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NFL Draft

How Much Trading Power Do Cowboys 2017 Draft Picks Have?

Jess Haynie



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!



  1. Russ_Te

    April 23, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    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

      Jess Haynie

      April 23, 2017 at 10:07 pm

      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

        April 24, 2017 at 12:47 am

        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

          Jess Haynie

          April 25, 2017 at 7:37 am

          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

            April 25, 2017 at 7:02 pm

            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… ;^)

  2. John Williams

    John Williams

    April 25, 2017 at 4:18 am

    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

      Jess Haynie

      April 25, 2017 at 7:31 am

      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

        John Williams

        April 26, 2017 at 2:04 am

        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.

  3. Russ_Te

    April 25, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    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.

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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: Looking at West Virginia WR David Sills

Mauricio Rodriguez



Cowboys Draft: Looking at West Virginia WR David Sills

Although the Dallas Cowboys won't be on the clock in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, they essentially invested their first pick in Amari Cooper. However, wide receiver remains a need for the team, specially with Cole Beasley heading for free agency. Out of West Virginia, Wide Receiver David Sills is an interesting potential target for Dallas. A quarterback-turned-wide-receiver story, Sills is one of those guys who constantly shows up when you watch his football team play. That's what you want in a receiver.

Let's dive in.

During his time playing for the West Virginia Mountaineers, David Sills was a scoring machine. He scored 35 career touchdowns (15 in 2018, 18 in 2017) and caught over 980 yards in each of his two seasons as a starter. The Big 12 is known for its lack of good defensive backs, which will naturally raise skepticism when discussing how good Sills really is but it shouldn't.

Sills is 6-foot-4 and weighs 210 pounds. His frame is constantly criticized but thanks to his size and his excellent ability to high point the football that shouldn't be an issue. He's one of the best in this draft class when it comes to 50-50 jump balls. He shines the most as a vertical threat, including over the middle of the field, which should be an interesting trait for the Dallas Cowboys. Throughout his career, he was almost indefensible when given the opportunity at deep over the shoulder passes.

Although he doesn't have the best acceleration, Sills' build-up speed can be lethal for opposing defensive backs. Paired with this is his skill to adjust for deep balls, slowing down when necessary to take on defenders.

What I personally like the most about Sills is his play in goal line situations. Whether it's playing inside on a slant or running a fade route, the Mountaineer wide receiver surely made a lot of opposing defenses suffer. Thanks to his background as a quarterback, his understanding of defensive coverages is pretty solid. He manages to find the defense's soft spots and get open constantly.

But why isn't he valued as a top prospect on this year's NFL Draft? Well, unfortunately, there are a few reasons for this.

First off, David Sills had some problems in the "drops" department. He has plenty of body catches that aren't necessary. When balls weren't on target, he often didn't make the play despite counting with a pretty good catch radius. He can greatly improve in his route running abilities and he was challenged by true press cornerbacks, struggling to release early.

For the Dallas Cowboys, Sills could be a solid contributor as a vertical threat and in the red-zone, where the offense struggled so much last season. With the class being quite loaded at wide receiver this year, Sills should be a realistic target even in the fourth round.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Draft: Looking at West Virginia WR David Sills" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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

Cowboys Receive 4th-Round Compensatory Pick in 2019 NFL Draft

Jess Haynie



Why Finishing 8-8 Improves Cowboys' 2018 NFL Draft Position

The Dallas Cowboys will receive an extra fourth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft after the league awarded compensatory picks today.

The pick will be 136th overall, which is one spot below were Dallas drafted Dak Prescott in 2016.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

And in other news... NFL awarded compensatory draft picks today - Patriots and Rams each received two third-round picks. The full list, per sources:

We have Anthony Hitchens to thank for this extra pick. The former Cowboys linebacker signed a five-year, $45 million deal with the Chiefs last offseason which far surpassed any of the deal that Dallas made with their own free agent acquisitions.

Only free agents whose contracts expired, not those released in the offseason by their previous team, count towards the compensatory pick formula.  Therefore, Allen Hurns' deal was not a mitigating factor.

As mentioned already, the fourth round of the NFL Draft recently gave Dallas its starting quarterback. Other notable fourth-round picks in the modern era have been Hitchens, Doug Free, Marion Barber, and Chris Canty.

Last year, Dallas drafted DE Dorance Armstrong and TE Dalton Schultz with fourth-round picks.

Already short their first and sixth-round picks this year from previous trades, the Cowboys are certainly happy to have this extra selection for April's draft.

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NFL Draft

7-Round Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft: Pre-Combine Edition

Brian Martin



3 Potential Day 2 Tight End Prospects for the Dallas Cowboys 2

I thought it would be a good idea to get out another 7-round Dallas Cowboys mock draft before the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine kicks off next week. Not only will the Combine shakeup a lot of people's big boards and draft rankings, but it will also be the first opportunity a lot of us will get to see some of these players firsthand.

For this Cowboys mock draft I used Matt Miller's big board on I don't necessarily agree with where he has some of these players ranked right now, but that's part of the fun of doing these kind of exercises. With that said, he is still one of my favorite draft analysts.

Without further ado, here is my Pre-Combine 7-round Dallas Cowboys mock draft.

TE, Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M (2nd-round)

*189th on Matt Miller's Big Board

Jace Sternberger

Texas A&M TE Jace Sternberger (John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports)

First off, I think Matt Miller has Jace Sternberger ranked way too low on his Big Board. I don't think he will make it out of the second round and may not even be available for the Dallas Cowboys when they are on the clock with the 58th overall pick. But if he is, I'm writing his name down on the draft card and not looking back.

The Cowboys have made it pretty clear they want to upgrade their TE position, but in order to do that they're going to have to draft one pretty early in my opinion. Sternberger may be a one-year wonder at Texas A&M, but he is exactly what Quarterback Dak Prescott needs in the passing game. He would change the dynamic of this whole offense.

At 6'4", 250 pounds, Sternberger has the size the Cowboys look for in their starting tight ends. His biggest asset right now is his natural receiving ability and how dangerous he is after the catch. He runs and moves like a big receiver. He's decent as an in-line blocker as well, but it's an area of his game that is still improving.

OT, Bobby Evans, Oklahoma (3rd-round)

*89th on Matt Miller's Big Board

Bobby Evans

Oklahoma OT Bobby Evans

It's a little surprising it hasn't been brought up more this offseason, but with Tyron Smith's continued back problems and La'el Collins entering a contract year, the Dallas Cowboys could be looking into drafting another offensive tackle. I know it may be an unpopular pick in the third-round, but I couldn't pass up on Bobby Evans.

At 6'5", 300 pounds, Bobby Evans has the prototypical size teams look for in their starting offensive tackles. He is a smooth athletically gifted lineman who does his best work in the running game. He projects best in a zone blocking scheme where he can use his athleticism to his advantage. He will struggle a little bit in pass protection until he cleans up his hand technique.

With the Cowboys he could compete with La'el Collins for the starting RT position as a rookie, but at the worst be the teams swing tackle in 2019. Since he has the ability to play either tackle position, he would make a good insurance policy if Tyron Smith has to miss time again because of his back issues. Again it may be an unpopular pick, but a necessary one.

OLB, Christian Miller, Alabama (4th-round)

*161st on Matt Miller's Big Board

Christian Miller

Alabama OLB Christian Miller

With the Dallas Cowboys needing more depth at linebacker and defensive end, I decided to select Christian Miller with their first fourth-round draft pick. He unfortunately hasn't been able to showcase his skill set on a regular basis due to being buried on the depth chart at Alabama and some unfortunate injuries, but he has immense potential.

I think a lot of teams will look to draft him as a outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, but I really like the variety of roles he could play in the Cowboys 4-3 defensive scheme. I think he could replace Demian Wilson as their strong side linebacker, provide depth at defensive end, and be a special-teams demon as a rookie.

The Cowboys of course will have to be comfortable with his injury history, but in the fourth-round I don't think that would be a problem. If he can stay healthy he has Pro Bowl potential as a pass rusher because of his size (6'4", 247), athleticism and fluidity to bend and torque his body. This might be my favorite pick in this Cowboys mock draft.

DT, Daylon Mack, Texas A&M (4th-round comp pick)

*178th on Matt Miller's Big Board

Daylon Mack

Texas A&M DT Daylon Mack

The Dallas Cowboys could definitely use some more defensive tackle help, especially after all but washing their hands of David Irving. They currently just have Antwaun Woods and Maliek Collins on the DT depth chart, unless you want to count Tyrone Crawford. That's why I returned to Texas A&M for the second time in this Cowboys mock draft and selected Daylon Mack.

Daylon Mack is a former five-star recruit who never really lived up to his billing at Texas A&M. Don't let that fool you though, he has the talent to earn a starting job with the Cowboys as a rookie at either the one or three-technique. He is the kind of prospect Rod Marinelli would love to work with.

At 6'1", 327 pounds, Mack would provide some much-needed beef to the Cowboys defensive front. He has surprising athletic ability for his size and has a devastating first step to be the kind of disruptive DT Marinelli prefers along his DL. I really love his violent hands and raw athletic ability, and I believe he could be an absolute steal in the fourth-round even though Matt Miller has him ranked much lower.

WR, Jalen Hurd, Baylor (5th-round)

*159th on Matt Miller's Big Board

Jalen Hurd

Baylor WR Jalen Hurd

Outside of Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, the wide receiver position in Dallas is pretty dreadful. There are some young WRs who show some promise, but they still need more depth regardless. That's why I decided to take Jalen Hurd in the fifth-round in this Cowboys mock draft. He is one of the more intriguing prospects in the entire 2019 draft class.

The most intriguing aspect of Hurd's game is his background as a running back. He was a five-star recruit coming out of high school and was once considered a top RB prospect during his time in Tennessee before deciding to transfer to Baylor in order to switch to wide receiver.

At 6'4", 227 pounds, he has the prototypical size teams look for in a WR prospect. He reminds me a little bit of Cordarrelle Patterson, but is much more natural catching the ball. His route running is a little raw, but he has the ability to play in the slot or on the outside, something he did at Baylor. I think he could help replace some of Cole Beasley's lost production.

RB, Bruce Anderson, North Dakota State (7th-round)

* 206th on Matt Miller's Big Board

Bruce Anderson

North Dakota State RB Bruce Anderson

I reached a little bit with this pick, but if Bruce Anderson is available this late in the draft I would do everything within my power to bring him aboard if I was the Dallas Cowboys. I really think he could be the lightning to Ezekiel Elliott's thunder in the Cowboys backfield. I personally have him in the 3rd-5th round range, but can understand why he's ranked so low on Miller's Big Board right now.

Unfortunately, the draft process hasn't been very kind to Bruce Anderson so far. He was originally expected to open a lot of eyes in Mobile at this year's Senior Bowl, but unfortunately sustained an injury that kept him from competing. To make matters worse, he was a surprise snub at the Scouting Combine, meaning he only has private workouts and his Pro Day to impress scouts.

I for one am a big fan of Anderson's though. I believe he is exactly the kind of RB the Cowboys need behind Zeke. I personally see a poor man's Alvin Kamara when I watched his game film because of the different ways he can be utilized as both a runner and receiver. But, he can also contribute on special teams as a return specialist.

How do you feel about this 7-round Dallas Cowboys mock draft?

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