As the NFL Draft gets closer and closer, fans around the world start thinking long and hard about the prospects who could potentially interest their favorite team and whether or not they’ll be available when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell states they’re on the clock.
When teams have one of the top selections, the anticipation is very fun. The Dallas Cowboys held the fourth overall pick in 2016 and everyone was super excited to see who Dallas ended up with. Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott, Jalen Ramsey and even Jared Goff were in the Cowboys Nation discussion.
Holding the 19th overall pick, though… is different.
At times it’s stressing to think how likely it is to see a wiped-out board with players who’d qualify as a reach on that spot. It’s an awkward place to draft, especially in a Draft class that’s very thin at different positions.
So naturally, it’s time to talk about the possibility of seeing a trade. Last week I wrote about whether or not the Cowboys should seriously considering trading up. My fellow writer Kevin Brady wrote about a very interesting trade scenario just a few days ago.
Today, let’s dive in to which players could the Dallas Cowboys target if they decide to trade down from 19.
In the Trenches: Isaiah Wynn and Will Hernandez
The Cowboys need help at their offensive line. Despite counting with three All-Pros in Zack Martin, Travis Frederick and Tyron Smith plus a talented La’el Collins, help is needed in the interior. Personally, I was pretty disappointed by the front office letting Jonathan Cooper walk, for I’d dare say he did a decent job when he took over Chaz Green’s spot as the starting left guard.
In February, I wrote about why the Cowboys shouldn’t draft a guard at 19. However, now that the first waves of free agents have come and gone, it feels more like a need now than it did a couple of months ago.
Both of these guards could be long gone before the Joneses are on the clock, but they also could be available past their pick. Listen, as much as we hate to admit it, the truth is there actually exists a positional value in this league. Guard is a position that’s rarely taken in the first round of the Draft.
If the Cowboys look to trade down, their priority should be landing either Georgia’s Isaiah Wynn or UTEP’s Will Hernandez to have the most dominant line in the NFL by far.
Linebacker Help: Leighton Vander Esch and Rashaan Evans
Many people are convinced when they say linebacker isn’t a first round need for this football team. I beg to differ. I won’t deny that Sean Lee is very talented and easily one of the best (if not the best) player on the roster. Neither do I forget the existence of Jaylon Smith, who’s health is reportedly improving even more and should be ready to breakout in 2018.
Even though, the Cowboys lost Anthony Hitchens in free agency and we shouldn’t overlook what he meant to this defense in 2017.
Although Lee and Smith could make for one of the best LB duos in the NFL, Dallas could find a little more certainty in the position by taking either of these linebackers.
Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds will be long gone, but Alabama’s Evans and Boise State’s Vander Esch could still be found if the Cowboys trade down a few spots.
Another One: Wide Receivers…
The wide receiver room will be undoubtedly one of the most intriguing to watch once the season arrives. The Cowboys have many well-known names with a lot of talent there, yet a lot of uncertainty after a very disappointing season.
The Allen Hurns signing does calm down the team’s need for a receiver, but after hearing about all the WR prospects the Cowboys are looking at, it may be too early to rule the position out of the first round.
Many could be available when the Cowboys are set to pick. Calvin Ridley should be gone by then, but fortunately, it’s a deep WR class.
Maryland’s D.J. Moore (who has become one of Cowboys Nation’s favorites), SMU’s Courtland Sutton, Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk and even Oklahoma State’s James Washington could all be in the Cowboys’ sights.
Safety: Jessie Bates, Ronnie Harrison and Justin Reid
Safety is one of those team needs that seem to have been overlooked by many fans. Especially with talk of Byron Jones moving to CB, Dallas might be in a tough spot in their defensive backfield, and there’s definitely reason for concern.
There were rumors surrounding a trade for Earl Thomas, mentions of Kenny Vaccaro as a potential signing, but nothing happened.
Now, the Cowboys could look for a safety in the first round of the Draft. The question is, which safety is worth the 19th overall pick? After Derwin James and Minkah Fitzpatrick, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of value.
Ronnie Harrison, Jessie Bates and Justin Reid could be guys who interest Dallas, but it does seem like drafting any of them at their original spot will be a reach. If the front office is able to get some later picks by trading down a few spots, call it a win for the Cowboys.
The funny thing, is that a lot of these players are guys who have been linked to the Cowboys at the 19th spot. A trade down might just be the way to go come Draft Day. Unless the draft pick compensation is strong though, they’ll have to be very careful not to climb down a bit too much, because they could end up with no one worth drafting.