In drafts there are always a flurry of deals made, especially in recent history since they made it more even finance-wise to trade up into the Top 5 or 10 to get yourself a stud. It has become such a largely consistent trend, that even mock drafts regularly predict trades. But I've got some thoughts on what teams may be wanting to trade this year to go up or down.
When these teams are on the clock, you'll need to be fully aware they'll take all the time they can, whether they trade out or make a selection of the best player available.
Down: Tennessee Titans
This team is in that #2 position, one coveted by a ton of organizations. It's a great place to trade up for your franchise quarterback. Just ask the St. Louis Rams. The trade happened many weeks before, but the Washington Redskins gave up so many draft picks for one guy who they believed to be their future, Robert Griffin III.
If Winston slips to #2, I see no doubt in my mind that the Titans take him. If the unexpected doesn't happen, teams will look to trade up ahead of the Redskins and the Jets to grab Mariota, and teams will pay a fortune to do so if they believe Mariota is their franchise's cornerstone.
I wouldn't even rule out if a team is in love with one of these receivers, trying to trade up ahead of Jacksonville or Oakland.
Up: San Diego Chargers
The Chargers are one of the teams who may want to trade up for Marcus Mariota, but they can also be a team on the hunt for Todd Gurley.
All of his medicals checked out so Gurley's knee is okay, and the Chargers have three heads in the backfield with Branden Oliver, Danny Woodhead, and Donald Brown; but they need that guy to set the Chargers' backfield apart. Perhaps getting Gurley could allow him to have limited carries in San Diego with that backfield.
San Diego has quite a bit to offer if they indeed plan on cutting ties with Philip Rivers. Giving up Rivers for a shot at Mariota (or Gurley) would save them the cap space to re-sign Eric Weddle, and Rivers would be worth it to the Titans, Redskins, or Jets, allowing the Chargers to retain either their 2nd round pick this year, or their 1st rounder next year.
They can grab a quarterback like Bryce Petty in the 2nd round, or try getting a good draft pick next season to get a QB.
Down: Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have dominated the mainstream media with the possibility of them trading their star running back Adrian Peterson. If they don't go through with that long stretch, they could be a real candidate to trade down.
If you remember, they traded up to 32 and back into the first round in a deal with the Seahawks last year to get Teddy Bridgewater. If the top pass rushers are off the board and they don't need Gurley or Gordon, they can trade down to accumulate picks to help in numerous areas on this team.
There's going to be teams who want to get ahead of Cleveland at #12 to get DeVante Parker from Louisville. It's expected to see Amari Cooper and Kevin White off the board in the first ten picks, but the team who trades up for a guy like DeVante Parker, I believe won't regret it.
Up: Pittsburgh Steelers
If you were aware, the stellar Steeler defense that once was, is no more.
So many of the great defensive players that brought them their NFL record-setting sixth Super Bowl, is no longer sporting the yellow and black (or the bumblebee unis) on the field. Between the pass rush and the secondary, the Steelers organization could draft a great defensive player this year.
The AFC North is about who can play the better ball against the opposing offense, and Pittsburgh's about to lose that identity. They have Big Ben, Antonio Brown, and after the first month of the season, Le'Veon Bell, but they'll need a defense if they want to see a repeat as division champs. You could see them trade up for a pass rusher to get after Manziel, Dalton, and Flacco, or they could take a defensive back.
If the Steelers trade up, they're going all out.
They'll go for Trae Waynes of Michigan State or nobody at all. Though they could have success with drafting Peters, if they can't get into the Top 10. Plus, if they're confident that Landon Collins can fill some of the hole Polamalu's retirement dug, they can trade ahead of the in-state Eagles and draft the safety from Alabama, the most prized safety this draft.
Down: New York Giants
Not many look at the Giants as a team to trade down, and I'm not sure why. They have holes to fill on the interior and on the offensive line, but you can't rule out the team trading down to get an extra pick or two to help both of the lines, or even something in the secondary.
The Giants defense was actually scary before injuries deflated their season, and their offense was and still is scary with Eli, Odell, Larry Donnell, and Andre Williams headed into his sophomore year in the NFL in the backfield -- not to mention Victor Cruz returning from a devastating injury.
You may want to look at the Giants as a team to make a smart front office move; to trade down and fill an extra hole to get them into serious contention for the division crown.
Up: Detroit Lions
Hear me out here. The Lions have one of the better offensive passing attacks with Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and Golden Tate. They also had a formidable defense last season. However, they lost Ndamukong Suh to the Dolphins in one of the most lucrative deals we've seen for a defensive player in the history of the game.
But, Suh didn't matter much to their win-loss totals, and they were smart to not overspend to keep Suh. But on the other hand, they lost Nick Fairley inside.
They've spent a lot of years on the defensive line with the drafting of Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, and Ezekiel Ansah, but they've now lost two of those and it's in the interior. They made a trade with the Ravens to get Haloti Ngata to fill some of the void but he's 31 years old. Also, despite how consistent Ngata has been, there's something the Ravens know to trade Ngata. Haloti hasn't played a full season since 2011 and his numbers are dropping. Over 10 sacks in 2010 and 2011, only 8.5 since.
If they don't trade up for a defensive linemen, they can go offensive linemen in the first and possibly get Lake Tomlinson from Duke on Day 2. The Lions must live by the mantra that you win or lose games in the trenches.
Down: Dallas Cowboys
I felt I would end on this, considering that BlueStarTimes.com is originally a Dallas Cowboys blog, even if I write articles on some other NFL happenings.
This is a very easy decision to make.
If the Cowboys aren't high enough on a guy they're willing to take at pick #27, I suggest they find someone willing to trade up in the first round, or perhaps a team wanting to trade back into the second round to revive hope within their fan base.
The Cowboys could use two second rounders, spending one on a running back and another on a defender. I think it's a very real possibility.
Many fans won't be too fond of sitting for hours on Thursday night just for the Cowboys to leave with no new Cowboys, but believe me when I say that Stephen Jones will be looking at the bigger picture. If you're not sold, what would you rather have? Draft Day 1 excitement with a bust? Or two second rounders who provide that jump to a sixth Super Bowl? If you're a true Cowboys fan, you'll have no problem with the latter.
So I just gave you some teams who may be looking to trade up or down next week. Watch for these trades to go down and don't be disappointed if they don't. The draft is unpredictable, yet holds very likely events.
If you believe I left out a team who could trade up or down, tell us in the comments down below.
Cowboys Land CB in Matt Miller’s way-too-early 2020 NFL Mock Draft
What better way to kick off the 2019 NFL regular-season and the start of college football then a way-too-early 2020 mock draft? Well, you're in luck. Matt Miller, one of my favorite draft analysts, just released his latest 2020 NFL Mock Draft for Bleacherreport.com and you may be surprised as to who he selected for the Dallas Cowboys.
One of the reasons I enjoy Matt Miller's work above many other so-called "draft analysts" is because he has his ear to the ground and has a pretty good connection with scouts around the league. That kind of information is pretty invaluable, but he also has a solid understanding of team "needs". Add all of that up and you get a really solid guesstimate of who could be on a certain teams radar, in this case the Dallas Cowboys.
Let's take a look at who Matt Miller predicted the Dallas Cowboys could draft in the 2020 NFL Draft with their first-round selection. Miller set this particular mock draft according to current Super Bowl odds from Caesar's Palace.
25. Dallas Cowboys
The Pick: CB Bryce Hall, Virginia
Matt Miller predicting the Dallas Cowboys select Cornerback Bryce Hall with there first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft definitely seems like a plausible possibility. He knows the Cowboys can't afford to pay everyone and he even said as much. With Byron Jones and Anthony Brown entering a contract year in 2019 and with Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis having expiring contracts after 2020, Dallas' secondary could definitely need addressing.
The Cowboys know this as well which is why they probably attempted to add some developmental depth to the CB position through the 2019 NFL Draft when they took Mike Jackson in the fifth-round. Jackson has the attributes they look for in their corners, but in no way has he looked like he'd be ready for a starting role next season. That makes Miller's Bryce Hall selection a definite possibility.
According to Miller's 2020 mock draft Bryce Hall is the fourth secondary player to come off the board. There were three cornerbacks selected ahead of him and one safety. He does fit the mold Kris Richard prefers in his CBs (6'1", 200) and also has the physical playing style in press coverage Richard likes as well. All in all, this is a very solid prediction for the Dallas Cowboys.
Whether or not the Dallas Cowboys would choose to select a CB this early is unknown at this point. But, it certainly seems like a high possibility considering all the corners with expiring contracts in a year or two. I think the Cowboys could look into taking a tight end or a safety with their first-round pick as well, but again it's way too early to have any kind of clue as to how their draft board will look like when the 2020 NFL Draft rolls around.
I don't know about you, but I'll be keeping a closer eye on Bryce Hall this season just in case Matt Miller is correct. I'd like to get a head start to see just how well he would fit, or not, with the Dallas Cowboys.
Do you like the Bryce Hall selection for the Dallas Cowboys?
2020 RB Options for the Cowboys if Things Turn Ugly With Ezekiel Elliott
The Dallas Cowboys could have a Le'Veon Bell-type situation on their hands in regards to Ezekiel Elliott. It's been reported Zeke is contemplating a holdout until his financial demands are met by way of a contract extension. This could put the Cowboys between a rock and a hard place.
Ezekiel Elliott is technically still under contract for two more seasons because of the fifth-year option he carries as a former first-round draft pick. Threatening to hold out seems a little premature, but Zeke has the Cowboys by the short hairs right now, meaning the leverage is on his side.
This is a situation that could, unfortunately, turn ugly, and quickly.
Check out Ep. 6 of Cowboys Weekly - Segment 1 for more discussion from Inside The Star on Ezekiel Elliott's Hold-Out situation:
The Cowboys have several other mouths to feed and Zeke may not be at the top the list considering his continued immaturity issues off the field. His on-field production is undeniable, but so are the red flags that keep popping up. It may be time for Dallas to look for his successor and fortunately, the 2020 running back draft class is a pretty good place to start.
Let's take a look…
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
Jonathan Taylor (5'11", 219) would probably be the ideal candidate to replace Ezekiel Elliott for the Dallas Cowboys. He is one of the more productive collegiate running backs expected to enter the 2020 NFL Draft and has the intangibles that are eerily similar to Zeke as far as size, speed, and power are concerned. Unfortunately, that likely makes him a top 10 selection, putting him out of reach of the Cowboys.
Taylor doesn't come without his warts though. As a true Junior, he's seen a lot of action in his three years as the starting RB for the Badgers. That wear-and-tear is a cause for concern because it could lead to durability issues once in the NFL. He also has struggled with his ball security. He's put the ball on the ground 12 times in the last two seasons, which will need to be cleaned up at the next level. But, there's no denying his talent.
D'Andre Swift, Georgia
D'Andre Swift (5'9", 215) is one of my favorite RB options in the 2020 draft class to replace Ezekiel Elliott if things turn ugly with the Dallas Cowboys. He doesn't have the same kind of production as Jonathan Taylor and is still somewhat under the radar because he's been stuck in a committee with the Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and Elijah Holyfield the last two years. But mark my words, he will be the next great RB to enter the NFL out of Georgia. Swift could be as ideal of a candidate to replace Zeke as there is.
Dallas likes an inside runner with zone vision as well as someone who can be a threat in the passing game, and D'Andre fits the bill. Despite being a little smaller in size than Zeke, he still possesses the power to run inside. Then throw in his receiving ability, 32 catches for 297 yards and three touchdowns last season, and you have someone who is more than capable of replacing #21's offensive production. He's projected to be a late first-round pick, which could put him within striking distance of the Cowboys.
J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State
J.K. Dobbins (5'10", 214) could be someone who is already on the Dallas Cowboys' radar as a potential Ezekiel Elliott replacement. They seem to have a liking for Ohio State running backs (Zeke, Rod Smith, Mike Weber) and could turn to another Buckeye to carry the rock. Dobbins, an all-purpose back and native Texan (Houston, TX) checks all of the boxes the Cowboys typically look for in their featured back.
Dobbins has the size, speed, and vision to be a featured back in the NFL. He has rushed for over 1,000 yards his last two seasons while splitting time with Mike Weber and has averaged about 200 receiving yards during that time span as well. He's not the most physical back, but he keeps moving his feet upon contact. He also needs to improve in pass protection in order to become a true three-down RB in the NFL. But his vision, shorter area quickness, elusiveness, and patience as a runner are all top-notch.
Travis Etienne, Clemson
The breakout season of Quarterback Trevor Lawrence, unfortunately, overshadowed the Heisman-worthy year Travis Etienna (5'10", 200) had in 2018. In his first year as a starter, he rushed for 1,658 yards and 24 touchdowns, all the while averaging an impressive 8.1 yards per carry. If he can follow that up in 2019 he could become the most coveted back in the 2020 draft class and become a really intriguing option for the Dallas Cowboys.
Etienne will probably need to add a little bit more "good weight" and muscle to his frame if he wants to be considered a featured back in the NFL. If he can accomplish that and not lose any of his elusiveness or speed he should climb up draft boards. If not, he may not be of much interest to the Cowboys because they already have a similar RB in Tony Pollard. He does possess plug-and-play talent though, making him a potential Ezekiel Elliott replacement.
Najee Harris, Alabama
Najee Harris (6'2", 230) is yet another big, physical running back who has had to remain patient and wait his turn at Alabama, but 2019 could be his breakout season. With Bo Scarbrough, Josh Jacobs, and Damien Harris ahead of him on the depth chart the last two years, Najee saw limited playing time. But, when he did receive the opportunity to showcase his skill set he didn't disappoint. His physical talent could make him a top-5 running back come draft time.
Despite his limited playing time last the two seasons, he averaged over 6 yards a carry. He rushed for a career-high 783 yards and four touchdowns on just 117 carries in 2018 and should easily surpass those totals this season. In doing so he should become one of the more sought after RBs in the 2020 draft class. With the Cowboys, as Zeke's potential replacement, his physicality would pair nicely with Tony Pollard's slashing style. A Harris/Pollard duo could be just as productive as the Cowboys running game has been in the past.
The above five running backs are all potential Ezekiel Elliott replacements who I really like and will likely receive the most national attention due to the programs in which they play. But, they are only a few in what looks like a really strong 2020 RB draft class. Here a few honorable mentions you should also keep a close eye on as well.
- Cam Akers, Florida State
- Eno Benjamin, Arizona State
- Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma
- Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt
- Kylin Hill, Mississippi State
I believe any of these running backs mentioned above at any point in the article could be in play for the Dallas Cowboys if they choose to play hardball with Ezekiel Elliott over his want for a contract extension. The 2020 running back draft class has a plethora of potential starters and this could be in the back of the Cowboys mind when they're determining where they want to spend their money. Paying top dollar for an RB might not fit in their budget, even for one as talented as Zeke.
Do you like any of these potential RBs as replacements for Ezekiel Elliott?
Cowboys Draft: Reviewing Kansas DT Daniel Wise
Throughout the post draft media process, the Cowboys' decision makers have been adamant that they found multiple draft-able players in undrafted free agency this year. Each of which, of course, will have an opportunity to compete for a roster or practice squad spot this summer.
One of those players who almost certainly had a draft-able grade despite fall through all seven rounds, is Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise.
At 6'3" and 290 pounds, Wise projects as a 3-technique in the NFL, and should compete for that very role on the Cowboys defense. Wise is not an overly bendy or athletic player, but he has a good initial quickness which allows him to penetrate gaps well. Wise plays with excellent effort, having the type of motor that I'm sure Rod Marinelli valued highly during the pre-draft evaluations.
A strong and powerful interior presence, Wise can offer some upside as a pass rusher as well. He has quick, active, and heavy hands. When combining his hands with his get-off, Wise is a real threat as a pass rusher. Maybe his most impressive pass rushing quality, however, is the effort which he plays with. Never giving up on a play, you'll have to block Wise until the final whistle or he will threaten for effort sacks.
In college, Wise was often asked to be a two-gap defender from the 5-technique, but that's just not where he'll be at his best. Rather, he should be used in the role the Cowboys likely envision for him, allowing him to play with power at the point of attack and disrupt the running game.
But what are Daniel Wise's chances of even making the team?
The Cowboys made a concerted effort to improve their defensive line this offseason, specifically on the interior. By adding free agents like Kerry Hyder and drafting Trysten Hill 58th overall, Dallas has improved what was considered a weakness during the postseason a year ago.
Not all of these talented defensive tackles will make the team, though, it's simply a numbers a game. And cutting an undrafted free agent will certainly be easier to do than cutting someone who will be owed real money, or was acquired through premium draft capital.
Regardless, Daniel Wise will have the chance to prove his worth during training camp and the preseason. And based on how he projects through his college tape and physical attributes, he'll likely make those final decisions very difficult on the Cowboys' staff.
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