The Dallas Cowboys shocked the world during the 2018 regular season when they sent their 2019 first round pick to the Oakland Raiders for Amari Cooper. At the time, they were 3-4 and looking at having a top 15 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Just a couple of months later after the Cowboys finished the season 7-1 and reached the divisional round of the playoffs, that first round pick is the 27th overall pick in this year's draft.
At the time, it was perceived as a terrible value by most around the league as the Philadelphia Eagles had made a trade for Golden Tate for a third and the Houston Texans had acquired Demariyus Thomas for a fifth. Well, after the way the season played out, it's easy to see that the Cowboys got great value out of the their trade. Cooper made the Pro Bowl and had his third 1,000 yard season in his four-year career.
As the Dallas Cowboys are in the early stages of roster building for the 2019 season and hope to make another run in the playoffs, they'll be looking at all avenues to improve their roster. This includes free agency, the draft, and trades.
The Dallas Cowboys are a team that is close to contending for their sixth Lombardi Trophy and the front office looks ready to get aggressive in the player acquisition department with this young corp. So, with that in mind, should the Dallas Cowboys use their first round pick from 2020, to help their team this year?
Let's look at several options.
Trading Up in the Draft
As we all know by now, the Dallas Cowboys don't have a first round pick in this year's draft. Like Stephen Jones said, when the Raiders go on the clock at 27, we'll all be thinking about Amari Cooper. He'd easily be the best receiver in this draft class.
Just because the Cowboys don't have a first round pick now, doesn't mean they couldn't end up with one during the draft.
Their pick at 58 has a value of about 320 points, according to the draft pick value chart that most NFL teams use to assign value to picks. If they wanted to move up in the draft using their second round pick and say their third, which has a value of 140 points, they could potentially get as high as the 44th overall pick held by the Green Bay Packers.
When looking at future picks, the general rule, is that they hold they are valued at a full round less than picks in the current year would be. So the Dallas Cowboys 2020 first round pick, would be the equivalent of their second round pick this year. So if they wanted to use their first round pick in 2020 to move up in the draft, they would have to use it in a package with another pick.
Here's how they far they could go up by using their first in a package with another pick.
- 2020 first (320) + 58 (320) = the 29th overall pick held by the Kansas City Chiefs
- 2020 first (320) + 58 (320) + 90 (140) = 23rd overall pick held by the Houston Texans
- 2020 first (320) + 90 (140) = 46th overall pick held by the Green Bay Packers
The New Orleans Saints used their 2019 first in combination with their 2018 first to go up in the draft to select Marcus Davenport during the 2018 NFL Draft, so it's not an unheard of proposition for teams to use their future first round picks to move up in the draft.
For the Cowboys to want to give up that much to go up, they'd have to see a player falling that they love. In every draft, there are always those players that you're shocked fell as far as they did. Think Derwin James and Harold Landry from 2018.
The added benefit to trading into the first round is the fifth year option. Teams can choose after a players third year if they want to activate a team option for the player's fifth year. Byron Jones will be playing on his fifth year option this season unless the Cowboys are able to get a long-term extension done with Jones.
Depending on the player, it may make a lot of sense for the Cowboys to move up that far in the draft. There are always really good players that fall for whatever reason and the Cowboys need to stand ready to take advantage.
Trading for Proven Talent
As we saw in the Amari Cooper deal, trading for proven talent can make at times make a bigger impact than a rookie can. As the Cowboys look to contend in 2019, they can look to the Amari Cooper deal as a reason to use their future first round pick to fill a major need. Say defensive tackle? Maybe safety? What about a proven tight end?
The Dallas Cowboys over recent years have been reluctant to sign high-priced free agents, instead opting to target the second and third tier free agents to supplement their excellent draft class. Sending their first for Amari Cooper was a bold play that paid off and looks to be a bargain for a potentially elite wide receiver.
Where draft picks are valuable is in the rookie deals that a team gets out of its drafted player, but the level of player that you get in the draft doesn't work out. The Dallas Cowboys have typically hit with flying colors in the first round of the draft -- Taco Charlton and Morris Claiborne being the exception --, which is why it was a bit of a surprise to see them move their first in 2019. Maybe they're realizing that he window only stays open for so long and it's important to take advantage of that window in any way possible.
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Obviously, who becomes available, and what they cost are always determining factors when it comes to making a trade. If a player comes available via trade that the Cowboys really like, they need to consider the idea of moving their 2002 first round draft pick. In 2018 it paid off. Could their 2020 provide a sequel.
BREAKING: Ezekiel Elliott Handcuffed After Incident with Security Guard
TMZ has released footage of Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott being handcuffed and escorted by police after an altercation with security at a Las Vegas music festival over the weekend.
Elliott was not arrested and no charges have been filed.
Ezekiel Elliott handcuffed but not charged after incident at Las Vegas music festival https://t.co/NJQ6csGgnv
The video shows Zeke engaged in what appears to be an argument with a female companion. Elliott is seen following her through the crowd, and then security starts to get involved after Zeke moves his body to block her from walking away.
One of the security guards says something that attracts Elliott's attention, causing him to move in closer. The guard falls backward from minimal contact. It as soon after that police get involved.
There isn't much here that would cause trouble for the average player, but that's hardly Elliott's situation. He's one of the most prolific stars in the NFL and already has history with the league for domestic violence and personal conduct issues.
Remember, no charges were filed when the NFL gave Elliott a six-game suspension in 2017 after accusations from an ex-girlfriend of domestic violence.
We will have to wait and see how Roger Goodell chooses to treat this latest issue.
Ezekiel Elliott ‘Excited’ About Dallas Cowboys ‘Promise’ in 2019
There's a lot to look forward to as the team gears up for offseason training activities and minicamp. The 2019 Dallas Cowboys look like a potential contender in the NFC after making it to the divisional round of the playoffs before falling to the NFC representative Los Angeles Rams by a score.
The offseason additions the team has made in addition to the draft have many in Cowboys Nation excited about the Dallas Cowboys heading into the 2019 season. That includes Running Back Ezekiel Elliott.
Ezekiel Elliott: "I'm just excited about the group of guys we have. I'm excited about the talent we have on this team. I'm excited about the leadership group we have. I think we have a lot of the right pieces. I think we have a lot of promise for this season.
I think the Cowboys are right to be optimistic about their team heading into the season. They had one of the top 10 defenses in the NFL and an offense that was trending in the right direction over the last half of 2018.
On both the offensive and defensive side of the football the Dallas Cowboys have gotten better as a team.
The offense sees the return of Travis Frederick to the middle of the offensive line and though Joe Looney was good, he's no Travis Frederick. Frederick's return will improve communication along the offensive line and improve their run blocking up the middle; an area where the Cowboys struggled with consistency in 2018.
Another veteran returning to the Cowboys for 2019 is Tight End Jason Witten. Though he's slowed down some at 38 years old, having his leadership and veteran presence on a team attempting to make a deep playoff run is very important. Witten's as steady a player as has been in the NFL and should still be able to make plays in the run and pass game.
The additions of Randall Cobb and Tony Pollard give the Dallas Cowboys a more versatile group of players for new Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore to toy with. This versatility will allow them to keep teams off balance. With Randall Cobb, the Cowboys will be able to move Amari Cooper around the formation in order to find favorable matchups in the passing game. Tony Pollard gives the Cowboys a durable gadget option and big-play threat in the run and pass game. Pollard's ability as a returner could help the Cowboys get more favorable field position in 2019.
Ezekiel Elliott himself stands to benefit a great deal from the additions and changes the Cowboys made to the offense. Pollard is an upgrade as a running back to Rod Smith, so the Cowboys can cut Ezekiel Elliott's workload a little and keep him fresh by expanding on the two series a game the coaching staff used to give Smith.
On defense, they added Robert Quinn to a defensive line that already boasts one All-Pro pass rusher in DeMarcus Lawrence. Christian Covington, Kerry Hyder, and Trysten Hill provide depth to an interior that struggled against the Rams in the playoffs and the Indianapolis Colts during the regular season. The defensive line.
In addition to all that, the Cowboys will get to see what kind of progress their 2018 rookie standouts make in year two.
Leighton Vander Esch was a second-team All-Pro in 2018 and should have won defensive rookie of the year with his play. Connor Williams looks to have gained the necessary size and strength to play left guard in the NFL. A second offseason at guard should help him to improve at his new position. Michael Gallup was a revelation in the third round of the draft last year. After slowly being worked into the lineup over the first half of the season, he emerged as the Dallas Cowboys second wide receiver.
The NFC East and the NFC is a tough place to play. Every year, it's an uphill climb to win enough games to win the division or make the playoffs, but the Cowboys have put themselves in a fantastic position to do just that. Though no team has been a repeat winner of the NFC East since the early 2000s, the Dallas Cowboys have built a team that will be able to compete with any team in the NFL.
From the roster to the coaching staff, the Dallas Cowboys have built a squad that should get anyone excited. Are there questions as the team heads to training camp? Of course. But every team has questions at one position or another. The Cowboys have done an excellent job to minimize those questions through free agency and the draft and have one of the best teams in the NFL on paper.
The excitement that Ezekiel Elliott feels is warranted. The Dallas Cowboys do have a lot of promise as we look ahead. Now as they get ready to start ramping up practices, it's time for Elliott and the rest of the team to go prove it.
And I have a feeling they'll live up to that "promise."
DT Leonard Williams May be Available, Should the Cowboys Explore a Trade?
Per a report by Rich Cimini of ESPN, the New York Jets may be exploring a trade for their star defensive lineman Leonard Williams. With Williams set to hit free agency in 2020, the theory is the Jets may not be interested in locking up Williams long-term after just drafting Quinnen Williams with their top five selection in 2019.
Here's what Cimini had to say in his report:
"There's already talk in league circles that Gase could be looking to move on from Williams, who will be a free agent after the season. He's due to make a guaranteed $14.2 million in the final year of his contract. Gase hasn't said anything about Williams that would spark speculation, but it's not hard to connect the dots when examining the defensive line situation."
Rich Cimini - ESPN.com
Williams has been a really good player for the New York Jets who has played 3-4 defensive end and some defensive tackle for the Jets in his four-year career. A former sixth overall pick has had as many as seven sacks and as few as two sacks a season, but he's played in all 64 games in his career, starting 63. He's stayed healthy and been productive on a Jets defense that hasn't been very good over the last few years.
For the Cowboys defense, he would project as a 3-technique with the ability to be the Cowboys 1-technique in passing situations. Among interior defensive lineman, Leonard Williams finished 21st in run stops per Pro Football Focus and sixth in total pressures with 53. Williams was third among interior players in QB hits with 16 ahead of Kansas City Chiefs Defensive Lineman Chris Jones and Seattle Seahawks Defensive Tackle Jarran Reed. For reference, DeMarcus Lawrence had 63 total pressures and 11 QB hits in 2018, while Tyrone Crawford had only 37 total pressures.
The Dallas Cowboys have been working to reinforce their defensive line this offseason after struggling in the playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams when the Cowboys gave up over 200 yards rushing. Though they like Antwaun Woods and Maliek Collins, they obviously weren't satisfied with the going into 2019 with just those two in the Dallas interior.
In free agency, the Cowboys added Christian Covington and Kerry Hyder and then drafted Trysten Hill with their second-round pick. They also added Daniel Wise, a player that was seen as a fourth or fifth rounder in most people's minds as an undrafted free agent and will compete for a roster spot.
As intriguing as Covington, Hyder, Hill, and Wise are in addition to Maliek Collins and Woods, Williams would be an immediate upgrade at 3-tech and the Dallas Cowboys should explore it, even if they don't plan on resigning him beyond 2019.
The Cowboys could swap expiring contracts by sending Maliek Collins to New York and a draft pick. Collins is unlikely to be resigned by the team in the 2020 offseason as they have plans for Hill as their 3-tech of the future.
The Dallas Cowboys showed with the trade for Robert Quinn that they're alright going after the one-year rental player. Leonard Williams would make their defense better for 2019 and while they have high hopes for Trysten Hill, Williams is a known asset right now and wouldn't prevent you from giving Hill snaps at 3-tech.
For a team hoping to make a Super Bowl run, adding a player like Leonard Williams makes a lot of sense. He's another disruptive player that would immediately improve your pass rush and also helps your run defense. The Dallas Cowboys have a team ready to win now, so now's the time to go get players that help you do so.
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