots for Love, how likely is it for the Cowboys to get a trade partner if they want to? Now granted, Tua Tagovailoa's health concerns could also cause him to drop, but it feels like a longshot. In contrast, the Utah State product will likely be on the board at 17.
Whatever the compensation is, if they manage to trade down it'll likely be thanks to Jordan Love.