FRISCO - There is great fascination with the idea of the Dallas Cowboys trading up in the NFL Draft. But what if there is even better value in trading down?
ESPN's Mel Kiper has created a mock draft that features a major move by Dallas at No. 10: A trade-down with the New England Patriots that allows the Patriots to jump five spots, leaving the Cowboys with No. 15 in this draft and also giving Dallas their 2022 first-round pick in return.
Our three-pronged analysis of the idea:
1) Does it fit, value-wise? Is it fair? It doesn't help the 2021 Cowboys as much as other swap ideas. So it's not the idea "win-now'' move for a 78-year-old owner in Jerry Jones who "ain't got time to have a bad time.''
Dallas can (should?) ask for more. But it is "four quarters for a dollar,'' yes.
2) What is the Pats' motivation? In Kiper's mock, the four other top QB prospects are gone. So they jump up to get Ohio State's Justin Fields. ... and coach Bill Belichick has, if it works, a centerpiece building block for a decade.
Fields, by the way, is Kiper's second-ranked quarterback. And Kiper is not alone in that opinion.
3) Any problem with the Cowboys-related logic here? Kiper writes, "their biggest holes are on defense and they can get a good player at No. 15.''
And yes, we do have a bit of a problem with that.
In Kiper's mock, the next four players taken are the New York Giants at 11 and Jaylen Waddle (Alabama receiver), the Philadelphia Eagles at 12 with Patrick Surtain (Alabama cornerback), the Los Angeles Chargers at 13 with Rashawn Slater (Northwestern O-lineman), the Minnesota Vikings at 14 with Christian Darrisaw (Virginia Tech tackle) and then the Cowboys at 15 with Jaycee Horn (South Carolina cornerback).
This concept is terrific if Dallas views Horn as being on the same level with Surtain, in which case the Cowboys "got the same player'' and also a future first-rounder. But what if Surtain is judged to be clearly better than Horn? What if Slater is judged that way?
The trade-back idea only truly works if there are a bundle of players a team likes at about the same level. We'd say pull the trigger on this, hope that Horn is Surtain's equal, and enjoy knowing that the Cowboys will own a great deal of muscle in the 2022 NFL Draft.