It’s impossible to predict trades, as they say.
With the Dallas Cowboys, however, trades are pretty safe bet. Owner Jerry Jones has only let two NFL drafts come and go without making a trade. And, the odds are high that 2014 doesn’t become the third, as the Cowboys have six picks in the seventh round (three of which are compensatory).
But will they deal their first round pick? Jones has dealt his first-rounder in three of the last four years.
The buzz of the day as Draft Time nears is that Johnny Manziel will end up wearing the Blue and Silver, which I’m not buying.
Manziel probably won’t fall to no. 16. ESPN reports that Texans head coach Bill O’Brien wants to draft him first overall, but can’t justify it with Jadeveon Clowney on the board, and he is held in high enough regard by multiple teams that I don’t see him slipping.
To pursue Johnny Football, the Cowboys would probably have to trade up, and quite likely trade up several picks.
And the Cowboys are not in a position to trade up in the first round of Thursday night’s draft.
The only player worth trading up for, in my opinion, would be Pittsburgh's Aaron Donald. He fits the three-technique mold and is far and away the best defensive tackle in the draft, athletically. But even that seems unrealistic… Donald is projected to go no. 7 overall in the latest mock draft from Todd McShay.
Trading up to that caliber of pic would come at a high price. And the Cowboys can let their 2012 trade up to number six overall to get Morris Claiborne be an example.
Jerry Jones is still getting criticized for that.
It’s very unlikely Donald is as big of a flop in the NFL as Morris Claiborne, but that recent example of risk vs. reward tilting toward the former should be at the front of the minds of the Cowboys’ brass.
The decision to release Demarcus Ware in the off-season was a commitment. A commitment to the "get multiple players rather than one for the same price" mentality. Trading up in the first round to make a blockbuster selection would be a violation of that commitment.
There are enough needs on the current Cowboys roster that moving up in the draft doesn’t make sense for them. Don’t be surprised if Jerry Jones uses the 2013 model of trading back in the draft to get a prospect the team grades high that will be available later than 16.
Positions of need for the Cowboys - defensive tackle, safety, linebacker and offensive line - that have a first-to-second-round grade (here's lookin' at you, RaShede Hageman) could be the target, should the top playmakers like Donald be off the board.
And the ‘Boys could accumulate more picks along the way. A good 2014 draft will go beyond day 1 for Dallas.