It is now officially draft week for the Dallas Cowboys and for the National Football League. This week is Christmas for teams and fans, alike. By the end of the week, teams will have new players to introduce to fans. Beginning Thursday, the Dallas Cowboys will have an opportunity to address their weaknesses on the team.
With the team owning the 19th overall pick, and armed with 10 total draft picks, Dallas will be busy trying to improve the roster. The question becomes which position will take priority? While the release of Dez Bryant will lead many to assume wide receiver to be the top need, offensive line, linebacker, and safety will also need to be addressed. Here’s what I think the team should do, beginning Thursday night:
Add an Impact Safety:
Whether through a trade for Earl Thomas, or a trade up for Derwin James, Dallas needs another safety in the secondary. The team just picked up Byron Jones’ 5th-year option, but he will be moving to his natural cornerback position in 2018. Kavon Frazier and Jeff Heath played well last season, and Xavier Woods has a lot of potential, but the team should look for an impact playmaker to patrol the backend. Personally, I’d much rather trade a second-round pick (no. 50 overall) for Earl Thomas and use my first-round pick to address another team need. If Dallas does get a deal done, they could even consider the following scenario:
Trading Back in the First Round:
If a team wants to come up to Dallas’ pick at 19 overall, the Cowboys would be wise to consider moving down in the first round. With four, if not 5 quarterbacks, projected to go in the first half of the first round, teams like New England, New Orleans or Pittsburgh could look to trade up to grab a future successor at quarterback. If Dallas can drop down, they may be able to grab an additional 2-3rd round pick. They would then be able to recover the pick lost in a potential Earl Thomas trade, while being able to address their team needs.
Using Compensatory Picks to Move Back Up:
By moving back in the first, Dallas can still grab a good player at a position of need. Dallas could target an offensive lineman or wide receiver later in the first round. Dallas could use the extra picks to add more impact players.
However, the team could look to package some of their day three selections to move back into the top 100 of the draft and add another impact player. If a player is sitting at the top of the teams’ draft board that they like, they may package some picks to move up and select that player. With all these possibilities, let’s look at a mock draft:
Dallas trades picks (19)
New England trades picks (31, 63)
Dallas trades picks (116, 192)
New York Jets trade picks (107)
Round 1; Pick 31: Will Hernandez, OG
Round 2; Pick 50: Jessie Bates, S (if not traded for Earl Thomas)
Round 2; Pick 63: James Washington, WR
Round 3; Pick 81: Josey Jewell, LB
Round 4, Pick 107: Mark Andrews, TE
Round 4; Pick 137: Tim Settle, DT
Round 5: Pick 171: Marcell Frazier, DE
Round 6; Pick 193: Ito Smith, RB
Round 6; Pick 208: D’Montre Wade, CB
Round 7; Pick 236: Matt Linehan, QB
While it’s impossible to truly predict what will go down on draft weekend, the Cowboys are a safe bet to be active. If Dallas can trade down, they can grab further ammunition to select more players, or complete a deal for Earl Thomas. While there are needs across the roster, the team should prioritize adding a playmaker in the secondary, while boosting the strength of the team, the offensive line. This mock draft gives the team impact players at positions of need and boosts the depth of the team going into 2018.
For more analysis of the Dallas Cowboys, and continuing coverage of the NFL draft, stay tuned to Dallas Sports Fanatic!
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