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How the Eagles Trade Affects the Cowboys Draft Strategy

Will the Cowboys Avoid “Need” Again?

After the dust from the spending frenzy of NFL Free Agency settles, the main focus falls on the NFL Draft. Everyone creates their mock drafts of where each team will go, and then usually a team makes a blockbuster trade that makes these mock drafts worthless. 2021 is no exception.

News broke on Friday that the Philadelphia Eagles traded pick number six overall to the Miami Dolphins for pick 12.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter: “From Path to the Draft: Breaking down the big trades involving the #Dolphins, #Eagles and #49ers that shook up the draft board. pic.twitter.com/yLmY4a9i1d / Twitter”

From Path to the Draft: Breaking down the big trades involving the #Dolphins, #Eagles and #49ers that shook up the draft board. pic.twitter.com/yLmY4a9i1d

Assuming that Carson Wentz plays 75% of the Colts snaps or 70% of their snaps and the team makes the playoffs, the conditional second-round pick included in the trade would become the Eagles’ third first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

As for how this affects the Cowboys, it could create a similar predicament that they faced in last year’s draft where they took CeeDee Lamb at 17 overall.

While wide receiver was a need for the Cowboys, it wasn’t seen as a first-round need. However, with Lamb remarkably dropping into the Cowboys’ laps, the Cowboys had to take him over defensive players like Patrick Queen, K’Lavon Chaisson, and Trevon Diggs (who they would draft with their next pick).

It was another instance of using the draft strategy of taking the “best player available” rather than filling a need. Even more important than that, the Eagles were sitting there at pick 21, and could easily see the Cowboys passing him up to take a more immediate need.

Not only did Dallas take the obvious best player available, but they filled a need and kept him away from a division rival who they would have to face twice a year for at least the next five seasons.

With the news of this trade, the Cowboys now sit just ahead of the New York Giants picking at 11, and the Eagles picking at 12.

Field Yates on Twitter: “Updated 2021 NFL Draft order: picks 1-12:1. Jaguars2. Jets3. 49ers4. Falcons5. Bengals6. Dolphins 7. Lions8. Panthers9. Broncos10. Cowboys11. Giants12. Eagles / Twitter”

Updated 2021 NFL Draft order: picks 1-12:1. Jaguars2. Jets3. 49ers4. Falcons5. Bengals6. Dolphins 7. Lions8. Panthers9. Broncos10. Cowboys11. Giants12. Eagles

The most common position that has been mocked to the Cowboys has been cornerback, their most glaring need. The same names each time as well; Patrick Surtain ll, Caleb Farley, and Jaycee Horn.

However, they might be faced with the same dilemma as last season where they’ll have to take a lesser need to keep him out of the reach of not one NFC East rival, but two. Even more so, it’s going to happen.

We can safely assume what the first nine picks will look like:

  • The top four QBs will all be taken
  • Penei Sewell is going somewhere between the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals
  • There will be two receivers taken among Ja’Marr Chase, Devonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle
  • A second offensive tackle between Christian Darrisaw or Rashawn Slater
  • Patrick Surtain II might be gone before 10 thanks to a great pro day

Kyle Pitts is the wildcard here because he’s easily one of the five best overall prospects in the draft, and the tight end position isn’t held as high of regard as other positions, despite the fact that he looks like he’s going to be the real deal.

For the sake of argument, let’s say the one wide receiver to make it to 10 overall is Waddle, the other tackle to make it is Darrisaw, and Pitts is available, but Surtain is not. Now the Cowboys will have to pick between these players: Jaycee Horn, Caleb Farley, Kyle Pitts, Christian Darrisaw, and Jaylen Waddle.

The truth is that Horn or Farley would be the smart picks in terms of filling the need at a key position from day one in a rebuilding secondary. What that also does is allow all those other players to fall to the Giants and Eagles with the next two picks.

It might be smart in terms of filling the most pressing need, but taking one of the elite offensive players, whether it’s Darrisaw or one of the playmakers between Pitts and Waddle. It keeps the player away from the division rival and makes the position group that much better.

It wouldn’t be too hard to take Pitts or Waddle with Dalton Schultz and Michael Gallup both set to hit free agency next offseason, and could instead be used as trade pieces rather than letting them go for nothing.

Darrisaw makes plenty of sense too when you consider how beaten up the offensive line was last year, and could, like stated previously, make one of their tackles between Tyron Smith and La’el Collins a trade piece as well.

Whether the draft strategy is taking “best player available” or “drafting for need,” the Cowboys’ plan just got altered to include “who do we let our rivals take?” Expect the unexpected.

What do you think?

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Shane Carter

Written by Shane Carter

Lifelong Cowboys fan, who doesn’t mind telling the harsh truth. I’ve got a Bachelors Degree in Electronic Media and Communications from Texas Tech University. I welcome all opinions but I will shut down any troll.

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  1. This writer needs to keep up. Farley is no longer a top pick as has had TWO discectomies and another big injury.
    We do not need a second verse of Jalen Smith .
    Horn is now the only other top corner.

  2. Forget all about need.A top 10 pick should get a future probowler. Draft the very best player available and send him to probowls regardless of position.

  3. Let’s not make such a big deal about drafting a player to keep them away from a division rival. So what if one of these guys you mention go to Philly or NY? That would be a fear-based draft. Dallas needs to draft the BPA regardless of what their division rivals are going to do. I honestly don’t think playing keep-away is a “thing” or a strategy. I have never been an advocate of drafting a TE this early and pundits keep making TE a team need even when you have Jarwin and Schultz. That being said, if Pitts is really the game-changer experts say then I’m running to the podium with his card. I love the options in the 2nd round at CB and don’t see a vast differential between Surtain and some of those options. And as far as Farley, you can probably scratch him out of consideration for sure at #10 and I’m more scared taking a flyer on him in the 2nd round with the thought of him being your opening day starter. They say the microdiscectomy surgery is minor but back issues are nothing to mess around with. So please, no risky injury picks early on.

  4. Let’s not make such a big deal about drafting a player to keep them away from a division rival. So what if one of these guys you mention go to Philly or NY? That would be a fear-based draft. Dallas needs to draft the BPA regardless of what their division rivals are going to do. I honestly don’t think playing keep-away is a “thing” or a strategy. I have never been an advocate of drafting a TE this early and pundits keep making TE a team need even when you have Jarwin and Schultz. That being said, if Pitts is really the game-changer experts say then I’m running to the podium with his card. I love the options in the 2nd round at CB and don’t see a vast differential between Surtain and some of those options. And as far as Farley, you can probably scratch him out of consideration for sure at #10 and I’m more scared taking a flyer on him in the 2nd round with the thought of him being your opening day starter. They say the microdiscectomy surgery is minor but back issues are nothing to mess around with. So please, no risky injury picks early on.

  5. Dallas pick ⛏️ will either be the LB from Penn State or TE from Florida State. The Alabama CB will be gone by the time he gets to us. The #1 CB in the nation is always usually gone before he gets to number 10 pick ⛏️ . If the Penn State’s LB is taken by Dallas, Jaylon Smith will be traded for additional picks, possibly even Vander Ecsh, either one. Jaylon is valued as a 2nd to 3rd rounder while Vander Ecsh is valued as a #1 round pick ⛏️, so if it is Vander Ecsh gone then Dallas jumps back into the 1st round again!! So in actuality Dallas will be getting two first-round picks this year if the Penn State LB is chosen.

  6. Vanderesh 2019 and 2020 stats combined don’t equal his 2018 rookie year…. Idk who would pony up a first Rnd pick for him…

  7. Truth be told, when you have a quarterback coming off not a fractured but broken ankle and the majority of your offensive line has been banged up, to me if Darrisaw is available it’s a no brainer. If it’s anyone else I’d say the BPA strategy applies. Improving the defensive line usually elivates the secondary play. We have a good receiving core so the later rounds, camp invites or even walk ons could be used to address any needs there. If Darrisaw is off the board and it comes down to LB or CB I’m going LB. Why? 1st round LB’s are often plug n play while the learning curve at CB is usually much higher.

  8. With Jerry making the pick who knows who he will take. He could fool everyone and take on OL. He will take the best player available. It was a total shock when he picked Lamb last year when they already had Cooper and Gallop. You just never know what he is thinking

  9. If Surtain is gone I could see Cowboys struggling with either Horn or Pitts (if still available). I don’t think Waddle is a remote possibility. If Cowboys take Slater or Darrisaw at 10 they need to trade back into 1st round for Farley (depending on how far he falls) or Newsome

  10. What you’re suggesting is how the Eagles been drafting, to keep players away from divisional rivals. Drafted the BPA is what the Cowboys did last year, didn’t give any thought to keeping a player away from the Eagles. You can’t win drafting like that!

  11. I take Pitts, You can still get a good corner, at 44 and hope Cisco drops to your 3rd if not the Deablo kid looks good in the 4th round at saftey

  12. First, keep away is not a thing. The player might not even work out, and you’ll feel really sheepish if you play keep away with an eventual bust. Plus, Dallas didn’t even play keep away last year: WR was a secondary need but still a clear one, and it took Lamb because he was BPA with an exclamation point, and that’s it.

    Second, it’s being presumed that Dallas will see guys like Pitts and Waddle as clear BPAs over the likes of Surtain and Horn. That’s possible, but far from a given…but the fact is that Dallas could easily rate the CBs similarly to the other top prospects available, in which case it can fill need with value – a move that is always a slam dunk.

  13. Not sure either with previous neck injury that LVE gets us a 1st? More likely a 2nd and or 3rd…Surtain very well could be there @ 10 because Denver just signed Kyle Fuller cb…unless Slater or Bardmore at ees there @ 10 and cant find a reasonable trade partner, then BPA regardless!!!even if vf that player is Pitts, or Parsons..

  14. While I understand exactly where you’re coming from, I still hope Surtain is available when we Draft. If you watch his tape, he faced the best WR opponents had (many in the SEC) and he mirrors his opposite’s movements like he’s attached to him but without Horn’s grabiness. Of course he practiced against some future NFL WRs. But if he’s gone and Slater or Sewell or, I guess Pitts (tho I’m NOT a fan of drafting TEs in the 1st unless he’s a Gronk clone) are left, then they (especially the OTs) would be good Picks. I just hope we get either Grant or Moehrig because I think you can fill CB in the 2nd Round.

  15. FOR TODD: Christian Darrisaw is an OT from Virginia Tech. But I think there IS another guy named Darrisaw (not sure of spelling and if Darrisaw is his 1st or last name).

  16. The story line is a joke … fun topic to write about, but asinine to suggest as a valid football thought. Even the presumption that one knows how the 1st 9 picks will play out (let alone suggest it’s obvious) shows an incredible lack of experience in covering the NFL.

    Parsons, though not even mentioned in the article, is a legit consideration at #10. He and Surtain are likely the safest defensive players in this draft and both may even be in play. To me this pick would be intriguing because if Surtain is gone at this point, Dallas taking Parsons could very well indicate they are truly looking at moving away from Smith or LVE in the near future ( it necessarily this year). Passing on Parsons wi be viewed as digging in with LVE and Smith.

    Pitts is easily the most intriguing. Folks need to quit considering the TE is not a need. I get the stance, but as noted here Schultz will be a FA next year and Jarwin is still unproven. But let’s just say they both play well and prove themselves again. Pitts would be just as good as a WR … and Gallup won’t be getting a 2nd contract in Dallas. Only problem with a selection of Pitts is that of all the other potential candidates for the #10 pick, he could very well be the one who impacts the 2021 season the least.

    As for homers who try to place trade values of. Is it players, you need to always add 2 rounds higher to your thoughts. In a league where Randy Miss was acquired for a 5th round pick, you will never see LVE get even a 3rd.

  17. This site truly needs to add an Edit Post capability. It’s the only blog site I’ve visited that doesn’t.

  18. Agreed Ghost , IMO if Pitts does fall to us at this point , you can’t pass him up , Schultz could be gone after this year , Jarwin is a unknown after his injury , and Gallup WILL BE GONE AFTER THIS YEAR PERIOD . Either that or Jerry overpays to keep him which i wouldn’t be surprised if he did , but I’m sure Stephen can talk some sense into him , so unless you ppl on here are telling me that we’re 100% gonna have Schultz after this year , and Gallup , and Jarwin will bounce back 100% , Pitts is very much a need ,

    Another thing to , our offense scored a lot , but it wasn’t as efficient as it could be , too many times where we would fall behind 14 to 21 or more points in games and you can’t blame D , the O had it’s chances , this isn’t make it take it basketball , if it was then I’d agree on D , but it it isn’t make it take it .

    Adding someone like Pitts or even Waddle would put this offense over the top , you could start making comparisons to the Chiefs offense then , but as it stands , our O is really good , but inconsistent.

    Now with Pitts , I HIGHLY doubt he will fall to us , the Dolphins traded down from 3 cuz they don’t want to take a QB , then they traded backup to 6 cuz they love one of at least 3 guys in this draft , my guess it’s Sewell , Slater , and Pitts , maybe they also love Chase , whatevers the case , there’s a good chance , Miami takes Pitts as Atlanta and Cincy will probably go O-Line , and if Miami doesn’t go Pitts , Detroit will , I’d be shocked if they went different but i guess there’s a outside chance they will go different

    Now back to the Boys , this Defensive isn’t that great at the top , but it’s pretty deep , at least to where you can get good quality prospects all the way to the 4th , thus i do think you could go Offense with first pick then the rest on D

    if Pitts isn’t there at 10 , then Parsons is IMO my number 1 target in draft , his speed and athleticism will help our D significantly (AND NO J SMITH IS NOT A COMPARISON) the next guy I’d consider is Surtain , there’s a chance he won’t fall to us after his monster pro day , if those two aren’t there , then i think we should go Waddle

  19. BTW the idea of a fear based strat is BS , Eagles had a chance last year to pick Justin Jefferson who finished with more yards than Ceedee , instead they picked Reagor , and the year before last they could’ve drafted DK Metcalf , instead they drafted Arcega-Whiteside , thank God the Eagles suck at drafting WRs

  20. The worst pick me can make is Parsons at #10. Given the draft capital of a #1 for LVE and #2 for Smith we need to see if they should be kept after this season and if they can return to 2018 form. They have flaws, but were playing behind the worst DTs in the league over the last couple of seasons. McNeil, NT, needs to be drafted at a position of dire need to evaluate these LBs as McNeil appears to be at least a great run-stopping NT with good pass rush pressure potential as he is a very good athlete who grades well by almost all websites. Yes, Smith and LVE didn’t get off blocks as well as they should have but I’ll bet they suffered from the highest % of unrestrained OL making it to the second level in the shortest period on average in the NFL last year. I know I saw a stat of how much the DL was routinely blown off the line as being one of the worst in the NFL. I don’t think comparing Parsons to Smith is fair unless Parsons can’t cover and reports are that is not a skill of his. I don’t want to see another Rams game like the past season where our LBs were routinely exploited in the flat. I’d rather draft Cox to be a coverage LB and Diablo can play S or LB and could fill the coverage LB well, neither of which should be taken before #3 due to other team needs. We already made the mistake of drafting a less valuable position too high with Elliot. If the team is running a 3-4 and Lawrence Taylor is the prospect, I get it, but don’t draft a LB in the top 10 due to position value if you are running a 4-3. It is imperative we have one last evaluation of the team’s LBs this season to see if the draft capital can be salvaged with a return to 2017-2018 form by even one of these LBs.

  21. Surtain and Parsons are the two top defensive players in the draft IMO. Parsons may be more talented, but Surtain plays a premium position and is a bit of a bigger need for the cowboys. I would be happy with either one at #10.

    I don’t think the cowboys are at all confident in their LB situation. Not buying bad DT is the reason. For those that aren’t sold on Parsons, u might wanna do ur homework. Haven’t heard many experts that don’t think he is the top defensive player in the draft. Guys like him don’t come along very often. Plug him in and turn him loose. Then get a CB in the 2nd round.

  22. Maybe Pirate , problem is that you can’t fix injuries which is what LVE has dealt with the last 2 seasons , maybe J Smith could work if he can be coached as he was constantly taking bad angles and get fooled easily in play action plays , he’s a problem in space as well ,

    I wouldn’t mind going Surtain at 10 over Parsons , though i really do like him ,

    I also agree with addressing DT in draft , I actually did a 4 round mock draft before those trades yesterday

    10th pick: J Waddle WR (could’ve went Surtain , just picked Waddle for fun lol)

    42nd pick : A McNeill DT (Richie Grant went right before i picked )

    74th pick : T Gowan CB

    I traded the 96th pick to the Chiefs for the 136th and 144th pick (all the guys i liked there were gone )

    115th pick : B Browning LB

    136th pick : B Brown III DT

    138th pick : T Hufanga S

    144th pick : E Smith DE

    So if we went Surtain at 1st pick instead of Waddle , we’d have really good CBs then along with T Gowan ,

    2 run stuffing DTs to go along with Urban ,

    Baron Browning LB will give us that speed we need at LB and give us some versatility

    I didn’t address Safety early like i wanted to as after Moehrig and Grant went before i picked , and there was no one else i liked early , so i got Hufanga

  23. For those of you that wish to ignore the PFF info about our DTs being blasted off the DL as well as the eyeball test, then go ahead. I am concerned about the injuries to Smith and LVE and think neither will pan out, but that can wait one last season to test them out for the draft capital. But, since we are at least 2 drafts from a good defense, I would rather fill other needs than LB in case we have some that can play. We know we have not CBs other than Diggs. We know we have no safeties other than Wilson. We know our DTs are lousy, unless Gallimore surprises. We know Gregory can’t be relied upon at DE. Unlike the other positions (unless Gregory can demonstrate for an extended time he can play full-time) it is possible the LB might correct itself. No one told me above that Parsons can cover well and if he can’t then no way at #10 even if he is the best defensive player in a weak defensive player draft at the top. I don’t want another of those type of LBs that are all athlete but get burned in coverage. Parsons would be a great 3-4 outside rush LB, then he would be good at #10, otherwise, no. His positional value is not good at #10 in a 4-3, especially with our other needs and options. I didn’t fully excuse the LBs as while OL reached the second level of our defense faster than on almost all other teams, they didn’t get off blocks well, anyway. True, I doubt Jaylen will show enough explosive plays to compensate for his pour angles as he did previously to a much better extent. ThrowUp – very good draft.

  24. Kevin T Cure- Good post with many good points. But I still like Parsons at #10. Gotta get the BPA on defense. Can’t pass on a player of that calibre to get a less talented one at a position perceived as more of a need. I don’t see any other impact type players that would suit them if they miss out on Surtain. Can’t cite scheme as a reason for passing on a superior player IMHO.

    Trading down is a real option for the cowboys as well. If it looks like they might miss out on targeted players that could work to their advantage if they play it right.

  25. Yeah i did another mock where i traded down with Pats , can’t remember what i got in return but i ended up getting Horn at 15

  26. Kevin T Cure- I’m guessing u place a lot of stock in PRO FOOTBALL FOCUS which a lot of guys seem to on different cowboys sites. Well PFF rates Parsons as the best LB prospect since Luke Kuechly.

  27. Gary B- I enjoy debating football. I could live with Parsons at #10, I just think almost every other viable option is more important. Perhaps, it is fair that I re-evaluate if LVE or Smith are going to be viable, and, if not, Parsons wouldn’t be objectionable, however, I wonder if he couldn’t be taken at 13-16. If Parsons can cover, then drafting him at #10 will work.

  28. Siempre – 1) jaylon* 2) yeah he is. Pay attention.

    Sparkman – yes

    Randy – It literally happened LAST year and Philly did it to Dallas in ’18 when they jumped ahead to get Goedert.

    Anthony C – it’s possible

    Joe Robinson – Love it. Gimmie.

    Redsoxu571 – EVERY team has done this. Research.

    GhostProtocol – You calling my article a joke but writing a 4 paragraph response is the funny part.

  29. Yea Kevin likewise. IMHO if we stick with the #10 pick Surtain offers the most value. Parsons would be my 2nd choice. McCarthy was quoted recently saying he is player focused not scheme focused. Quinn has said he wants to run components of both the 4-3 and the 3-4 to allow flexibility in his defense.

    I like Parsons due to his ability to impact the games in multiple ways. Elite against the run and as a pass rusher both. Could certainly use him as a rush LB if the situation calls for it. I see alot of position flexibility with him. I haven’t heard that he is lacking in coverage skills, but with his speed and explosiveness to the ball I see him making plays in space as well.

    Ur right we MIGHT be able to get him at 13-16. I know the Lions are considering him at #9. If we end up trading down that opens up a whole other set of scenarios.

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