It has been a few years since the Dallas Cowboys made a trade with their first-round pick, but if Jerry Jones is to be believed (I know, I know), that streak may come to an end this April. The Cowboys are currently set to pick No. 28 in the first round, but Jones indicated that the team could be aggressive trying to move up or down in the draft, depending on how things shake out.
“Near the bottom of the first, moving toward the top ... this sets up for a little potential trade action to try to gain some value or try to hit an opportunity,” Jones said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I have never looked at where we were when we started a draft and thought we are not going to get a very good player right there. The assumption being that is where you are going to be when you have to make a decision. All that plays out as it unfolds. There are some opportunities (for trades up or down).”
The last time the Cowboys made a trade in the first round was back in 2013. The deal was pilloried at the time, as the Cowboys got less to move down from pick No. 18 in the first round to No. 31 than the Rams did to move down from No. 22 to No. 30, but things wound up working out pretty well for them anyway. The Cowboys picked Travis Frederick at No. 31 and he’s become the best center in football. They picked Terrance Williams with the third-round selection they received from the 49ers in exchange for moving down 13 spots in the first, and he has become a solid-if-unspectacular contributor in the passing game.
Dallas executed first round trade-ups in both 2010 and 2012. They traded picks No. 27 and 90 to the Patriots to move up to No. 24 and select Dez Bryant in 2010, and that’s worked out pretty well for them. 2012 was not as kind, as picks No. 14 and 45 were sent to the Rams in exchange for No 6, which the Cowboys used on the oft-injured and since-departed Morris Claiborne.
The Cowboys have been involved in several other first-round trades during Jones’ tenure as owner, of course. He became known as “Trader Jerry” for a while because of his tendency to wheel and deal on draft day. That wheeling and dealing has quieted down a bit in recent years as Stephen Jones and Will McClay have taken more control of the draft room. Most teams tend to have only 15-20 players in a given draft with “first round grades,” and if they’re all off the board by the time pick No. 28 rolls around, it would not be at all surprising to see Dallas move down from the bottom of the first round to the top of the second, while picking up some extra value along the way. Given their numerous holes on defense and the reputed depth of the draft on that side of the ball, a move to accumulate extra selections might be the best case scenario for the Cowboys.