The glorious morning of the NFL Draft has arrived and the time for speculation and over-analyzing has finally ended. In what will likely be my final post until the pick is made at #9, let's visit the 3 possibilities for the Cowboys in Round 1 a final time.
1) - Stay Put at #9 and hand in the card. Still the most likely scenario, the Cowboys let the draft come to them. Especially when Rick Gosselin is forecasting a run on QBs all around them high in the 1st Round. Goose has 5 QBs in his Top 12 picks. This can really help the right guy to slide right to them.
I am on record wanting Tyron Smith. But, who is good enough to make me pass on him if they slide? Patrick Peterson, yes. Marcel Dareus, yes. Nick Fairley? No, I have some real scheme questions about an undersized DT. I think he is a perfect fit in a 4-3. And I trust my eyeballs which say he is awesome and dominant, but there are a lot of people saying his motor is not reliable. I don't need that. Julio Jones? No. I cannot ignore my issues on the line of scrimmage. A brilliant WR will not win games when my line cannot run for a 1st Down or protect my passer. JJ Watt? No. I think he is a relentless worker and a solid pick, but at #9, I want someone who can be one of the best at their position - not a just a solid player. Prince Amukamara? No thanks. From what I have seen (which is over half of Nebraska's season in the last few months) he looks to be a #2 corner.
What if Tyron Smith is gone at #9? And are the smoke screens the Cowboys are sending around (the idea that they might be getting cold feet on him) an effort to keep anyone above them from grabbing him or anyone behind the Cowboys trading in front of them?
Well, then I better have a plan ready. I imagine then the Cowboys - assuming they cannot trade down - would go to where the board says to go: Defensive End. There, they can grab the best DE 5-technique in the draft. Is it JJ Watt or is it Cameron Jordan? I give a slight edge to Watt because all reports indicate that Jordan has a bit of maintenance to his personality whereas people suggest Watt will be a team captain in a few years.
2) - Trade Down and grab another premium selection. This is a very realistic idea, and frankly, if it can be done, it is the smartest thing for the Cowboys to do. I really like Tyron, but I do concede that there are some variables to his game that might scare me off of him if the right deal is there. For instance, if you told me you have a deal with San Diego for #18 and #50 for #9, and if I can get Anthony Castonzo or Gabe Carimi at #18 and let's say Rahim Moore or Martez Wilson at #50, then I have to admit that is likely a smarter play than putting all eggs into the Tyron Smith basket.
But, there are many circumstances here that should scare you off.
- If you drop too far, you might lose all of the guys on your wish list. At #9, they can grab any of the 4 players on their short list - Smith, Castonzo, Watt, or Jordan. At #18, they may all be picked over (see, Julius Jones trade - 2004 Draft). Being left with the scraps is never ideal.
- We need offers that are worth the trouble. All indications are the Cowboys would like to get out of #9. But, everyone knows that. And everyone knows that there is not much of a clear-cut order in the top half of Round 1. So, why would Detroit or Minnesota get too antsy on a pick if they can stay put and let their man fall to them? St Louis might be the exception if they are really caught up on getting a WR. Would #14 and #78 from them be enough to make me get out of #9? Again, that is risky because Washington, Minnesota and Detroit are all risks to take guys on your list of 4 and they all pick between #9 and #14. And if I am going to drop to #14 and grab JJ Watt, I better feel good about what might be there at #78. And let's remember the Cowboys ability to find guys in Round 3. Not very good, buddy.
If you drop down between #12 and #14, the price will be a 3rd. If you drop down between #17 (New England) and #21 (Kansas City) you should be able to pick up an additional 2nd. Anything further should get you another 1st Rounder, but it will likely not be in this draft.
The Cowboys have many needs. The right trade-down scenario is ideal. Would I rather have JJ Watt + a top safety over Tyron Smith? Sure. But, they can't deal with themselves. They need a partner. And there may not be one around this year.
3) - Trade Up and get Peterson or Dareus but lose your 3rd Rounder. - Again, this should be touched because we are dealing with a franchise and a GM who cannot resist the splash historically.
If Patrick Peterson drops to #6, the Holmgren connection will be discussed as we talked about Tuesday. It would cost the Cowboys #9 and #71 to bounce up to #6 (and we assume a willing trade partner).
I think the Cam Newton talk is 100% fan-based pipe dream. I think Marcel Dareus is listed, but he doesn't get out of the Top 3. Patrick Peterson is likely gone, but the Bengals and Cardinals could choose a QB and make a guy like Peterson slide out of the Top 5. So, this is just in case.
As I have said, a trade up is the riskiest thing you can do. And given the number of holes the Cowboys have, it is also the least prudent. However, this is Jerry Jones and the "big splash" Dallas Cowboys. So as risky as it sounds, it should not be completely ruled out. Of course, the other side of this is that if Peterson does fall to #6, maybe you call Holmgren's bluff and don't do a trade. Holmgren takes his WR and maybe, just maybe, Peterson makes it to #9 anyway. Then, you get Peterson and keep your 3rd.
This would cause much rejoicing across the city, I would think.
So, there are the 3 scenarios. Chew them over and get ready for the big weekend.