Cowboys trade back in first round when their top targets disappear

Posted Thursday, Apr. 25, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The Cowboys did not see what they liked, so they traded down in the first round.

But they didn’t get back what they could have, and then they lost more.

The Cowboys gave up the 18th pick in exchange for the 31st pick from the San Francisco 49ers, plus a third-round pick, No. 74.

But according to the generally accepted value chart used by most teams in the NFL, they got back only 820 points for their 900-point No. 18 pick. Making it worse, the 49ers used their new pick to select LSU safety Eric Reid, thought to be a target of the Cowboys.

“We actually did another chart,” Stephen Jones said.

So not only did the Cowboys give up a chance to select the last remaining premier defensive tackle, Sharrif Floyd, with the 18th pick, they also strengthened a prime NFC contender.

The faces in the Cowboys’ war room might have reflected that. Coach Jason Garrett sat back in his chair, touching his forehead, and owner Jerry Jones looked at paperwork. Executive vice president Stephen Jones looked at the wall and worked the phone.

As the Cowboys’ pick at No. 31 neared, smiles began to reappear. Garrett became more animated and leaned into conversations with the Joneses. Dallas then took Wisconsin center Travis Frederick.

Line matters

In their 53-year history, the Dallas Cowboys have selected more offensive linemen (138) than any other position.

That trend held true Thursday night when Dallas selected Wisconsin center Travis Frederick with the 31st pick in the first round.

Linebackers and defensive backs are a distant second and third with 101 and 98 picks, respectively.

Dallas has drafted only three punters, the fewest of any position.

Today’s picks

The Cowboys have three picks in Saturday’s portion of the draft. They have a second-round pick at No. 47 and third-round picks at 74 and 80.

Last year, the Cowboys did not have a second-round pick. They gave it up in the trade up for cornerback Morris Claiborne.

The Cowboys have been productive with second-round picks lately. Their last two second-rounders are linebackers Bruce Carter (in 2011) and Sean Lee (in 2010). Both are starters who came back from college injuries.

Position of strength

Jerry Jones said the Cowboys were focused on the interior of the offensive line in the draft.

“We feel like, first of all, the defensive line is a position of strength for us,” he said.

He said that is one reason the Cowboys did not stay at No. 18 to take Sharrif Floyd, who they viewed as a 3-4 nose tackle.

Picky, picky

The Cowboys have seven total picks after making a first-round trade with San Francisco to gain an extra selection in the third round.

The fewest players ever drafted in one year under the seven-round format was five in 2000. The most players under this format was 12 in 2009.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407 Twitter: @calexmendez

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