With the 28th pick in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys won't be able to target an impact player as they did last year when they took running back Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall pick.
But owner Jerry Jones says it doesn't prevent the Cowboys from being aggressive in trying to move up or down to maximize the most out of a draft in which they must come away with several plug-in starters and day-one contributors.
The NFL Draft is April 27-29 in Philadelphia.
"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. "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).”
What the Cowboys can't do is take a chance on an injured player who probably is likely to sit out the rookie season as they did when they took linebacker Jaylon Smith in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Smith missed all of last season after suffering a knee injury in his final bowl game at Notre Dame. They felt the gamble was worth it because he was a top-10 player who was available in the second round.
Jones, however, said the Cowboys need their high picks in April to come in and play now.
"Drafting a player this year that is going to be redshirted high, with some of our needs, that gets problematic a little bit,” Jones said. “Doing a Jaylon this year when we are probably going to get a chance to get a player that’s got a chance to play. We’ve got to play young."
2017 NFL draft
Here’s a look at the NFL draft first-round order. The draft is April 27-29 in Philadelphia.
2. San Francisco
5. Tennessee (from Los Angeles Rams)
6. New York Jets
7. Los Angeles Chargers
11. New Orleans
12. Cleveland (from Philadelphia)
14. Philadelphia (from Minnesota)
19. Tampa Bay
23. New York Giants
27. Kansas City
29. Green Bay
32. New Orleans (from New England)