The main focus for the Cowboys is to get help on the defensive line. I think they value Aaron Donald so much that they are willing to sacrifice something for him. He’s quick off the ball, disruptive, and can blow up plays in the backfield, seemingly at will. Expect Dallas to trade up and make a move for Donald.
If he is coupled with Henry Melton the Cowboys will have a devastating duo up front. If Melton is unable to get healthy, or struggles, Donald can fill in and be his future replacement. Remember, Melton’s contract was a four year deal that can be voided by Dallas after the first year.
With the 16th pick the Cowboys have options, but the chances that Donald will fall to them are highly unlikely.
Another player that the Cowboys value is Anthony Barr, the talented linebacker from UCLA. He’d likely play defensive end in Rod Marinelli‘s system. Dallas could also be in a spot for Barr to fall to them but he is getting a lot of hype because of his versatility.
I believe Jerry Jones has tunnel vision locked in on Donald, but what will it take to get him?
The Cowboys aren’t strangers to trading up in the first-round. The last time they did so, they traded up from the 14th spot all the way to six to to snag Morris Claiborne in 2012. They swapped picks and pitched in their second-rounder to St. Louis.
I see two scenarios where the Cowboys trade up to get Donald, and they both involve the tenth pick which belongs to the Detroit Lions.
Detroit is a good partner because they hold a spot in front of a couple other teams who would likely nab Donald, the New York Giants and Chicago Bears. It will depend on what type of plans Detroit has for their own future. They didn’t pick up the 2015 option on their own defensive tackle, Nick Fairley. They may also decide to select Donald.
However, the Lions have other needs as well and if they trade back to 16 they could still address a need. They may still be in good position to land safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or cornerback Darqueze Dennard.
If they trade with the Cowboys straight up I think they would swap their first-round picks and ask for the Cowboys’ second rounder.
This is the tricky area for Dallas. They love Donald, but are they willing to sacrifice addressing other needs? The Cowboys hold the 47th overall pick, 15th in the second-round, and would be giving up on drafting another quality player.
The second scenario I see involves moving up to the tenth slot by again swapping picks with Detroit. However, I think they might be willing to part with Morris Claiborne. It addresses a need for the Lions and it saves the Cowboys from giving up a second-round pick.
This all depends on whether the Cowboys still believe in Claiborne. Is he truly the less than stellar player he has shown himself to be, or is he simply a victim of injuries and frequent defensive scheme changes?
Jerry Jones is unpredictable. In the end, I don’t think Jones can resist the opportunity to make a big splash. One way or another Donald will be wearing the star next season.