The Dallas Cowboys are on the clock. Well, not quite yet but the NFL draft is certainly barreling towards reality. With just over two weeks remaining, things are coming into focus for the league and for the club specifically. Over the weekend, Cowboys Wire went through a few exercises, including a trade-back mock where Dallas found a willing partner in New England (and then two more teams) to secure additional Day 2 picks and also a look at placing the team’s needs into position-group tiers.
On Tuesday, ESPN’s Mel Kiper (Insider access) borrows a page (not really) from those strategies in his latest two-round mock draft. In it, he has the Cowboys trading out of the No. 10 pick, and then selected a top cornerback in the first round. The bounty given up by the Patriots in this one has an eye to the future though. Then, in the second round, Dallas selects a position that is not often discussed, but makes plenty of sense and was ranked higher on CW’s positional needs list than most expected.
Projected trade: New England gets its quarterback
With only one of the top five quarterbacks still available, the Patriots jump five spots with the Cowboys, giving Dallas their 2022 first-round pick in return. The Cowboys don’t need a quarterback, so they’d be thrilled to get an offer like this and move down only a few spots, because their biggest holes are on defense and they can get a good player at No. 15.
Here, Kiper clearly exercises the QB tax for the difference in value between the selections. According to the Jimmy Johnson trade value chart, the difference between the No. 10 and No. 15 pick is 250 points. According to the Rich Hill chart, the difference is 54 points. Those are worth the No. 68 pick and the No. 82 pick, respectively. Instead, even if valuing a future year’s pick as the 32nd pick in the current year’s round (32 overall) the Patriots paid via the JJ chart 590 points and 184 points via Hill’s. Both full seven-round value charts are available below.
Trade Value Charts
Jimmy Johnson Trade Value Chart
Rich Hill Trade Value Chart
15. Dallas Cowboys (via mock trade with NE) Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
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Dallas trades back five spots with New England, gains what would likely be a 2022 first-round pick and is able to plug a need at No. 15. The Cowboys’ defense was dreadful last season, and they lost starting corner Chidobe Awuzie in free agency. They can pair Horn with 2020 second-round pick Trevon Diggs, who had a nice rookie season. The knock on Horn is that he had only two career interceptions, but that ball production should come in time.
Cornerback is clearly the Cowboys’ biggest need and in this instance with the top offensive prospects long gone, it makes perfect sense for Dallas to pull the trigger on Horn. Horn is an instigator, who looks to get under a receiver’s skin like Jalen Ramsey does. He will be loved in Dallas. In this scenario he will forever be linked with Patrick Surtain II, who Dallas passed on to trade back and ended up in Philadelphia.
44. Dallas Cowboys Joe Tryon, DE, Washington
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Tryon played linebacker, defensive end and defensive tackle at Washington, picking up eight sacks in 2019 before opting out of last season. At 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, he’d play end for the Cowboys, who have an under-the-radar hole behind DeMarcus Lawrence. Dallas could go offensive line here as well.
The Cowboys don’t have much in the well behind Lawrence, though Kiper fails to mention starter Randy Gregory who should have a big impact in 2021. The problem is that Gregory is a pending free agent and though the Cowboys have stuck by him in thick and thin, they still need to prepare for his departure. Plus, teams need three bona fide edge rushers and Bradlee Anae, Tarell Basham and Dorance Armstrong haven’t proven to be capable as of yet.