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Cowboys Draft Board Revealed

June 1, 2013


If you’re a draftnik like I am there’s nothing more interesting than what just popped up online recently. For the 2nd year in a row Jerry Jones was far too nonchalant after the draft with video interviews in his “war room” and a website (Blogging the Boys, their article is here was able to actually recreate the Cowboys entire draft board! This is incredibly interesting for people like me that made their own draft board but also for anyone curious to see an in depth look into a team’s thinking when they made their picks. Below I will break down a few insights I gleaned from the information as it sheds light on what the team’s strategy was and why they ended up with the players they did.

The trade down in the 1st round: What surprised me the most when looking at the Cowboys draft board was how little it resolved the strange move by Jerry of trading down in Round 1 from #18 to #31. When the Cowboys were on the clock everyone was sure that Shariff Floyd would be their guy as he was universally regarded as a Top 10 player and seemed to fit a need area for the Cowboys at DT. Now Jerry after the draft stated that he didn’t consider the DL a need area for the team and, while I would completely disagree with that assessment, we have to agree that this wasn’t a lie as Jerry decided to trade down from #18 to #31 despite the Floyd staring them in the face. He was the #5 player on their board so he was far and away the best player left on the board and their decision to not take him was clearly an example of the team drafting for need over talent. Yet the trade down wasn’t just odd due to them avoiding Shariff Floyd but also due to the strategy overall. When they moved down 13 spots they did so knowing there were only 5 remaining players with 1st round grades on their board: #5 (Shariff Floyd), #11 (Xavier Rhodes), #13 (Cordarrelle Patterson), #15 (Tyler Eifert), #17 (Bjoern Werner) and the odds of one of them slipping to them were extremely low considering 3 of them (Floyd, Rhodes, and Eifert) were all expected to be gone by the time they were on the clock at #18 let alone #31. It all adds up to a strange strategy that seemed destined for failure as only one of their 5 players (Patterson) were even on the board by pick #26.

Players available at #31: While the choice of Travis Frederick at #31 was a huge surprise it becomes even more surprising when looking at their board as he didn’t even have a 1st round grade on THEIR BOARD! When Cordarrelle Patterson was taken two picks earlier at #29 the Cowboys should have been on the phone all around the league to trade down as none of the remaining players on their board had a 1st round grade and the top 3 players with 2nd round grades on their board were taken as well (DJ Fluker, DeAndre Hopkins, Justin Pugh). Also when looking at the Cowboys move down from #18 to #31 I think the most educated guess would be that they were actually targeting a wide receiver at that spot as both Cordarrelle Patterson and DeAndre Hopkins went in the final 6 picks of the first round and both had higher grades than Fredrick. Considering they chose Terrance Williams with their 3rd round choice it clearly was an area the team wanted to address and I have a feeling that the biggest reason Jerry traded down from #18 to #31 was to add an explosive playmaker at WR. Once again it looks like Jerry chose flash over substance and his demand to make his first selection a “sexy pick” backfired tremendously as he ended up with a meat and potatoes selection in Travis Frederick while a far more talented one in Shariff Floyd slipped through their fingers. My final point to make is that when the Cowboys were on the clock at #31 the top 3 players on their board were Travis Frederick, Terrance Williams, and Gavin Escobar. While Frederick was a huge reach on my board and appears to even have been a reach on their board they must have been ecstatic to get Escobar at #47 and Williams at #74 as all three were likely discussed when they were on the clock at #31. To end up with the top 3 players remaining on your board when all was finished is pretty remarkable and while I disagree with some of their draft grades at least they got the players they wanted we can all hope that they were wanted because the coaching staff knew exactly what they were going to do with them.

Final thoughts: I completely disagree with the Cowboys decision to not take Floyd at #18 and after seeing their board I’m sure the majority of scouts in the war room that night did too. The night just got worse when the two players they likely were targeting at WR (Cordarrelle Patterson and DeAndre Hopkins) were already off the board as was every other player with a 1st round grade on their board yet what makes me most disappointed is that when their plan blew up in their face “trader Jerry” couldn’t trade the pick and move down into Round 2. If they had moved back from #31 to #35-45 they certainly would have still been able to get Frederick while adding an additional 3rd round pick for their troubles. Overall I thought the Cowboys had a terrible 1st round, average 2nd round, and great rounds 3-6 when they surprisingly were able to get great value in the late rounds where they usually struggle the most. After seeing their actual board I have the same opinions and continue to question exactly what happened Thursday night to cause such a catastrophe in Round 1. 

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