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What NFL Draft Trades to “Watch Out!” For

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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.



I'm a life-long Cowboys fan. Where I was born and raised in North Carolina, it was a family tradition, and hopefully I can pass it down to the generations that follow. I love that football can always give us memories we'll cherish for the rest of our lives, and great moments, from the action happening on the field to who's sitting in the room with us while it happened.

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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: Reviewing Kansas DT Daniel Wise

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Draft: 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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NFL Draft

Pre-Draft Visitors Highlight Dallas Cowboys 2019 Rookie Class

Brian Martin

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Pre-Draft Visitors Highlight Dallas Cowboys 2019 Rookie Class

The Dallas Cowboys are "officially" adding 21 rookies to their roster, eight of which they drafted and the remaining 13 are undrafted free agents. The number of rookies the Cowboys are bringing in isn't all that surprising, but what did surprise me was how many of them were pre-draft visitors.

You may or may not know, but the NFL allows 30 allotted pre-draft visits for each team around the league. Teams don't have to use all 30 visits of course, but the majority of them take advantage of the opportunity and generally use up all 30 visits. It's a chance to introduce these rookies into the atmosphere they could be playing in and work them out in more of a one-on-one basis.

The Dallas Cowboys of course are known as a team who take their 30 pre-draft visits very seriously. Over the past several years they've drafted several players who were brought in for pre-draft visits, and 2019 was no exception.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, paying attention to the Dallas Cowboys 30 pre-draft visits is a good idea because the odds of them drafting one or more of them is pretty high. That's why I decided to run a pre-draft tracker this year, and because of it I was able to confirm 27 of the possible 30 pre-draft visitors for the Cowboys.

Here are 2019 pre-draft visitors currently on the Cowboys roster:

  • DT, Trysten Hill
  • RB, Tony Pollard
  • RB, Mike Weber
  • WR, Jon'Vea Johnson
  • CB, Chris Westry

If you're doing the math, 5 out of 30 equates to 17% of the players the Dallas Cowboys brought in as pre-draft visitors. But, if Dallas only brought in 27 that percentage rises to 19%. To say that the Cowboys value these pre-draft visits would be an understatement, at least as far as 2019 is concerned.

The first three of Trysten Hill, Tony Pollard, and Mike Weber were of course all draft picks and have the best chance to stick around on the final 53-man roster, but I wouldn't rule out Jon'Vea Johnson and Chris Westry. Both were draftable players, but somehow fell through the cracks right into the lap of the Cowboys as UFAs.

I don't really know if it's a good idea the Dallas Cowboys are so transparent with how valuable the treat these 30 pre-draft visits. We've seen teams time and time again trade up right in front of them to draft a player the Cowboys could've possibly been eyeing, and this year was no exception.

After drafting Running Back/Wide Receiver Tony Pollard with the first of their fourth-round draft picks, it looked like the Dallas Cowboys had their sights set on small school Defensive End/Defensive Tackle John Cominsky out of Charleston with their second pick in the fourth. Unfortunately, the Atlanta Falcons traded up a spot ahead of them to draft Cominsky.

This of course isn't the first time the Falcons have done this, which begs the question as to how they knew the Cowboys could have possibly been targeting Cominsky. We can throw a conspiracy theory out there that Atlanta might have been inside source, but that's highly unlikely. More plausible theory is they were paying attention to Dallas' 30 pre-draft visitors as well.

It may be time for the Dallas Cowboys to deploy a little more smoke and mirrors when it comes to who they bring in for pre-draft visits in the future. But regardless, there's no denying the Cowboys pre-draft visitors highlight their 2019 rookie class.

Are you surprised the Dallas Cowboys added so many pre-draft visitors to the roster?



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NFL Draft

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Draft Grades

Shane Carter

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Dallas Cowboys 2019 Draft Grades 1

Another year, another draft come and gone. The difference was that this year the Dallas Cowboys were without a first-round pick thanks to their trade for Amari Cooper with Oakland. Their de facto first-round pick would obviously earn an A+ from how well he meshed with Dak Prescott and gave this Cowboys offense another dimension.

Given how well the Cowboys have done in the first round in recent history -- all but two of their first round picks since 2011 have been in the Pro Bowl, a trend that continued with last year’s pick, Leighton Vander Esch. This season, the Cowboys only had picks from round two and on. So this year was all about finding value and hoping it would fall into their laps.

Obviously time will tell if any of these players work out or not. For the time being, we can grade the picks based on what we do know. Some picks were worth it, while others raised questions, as well as eyebrows.

58 Overall: DT, Trysten Hill

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 1

In what has been considered the best defensive line draft in decades, the Cowboys took a bit of a risk with their first “official” pick. Trysten Hill is a first round talent out of UCF, but reports questioning his love for the game had some give him a third round grade.

Dallas has already had an off-season dealing with talented defensive linemen with questions around their passion for the game (i.e. David Irving) and so obviously people didn’t love this pick.

It’s a high risk, high reward move that we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.

Grade: B

90 Overall: G, Connor McGovern

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 6

As far as value goes, McGovern was probably the team’s best pick. In my pre-draft rankings, Connor McGovern was my fourth overall interior lineman; a player who you can play anywhere in the interior and start immediately.

However, guard didn’t really seem like a need. This was obviously a “best player available” pick. What this pick has done instead is raise a bunch of questions.

Who’s job could be on the line?

Does this imply the team won’t re-sign La’el Collins?

Is Connor Williams going to play tackle like he did in college?

Is one of them going to get traded?

Is Travis Frederick really ready to go?

So many questions surround this pick, but there’s no questioning the player. Connor McGovern is likely a future starter on the line and Cowboys fans should be excited about that.

Grade: A

128 Overall: RB, Tony Pollard

If you follow me on Twitter, you know my feelings about Tony Pollard already.

Shane Carter on Twitter

Tony Pollard might be my favorite #Cowboys pick. Has experience at both the RB and WR position, plus had 7 career kick return TDs in college. He addresses all 3 needs in 1. #NFLDraft

Returner has been a need for a year now. I never liked the team trading away Ryan Switzer because it created a huge hole on special teams, as well as the receiving core.

The team also needed a backup running back to take the load off Ezekiel Elliott a bit. With Tony Pollard, they get all three positions filled in the form of a player who's 6'0" 210 pounds, ran a 4.52 40 and compiled 25 total touchdowns. Terrific value in the fourth round.

Grade: A-

158 Overall: CB, Michael Jackson

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 9

This is the type of corner Kris Richard loves; big and tall. At 6'1" 200 pounds, Michael Jackson fits the profile.

His 2017 tape was actually better than his 2018 tape, and all four of his career interceptions came in '17. However, the team is obviously betting on his potential, especially with corner being a serious need.

With the Cowboys' four primary corners coming into contract years the next three seasons, odds are that at least one will be gone. MJ doesn’t fill in day one as a difference maker but, given some time under Kris Richard, he could be a nice player.

Grade: C+

165 Overall: DE, Joe Jackson

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 11

Take Joe Jackson, new Cowboy, as well as Michael and Darius Jackson, and the team is just two short of a Jackson 5 reunion.

The team has been very busy trying to rebuild the depth at edge and Joe Jackson is icing on an already stacked cake. In an off-season that saw the retirement of David Irving and another suspension for Randy Gregory, the team was able to extend DeMarcus Lawrence and trade for Robert Quinn.

The edge room was already full but you can never have too many.

Joe Jackson is a fun, productive player from The U, who was teammates with the previous pick, Michael Jackson. In his career, he totaled 24 sacks and 37.5 tackles for loss all in three seasons. He’s not the fastest edge rusher in the world but has plenty of power to make up for it. With the team only for sure having DeMarcus Lawrence guaranteed beyond 2019, it’s good to have as much talent as possible.

Grade: B+

213 Overall: S, Donovan Wilson 

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 12

The team really needed a safety and it enraged most people that they didn’t pick one earlier. Especially with Taylor Rapp, Juan Thornhill and Amani Hooker all available at different times.

Donovan Wilson is an interesting pick. His career has been a rollercoaster while at Texas A&M, with a highly productive 2015 season, a dip in 2016, a fractured foot in the 2017 opener, and a rebound 2018 season.

Had his career not been derailed by his injury, he’s likely gone way before the sixth round and the Cowboys are obviously betting on his potential. Meets a need, but not a plug-in right away type of pick.

Grade: B

218 Overall: RB, Mike Weber

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 13

Tony Pollard is going to get first crack at the backup running back spot. However, given that he’s also the team’s likely return man as well, it makes sense that they’d want to deepen the running back room to give the team a true RB2.

Mike Weber was Ezekiel Elliott’s teammate at Ohio State, but didn’t come close to the impact Elliott had. Only topping 1,000 yards once in college, Weber is likely in competition with Darius Jackson for the backup spot.

He’s not as flashy as Zeke but can pick up the slack when asked to and is a solid receiver out of the backfield. If Weber can’t beat Jackson for the backup spot, then Weber is a likely candidate for the practice squad.

Grade: B

241 Overall: DE, Jalen Jelks

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 14

Jalen Jelks falls into a similar boat that both Hurricanes players are in. Like Joe Jackson, he’s a good solid edge piece (fifth round draft grade), but like Michael Jackson, his prior season's tape was better than his final season.

It's interesting that the Cowboys would pick a player who seems to be better suited to play in a 3-4 as a OLB, but has plenty of starter potential. Otherwise he’s a player that’s likely headed to the practice squad that the Cowboys wanted to make sure they get first crack at. Still, a good value in terms of where he was picked.

Grade: B-

Dallas Cowboys Overall 2019 Draft Grade: B



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