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NFL Draft

How Much Trading Power Do Cowboys 2017 Draft Picks Have?

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys Draft: Could This Rising QB Help the Cowboys Trade Out of the First Round? 1

As we look ahead to this Thursday's night and the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, let's hypothesize about a very possible scenario. We're going to consider what the Cowboys can reasonably do if they want to move up in the first round; what sort of trade value their 2017 picks really have.

Put yourself in the Dallas Cowboys war room. The pass rusher you really covet is falling pick by pick, but you don't think he's going to make it to the #28 spot. This is the THE guy; you have to make this happen. Anyone else will feel like a disappointment.

Based on the traditional chart for draft pick value, which you can find easily at multiple sources on the web, here is the mathematical trade potential for all of the Cowboys 2017 picks:

  • Rnd 1, Pick 28 = 660 points
  • Rnd 2, Pick 60 = 300 pts
  • Rnd 3, Pick 92 = 132 pts
  • Rnd 4, Pick 133 = 40 pts (appx)
  • Rnd 6, Pick 211 = 7-10 pts (appx)
  • Rnd 7, Pick 228 = no value
  • Rnd 7, Pick 246 = no value

Now, back to the war room. You're really wanting "War Daddy" pass rusher so you start looking at the teams ahead of you. You're willing to give up your third-round pick to move up. That's a nice deal, right?

The combined value of the 1st (660) and 3rd (132) picks is just 792 points. That puts you somewhere around the 21st or 22nd picks, which are valued at 800 and 780 points. You move up 6-7 spots and lose a third-round pick.

Now, third-round picks are a mixed bag. You may not be sweating that loss if it means another average guy like Terrance Williams or J.J. Wilcox, or even someone on Tyrone Crawford's level.

But what about another instant stud like Maliek Collins? How about a future star like DeMarco Murray? Or how about a future Hall of Famer like Jason Witten?

Cowboys Draft: 3 Prospects Cowboys Could Trade Up For

Could injury concerns push elite safety prospects Malik Hooker into the Cowboys range?

Let's get a little crazier. What if someone unexpectedly falls out of the Top 10, such as safety Malik Hooker with his health concerns? Could you possibly move up to snag one of them?

Combining your first and second-round picks, like the Cowboys did in 2012 to go get Morris Claiborne, gives you way more value. Unfortunately, the pick value get exponentially higher as you move up. The combined value of those picks in 2017 is 960 points, which is roughly equal to the 17th draft pick.

You moved 6-7 slots with your 1st and 3rd-round picks but only 11 slots with the 1st and 2nd rounders. Ideally, you hope that the quality of the player selected offsets the diminishing return on the trade. That becomes a huge part of your evaluation and ultimate decision.

And in case you're wondering, the combined value of all three picks would only get you to about the 14th pick. That's not enough movement to give up so many turns at the roulette wheel, nor would it likely get you to where a Top-10 talent would fall.

Derek Barnett

DE Derek Barnett from Tennessee could fall into the Cowboys trading range.

Given the Cowboys painfully obvious need for a dynamic edge rusher, they might justify combining picks to get one. One could argue that a boost to the pass rush will do more to help the secondary than any one cornerback or safety could. It is reminiscent of the logic behind drafting Ezekiel Elliott over Jalen Ramsey last year; a ripple effect helping the defense more than a single player can.

Coming off a 13-win season and division title, the Cowboys are looking to push their young team to the next level of contention. While they have a big window ahead for guys like Elliott and Dak Prescott, other stars such as Jason Witten, Sean Lee, and Dez Bryant don't have another decade to chase their first Super Bowl. Dallas needs to attack this now while their veterans are still able to be major contributors.

That mentality could push the Cowboys to try to move up in this draft. It will depend on how the defensive end talent starts coming off the board. Whether it's a top-tier guy falling or a run on pass rushers draining the pool quickly, Dallas may need to get aggressive if they want to add a game-changing talent now.


Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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9 Comments
  • Russ_Te

    These are the conundrums your GM is supposed to know how to handle… ;^)

    I would introduce 2 elements true this year, that probably stop me from moving up:

    – The Cowboys were gutted in FA and now need a lot of cog players and several project acquisitions that have a chance to hit.

    – DE is big, CB is big for your defense if you get an impact guy at either spot.

    So if a coveted DE is falling, but a coveted CB is expected to be there for you at 28 – I take the later.

    When Deion Sanders was on the team (not that this draft has a Deion), my philosophy of the most important position on defense changed. I always believed from the days of Harvey Martin, that RDE will win you games outright.

    And it will. But look at how Sanders changed Campo’s defenses. He takes the opponent’s best WR nearly out of the game. Now they have to beat you with their next best receivers, and you get to walk a safety into the box a lot because said #1 WR is addressed already in your scheme by Sanders. That extra defender helps you deal with the short garbage, and helps you stuff the run.

    And that is why Campo had high ranked defenses without a dominant DL player. I’m fine with the right CB.

    • Jess Haynie

      Good stuff as always, Russ. However, a little Devil’s advocacy…

      1. I think Jaylon Smith and Charles Tapper finally debuting, in addition to several low-key FA signings, offsets the personnel losses. We’re going to have 53 worthy players come Week One.

      2. I have a hard time seeing a CB taken at #28 being an instant star, let alone a guy who can have a Deion effect. Think your’e better off trading the pick for Sherman if that’s your expectation.

      • Russ_Te

        No, I can’t expect a Deion-level CB but once a decade, if even that often. I just make the point about how he affected the entire D from the CB position, to put it on par with RDE in importance.

        Another way to do that is to note that even your top, dominant DE’s don’t notch 2 sacks per game. They often get pressure and that counts, but on most passing downs they will still get blocked effectively. Whereas that premiere CB, even if not thrown at, is taking a top WR out of the play on most downs and setting up his teammates to work the others better.

        But I will take a dominant RDE without many complaints…

        But if I’m getting that instead of a starting CB and an eventual starting (X) in Round 2, this is a year you might need the 2 starters. It will all be driven by who is falling down the 1st round, as you mentioned. Given the several DE’s that will probably get snapped up quickly, I think the odds are good that a top CB is on the board at 28.

        Somebody lock Jerry in the closet on Wednesday… ;^)

        • Jess Haynie

          Fair points on dominant CB VS dominant DE. I just think that unless you’re up top and taking Lattimorethen there’s no reason to think you’re getting that kind of CB in this class. Lots of good-great guys and longtime starters, but anyone who emerges as the next “shutdown” corner will be a surprise like Sherman.

          • Russ_Te

            Right – just hopeful for enough luck that a top-rated player falls to 28. If that’s not a DE or CB, it can really get controversial this year.

            Everyone has a mock prediction but my guess is they will hold at 28 and the player will be a CB or SS. If the SS is the better player, I can’t argue with it.

            But I still want to look at Jaylon Smith for SS at camp… ;^)

  • John Williams

    Excellent work Jess.

    Good to see in number form what the options are. I think the price to move up is way too high considering the depth at positions of need for the Dallas Cowboys.

    Even if it’s THE GUY they want, I still like that they have options in the first three rounds to add impact defensive players.

    DE and DB in the first has been well documented. In the second or third there are options as well, better to add 2 or 3 players who can make an impact on the team than just one. Unless that one is Myles Garrett, which it won’t be.

    • Jess Haynie

      Thanks John!

      I agree that what it takes to move up is generally not worth giving a 2nd or 3rd round pick, especially in a deep draft like this one. If you think about last year and the kind of impact that Maliek Collins had; I’d rather have three of him than one of most other guys.

      Of course, there are a few truly elite prospects who I’d give up every pick for. You mentioned one of them. I’d also throw Hooker/Adams and Solomon Thomas in that mix. MAYBE O.J. Howard?

      • John Williams

        Yeah Howard is definitely an interesting name to keep an eye on as the draft falls. The names you mentioned are worthy as well.

        but again it’s hard to trade that away when we are talking about the possibility of adding day on contributors at positions of need in each of the first three rounds.

  • Russ_Te

    As the situation sat last year, I will say I was a proponent of selling picks or players to move up for Goff or Wentz.

    Because QB need seemed dire enough to justify it, and coming off a 4-12 year it was an unusual chance to nab a franchise QB just as Romo was dilapidating. It’s much harder to do that from down the draft of course.

    As we know Jones did try to trade up after taking Elliott, for Paxton Lynch. That one I was against because he was a project QB – don’t sell off your team for that.

    Jones defaulted into Dak because the try for Lynch failed, and I believe the rest of the War Room was sold on Prescott. As it turned out Lynch was a project, Dak was not – and he looks better now than Goff or Wentz.

    So a strike like that again in mid-rounds, this year for a defensive player or a RT or TE, would be most useful.

NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Class: How Many Will Be Starters In 2018?

Kevin Brady

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2018 NFL Combine: 3 LBs Who Impressed
Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys have been showered with praise by most national NFL media outlets for their 2018 NFL Draft class. NFL.com graded the Cowboys as having the 2nd best class in the league, and most other analysts have agreed that the team had a strong showing.

But now, of course, it's time to see what these new players will actually do on the field. Some are hoping the team found 3-5 new starters for the 2018 roster, but history would suggest that is pretty rare.

Dallas' 2016 draft class has been lauded as one of the best in the last decade, especially considering they look to have found their franchise quarterback in round four. That strong class only features four full-time starters heading into 2018, but we have to wonder if that's the outlier and not the norm.

Still, as we look back and examine this 2018 draft class it really appears they have found three day one starters in the first three rounds.

First round pick Leighton Vander Esch is expected to be the starting MIKE linebacker this season, with former second round selection Jaylon Smith moving to SAM. Vander Esch wasn't my favorite option at 19, but he is certainly starter-worthy in this Cowboys LB corps.

On day two the Cowboys added OL Connor Williams and WR Michael Gallup, two of my personal favorite picks of their entire class. Williams should be the starting LG week 1 of the season, and Michael Gallup may overtake Allen Hurns as the most productive WR on the roster by year's end.

Cowboys Land Small School WR In Latest PFF Mock Draft

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 1: DUPLICATE***Colorado State Rams wide receiver Michael Gallup (4) picks up a few yards after catch as Colorado Buffaloes defensive back Isaiah Oliver (26) comes in for the tackle during the first quarter on September 1, 2017 in Denver, Colorado at Sports Authority Field. (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)

What about the rest of the class?

Dorance Armstrong will probably have too much competition to start at defensive end this season, but he should be an interesting rotational pass rusher. TE Dalton Schultz has the chance to surprise some people, but overtaking Geoff Swaim as the "starter" would be unexpected.

After that, the player with the best chance to make the team and contribute early on might be Boise State WR Cedrick Wilson. Wilson was a late day-two, early day-three pick to me so snagging him in the sixth round should provide incredible value to this roster. That wide out room is getting very crowded, though, so Wilson has his work cut out for him heading into camp.

How many of the Cowboys' 2018 draft picks will be starters in 2018? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.


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NFL Draft

Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?

One of the many winners of the 2018 NFL Draft were, without a doubt, the Dallas Cowboys. Not only did they addressed some of the team's most pressing needs, but they managed to draft very talented, capable players beyond the first round.

Cowboys Nation had to feel better about the rookie class the front office walked away with, specially after the second day of the Draft. Just like last year, they managed to find steals in the second and third rounds. In 2017, they did so with Cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. Now, they stayed put at their original picks and walked away with OL Connor Williams and WR Michael Gallup.

But first things first. In the eyes of many, Leighton Vander Esch wasn't worth the 19th overall pick. While I do agree that Vander Esch was a questionable selection, the Cowboys fixed arguably their most concerning position of all. As much as it pains to admit it, Sean Lee has yet to play an entire NFL season and Jaylon Smith was pretty much the only other capable starter on the roster.

Cowboys en Español: Dallas Selecciona a Vander Esch, ¿Quién Sigue?

Although Vander Esch needs to develop a ton before reaching his full potential. he's a week 1 starter and an early contributor for this defense. Whether it felt like a "reach" or not, the Cowboys took a starter in the Boise State linebacker.

Later, the Cowboys managed to add an arguably first-round talent with pick #50 to plug-and-play along the offensive line. Texas OL Connor Williams was also seen as a tackle prospect, but he'll likely start at guard for Dallas as a rookie.

Since Ron Leary left for Denver, the left guard spot hasn't been as stable. Jonathan Cooper did a decent job filling that spot, but with Williams taking his place, the Cowboys dominance in the trenches will finally return. Playing next to All-Pros Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick, Connor Williams might become the best rookie in this class for the Cowboys.

One can't simply say the team found a "replacement" for Dez Bryant since he's a special player and with a very specific skill set, but Michael Gallup from Colorado State has the potential to become the team's WR1 pretty soon.

In the team's effort to build a Dak-friendly offense, Gallup is a crafty and smooth route-runner who has what it takes to play in any spot of the offense. His skill-set will allow him to play anywhere on the field and become Dak's favorite target in a year in which Jason Witten and Dez Bryant will no longer be lining up on his squad.

Taken in the first three rounds, Vander Esch, Williams and Gallup will be unquestionable starters. The question, however, is who else could become a starter for the Cowboys? Who could line up and start in week 1?

Dallas Cowboys Add Depth on Day 3, Building Future with Young Starters 1

Even though it definitely isn't as certain as the other three rookies, I'm betting on Dalton Schultz to be a more important starter than we imagine. Listen, maybe it's not an ideal scenario to have the TE from Stanford start in week 1, but it could be necessary.

The Rico Gathers Adventure might just be over before it starts and Geoff Swaim and Blake Jarwin may not be anything special. In college, Schultz was pretty good at run blocking. In the Cowboys' offense, led by one of the best running backs in the league, Ezekiel Elliott, Schultz may be able to find success earlier than expected.

Besides, he has what it takes to catch passes in the NFL and although he certainly won't be the flashiest, he could be enough to give Dak Prescott a reliable tight end.

Dalton Schultz could be the surprise of this Draft for Dallas. He'll probably become a starter at some point in the season and for a fourth-round pick, that's a very good thing to say.

For a front office that's constantly bashed by Cowboys Nation, their job at this year's NFL Draft was a pretty good one. Now it's just a matter of time to find out which picks were as good as we originally thought.

Tell me what you think about "Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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NFL Draft

Why Cowboys Nation Should Feel Better About Leighton Vander Esch

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Why Cowboys Nation Should Feel Better About Leighton Vander Esch
Loren Orr / Getty Images

A week ago, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell walked out to the stage at AT&T Stadium to announce the Dallas Cowboys first pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. For the second consecutive year, a large portion of Cowboys Nation was not pretty happy about the player America's Team had drafted in the first day of the Draft.

Boise State's Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch has become one of the main debates among Cowboys fans right now and will continue to be one at least until the season starts. Some are fine with the decision the front office made and some simply don't view Vander Esch as a first round talent.

Naturally, taking Leighton in the first round has been widely compared to the team's last first round pick: Taco Charlton.

Both of these selections resulted in fans all around the world complaining and criticizing the selections since they both seemed like a reach, arguing that they could've gotten better players at other positions.

But fans shouldn't be so quick to compare the Charlton and Vander Esch selections, because they really aren't that similar. Sure, most of the media and Draft fans didn't consider any of these players worthy of a first round pick, but that doesn't mean both players were ranked similarly in the Cowboys' draft board.

Defensive End Taco Charlton, despite showing some very promising flashes towards the end of the year, wasn't able to become a starter at any point during his rookie season. Hopefully he develops into one next season. But when you're talking about first-round picks, being a solid starter at the end of the season at the latest is a very usual expectation.

Possibly what made the Taco pick hurt even more, is the fact that the front office didn't even consider him a first-round talent. Although he was drafted to wear the Star with the 28th overall pick, he wasn't their guy.

Drew Davison on Twitter

The #Cowboys had three first-round grades on DEs, but Taco Charlton wasn't one of them.

With Leighton Vander Esch, the same can't be said. The Cowboys knew he was their guy and that they were going to take him, regardless of the situation. For many weeks we wondered about just every scenario the team might face when they were on the clock.

What if DE Harold Landry is available? What if Calvin Ridley is still on the board? What if Derwin James slides, would they trade up?

For the front office, there was quite a lot of talent to choose from at 19 (not to mention James did slide out of the top 15), but they still took Leighton Vander Esch, even with Landry and Ridley on the board. We might disagree with the pick. We might not think the Boise State's product should've been taken so early. That's completely fine.

But Cowboys Nation should be happy knowing that this was the guy they wanted all along. Maybe if Derwin James hadn't been drafted by the Los Angeles Chargers with the 17th pick, Dallas would have still taken Vander Esch.

 "If the Cowboys traded up a few spots in the first round, I believe it would have been to ensure they got Vander Esch, not get James or Edmunds." Dane Brugler on the Cowboys' approach to the Draft. 

For now, it's time to root for the Dallas Cowboys' new rookie. Vander Esch will provide a special factor to this defense and has the potential to become a very good starter down the road. Playing side by side with Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith will certainly help his development and turn him into an impact player soon.

At the end of the day, it takes years to properly evaluate how a draft pick turned out in the NFL. There are first round players who turn out to be complete busts just like there are sixth or seventh round players that go on to become superstars in the league.

The Dallas Cowboys did a hell of a job addressing their needs throughout the Draft this year and there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about this year's draft picks. Leighton Vander Esch is without a doubt, one of them.

Tell me what you think about "Why Cowboys Nation Should Feel Better About Leighton Vander Esch" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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