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Should the Cowboys Use Their 2020 First Round Pick in 2019?

John Williams



Amari Cooper

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.

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.


Dallas Cowboys

Guillain-Barre Syndrome: Travis Frederick’s Health Still a Concern?

Brian Martin



Concerns About Travis Frederick's Health Still Justifiable
George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It's been nearly a year since Dallas Cowboys Center Travis Frederick was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), an autoimmune disease. And although all signs are pointing towards him making a full recovery and regaining his starting job, there are still some lingering concerns about his health.

Travis Frederick didn't miss a start in his previous five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys before being diagnosed with GBS. He was an Ironman and was the anchor for the Cowboys talented offensive line. But battling injuries and an autoimmune disease in which there is a lot of unknown about still are two different animals. It's the unknown here that still carries some concern.

What is Guillain-Barre Syndrome?

According to the Mayo Clinic, Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) occurs when the body mistakenly attacks its own nerves, specifically the peripheral nervous system, which connects the brain and the spinal cord to the rest of the body. This can result in a wide range the nerve-related symptoms, including tingling, prickling, or pins and needles sensations; muscle weakness; difficulty walking, talking, chewing, or swallowing; pain; and, in severe cases paralysis, which can become life-threatening if breathing is affected.

As with many autoimmune diseases, experts don't fully understand what causes GBS. There is still a lot of unknown about this disease, and that includes how to treat it and recover from it. However, when diagnosed early, like in Frederick's case, the chances of stabilizing sooner rather than later are pretty good. Although, the recovery process can be a slow one, anywhere from a few weeks to a few years.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome Cure and Recovery Time?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for GBS at this current time. There are a couple of treatments which has shown some success, although patients respond differently which makes determining a person's recovery time nearly impossible.

According to the Mayo Clinic, most people recover within 6 to 12 months. However, about 30% of people still experience lingering weakness three years after a diagnosis, reports the Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and about 15% continue to have weakness long after that. Hence, the lingering concern about Travis Frederick and his future health.

Travis Frederick's Optimism

Despite all the unknown with GBS and how it's affected Travis Frederick's life, he sounds pretty optimistic his health is trending in the right direction.

"I feel really good about where I am at. Both in recovery from Guillain-Barre syndrome and the offseason surgeries that I had done. We are just starting to get to the end of the shoulder rehab. That will start to free up a little bit of my activities. But as far as (Guillain-Barre syndrome) goes, I feel really, really good. It's gonna be hard to tell whether I'm back exactly 100 percent until I can go against another player at full speed in full pads. I don't think we're actually going to know until training camp. But all signs are currently pointing to really good things."

As if we didn't already have enough to keep an eye on once the Dallas Cowboys start training, Travis Frederick certainly jumps to the top of the list. How he is able to respond in some "live-action" practices should help determine where he's at healthwise. Hopefully for his sake, and the sake of the Cowboys, he's back to 100% or as close to it as possible.

Are you concerned about Travis Frederick's health heading into 2019?

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Report: Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott Planning Training Camp Holdout?

John Williams



Ezekiel Elliott: NFL's History with Domestic Violence Shows Inconsistency, Hypocrisy 2

All offseason, the possibility of a new contract for Dallas Cowboys Running Back Ezekiel Elliott has been a hot button issue among media and fans alike. Not because Ezekiel Elliott isn't a great player and worthy of top running back money, but because the idea of paying running backs north of $15 million a year isn't as simple as, "Is he worth it?"

There is significant evidence that the running back position experiences a significant decline in production around their age 28 season and few running backs play into their 30's with good to elite production. Ezekiel Elliott, though he's experienced heavy usage in his first three seasons, could be the exception to the rule.

Well, knowing his worth to the Dallas Cowboys he's expecting a heavy payday at some point in the next couple of seasons. Elliott is under contract through 2019 and the Cowboys picked up his rookie option for 2020. So, technically, Elliott wouldn't be a free agent until the 2021 offseason. However, much like in the case of Todd Gurley, Elliott's looking to get paid early to maximize his prime years as the Dallas Cowboys running back.

Within the last hour, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk released a report that Ezekiel Elliott is planning on holding out of training camp if he doesn't receive a new contract, per a "league source." It should be noted that Mike Florio has had some missteps in his reporting of Dallas Cowboys news, most notably the perpetuating a rumor that Dez Bryant was caught on videotape doing something at a Wal-Mart, that would have a "Ray Rice type of impact." A tape that has never been discovered or produced and a story that's completely died off since it was originally reported in 2015.

Given the recent news that Melvin Gordon is planning a training camp hold out, it should come as no surprise that Elliott is being mentioned similarly. ESPN even mentioned the idea of Elliott and a looming contractual holdout in a piece earlier today, but their prediction pointed to 2021 and wasn't a report based on fact or a source, but a prediction for next year.

The two-time NFL rushing champ is scheduled to count $7.9 million in 2019 and just over $9 million in 2020 against the salary cap. His salary for 2019 is only $3.8 million. Elliott certainly has earned the right to be paid like Todd Gurley ($14.37 million per year), Le'Veon Bell ($13.13 million per year), and David Johnson ($13 million per year) despite having two more years on his deal.

In looking at the long-term impact of Elliott's contract, I've advocated that if the Dallas Cowboys intend to pay Elliott, now's the time to do it. A contract extension now, that adds three or four more years onto his existing deal would get Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys to his age 28 or 29 season. In a well-structured contract, they'd have opportunities to get out at the back end if Elliott experienced a significant decline in production.

Ezekiel Elliott's contract is going to continue to be a hot button issue until he's either signed to an extension or it's made known that the Dallas Cowboys have no intention of extending him. Currently, there aren't any other sources confirming Elliott's plan to hold out of training camp, which starts July 27th, but it's a story that we'll continue to follow here on

Update: 7/16/2019 10:42 am.

Charles Robinson, Senior Reporter for Yahoo! Sports provided some insight into the thinking of Elliott and his representation.

It certainly seems like holding out is on the table for Ezekiel Elliott and his representation, but no decision has been made at this point.

Check back with us for updates on Ezekiel Elliott's contract extension. 

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Training Camp Preview: Safety

Jess Haynie



Xavier Woods

The Dallas Cowboys' safeties may have the been the team's most-talked-about position during the 2019 offseason. Dallas declined making a splashy free agent signing, or even a high draft pick, and that means safety is still a hot topic headed into this year's training camp.

Fans hoping for an Earl Thomas signing or a Juan Thornhill drafting have had to settle for veteran George Iloka and 6th-round rookie Donovan Wilson. These new arrivals don't bring the sizzle that many wanted, but they do add intrigue to the battle for roster spots and depth chart positioning.

Here's the projected safety depth chart right now for the 2019 season:

  1. Xavier Woods, Jeff Heath
  2. George Iloka, Kavon Frazier
  3. Darian Thompson, Donovan Wilson
  4. Jameill Showers

A big reason the Cowboys didn't spend big at safety is Xavier Woods, who is a rising star on defense entering just his third season. Dallas' strategy appears centered around Woods' development, hoping he will anchor the position and make everyone look better.

Woods' fellow starter could be Iloka or the returning Jeff Heath. It is assumed that these two veterans will battle it out for the strong safety job, with the loser being a versatile and experienced backup.

Heath has the advantage of experience with the Cowboys but Iloka has more starting experience overall with 79 games to just 41 for Jeff. You also have to think that Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard had a hand in selecting Iloka from the free agent pool, likely coveting his 6'4" size.

Even if Iloka does win the starting job Heath should remain a valued reserve and special teams leader. His $2.95 million cap hit for 2019 isn't that high for someone who fills those roles.

Regardless of starting jobs, we expect all three of those players to make the roster. It's below them where actual roster spots are on the line.

Cowboys Training Camp: 5 Fringe Players Fans Should Follow

Dallas Cowboys safety Kavon Frazier (Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports)

After three years at backup safety, Kavon Frazier is facing some real competition for his job in 2019. Not only is there the aforementioned rookie Donovan Wilson, but reserve Darian Thompson may already be moving ahead of Frazier on the depth chart.

Thompson was a 3rd-round pick of the Giants in 2016, the same year that Dallas drafted Frazier in the 6th round. He was named a starter in Week 2 as a rookie, but got hurt that game and missed the rest of they ear. He started all 16 games in 2017, but then was injured again and released prior to the start of the 2018 season.

After less than a week on the Cardinals' practice squad, Thompson got signed to the Cowboys' roster last October as a reserve. They re-signed him this offseason, and reports from mini-camps and OTAs had Darian getting second-team reps in practice over Kavon Frazier and other prospects.

If Thompson has ascended, the biggest concern for Frazier and Donovan Wilson is just how many safeties the Cowboys keep. They've kept five before but could easily go with just four, and that might leave two talented players out in the cold.

If Frazier and Wilson do wind up battling for that fifth and final spot, the rookie may have the edge thanks to youth and his four-year contract. Kavon is a free agent next year, so Dallas might elect to keep the younger, cheaper option for further development.

From starting jobs to just keeping The Star on their helmets, these safeties have a lot to fight for in 2019. It's been one of our most interesting positions to watch all offseason, and that won't change when we head into training camp.

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