Dallas Cowboys: Dee Milliner

Trading down easier said than done

April, 24, 2013
4/24/13
1:20
PM ET
IRVING, Texas – There is a good possibility that by the time the Cowboys are on the clock with the 18th pick, all of the players they gave first-round grades to will be gone.

PODCAST
Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley and Glenn "Stretch" Smith discuss some of the players the Cowboys should be looking at in the upcoming NFL draft.

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The prevailing and wise thought would be for the Cowboys to trade down.

But it’s easier to say, ‘Oh, just trade down,’ than to actually make a trade. There has to be somebody worth coming up to get. In a draft that does not have high-ranked skill players, it will be more difficult to find somebody willing to pay a price to move up.

And from the reports out there, just about everybody is looking to trade down. Maybe that makes a move up more palatable, but I think everybody knows how I’d feel about a trade up that would cost the Cowboys a second-round pick.

PODCAST
How close were the Cowboys to getting John Elway in 1983? Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss what could have been if John Elway got his wish and was traded to Dallas.

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Two names could help the Cowboys find a trade-down partner: Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes and Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner.

If they are there at No. 18 and the Cowboys’ targets on the offensive and defensive lines are wiped out, then they could be in a spot to make a move and pick up extra early-round picks.

But the Cowboys have to be prepared for the worst-case scenario of having their first-round players gone and no trade partners available.

If they are stuck, then what direction (player or position) would you want them to go?

Eight in the Box: Ideal first rounds

April, 19, 2013
4/19/13
11:46
AM ET
NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

What would be the ideal first-round scenario for the Cowboys in next week's NFL draft?

Dallas Cowboys

PODCAST
Arlington and Texas A&M product Luke Joeckel, the potential No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Richard Durrett to discuss the draft, coaches and advice from his dad.

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Because of the perceived lack of top-level skill-position talent in this year's draft, a lot of the mock drafts and projections have the top offensive linemen going off the board early. Mel Kiper Jr.'s latest mock Insider, for example, has six offensive linemen going in the top 12 picks, which means well before the Cowboys pick at 18 and probably too early for them to make a sensible trade-up to grab someone like Alabama guard Chance Warmack or North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper. This would be unfortunate and far from ideal for the Cowboys, but history offers hope. The last time six of the first 17 picks in the draft were offensive linemen was 1966, when there were only 15 teams in the league. Only three times since then -- 1977, 1985 and 2008 -- have as many as five offensive linemen been picked in the top 17. The Cowboys probably can't expect any of the top three tackles to fall to them, but their ideal first-round situation would be for Warmack, Cooper or even Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker to fall to 18 and allow them to shore up their most significant area of short-term and long-term need. If only one of those guys is still available by 14, the Cowboys should look into trading up to get him.

To see the ideal first-round scenario for the other NFC East teams, click here.

A two-round Todd McShay mock draft

March, 28, 2013
3/28/13
4:00
PM ET
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Todd McShay's latest mock draft Insider is out and it covers the first two rounds, which means Redskins fans get to play too! Here's what Todd projects, along with my thoughts on his picks for each NFC East team:

Philadelphia Eagles

4. Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

35. EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State

Yes, even with cornerback Dee Milliner still on the board, I like Fisher for the Eagles at 4. I think they need to get a long-term building block at that spot, and an elite tackle is just that. As for Manuel at 35, I like it find if they think he has franchise quarterback potential. If not, they're just adding to a stable of caretaker backups and developmental guys, and the pick could be used better. I do know which of those categories fits Manuel, and I imagine if the Eagles are talking about him, they're trying to figure that out as well.

Dallas Cowboys

18. Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

47. Kyle Long, G, Oregon

I have no problem with the Cowboys coming out of the first two rounds with a safety and an offensive lineman. I just think they need to pick them in the reverse order. In Todd's mock, the top five offensive linemen go in the first 17 picks -- something that's only happened once in the last 15 drafts. But even if that happens, I'd have no issue with the Cowboys taking the tackle Todd projects to go with the very next pick to the Giants. They need elite offensive line talent more than they need this draft's top safety.

New York Giants

19. D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama

49. Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State

Got to be honest, I have no idea what the Giants will or should do in the first round, and it doesn't seem as though most of the draft analysts do either. Offensive line seems to make sense, but they don't like to draft offensive linemen in the first round. I keep thinking they'll take the highest-ranked defensive lineman on their board in the first round, or maybe a defensive back. But maybe I'm relying too much on Giants draft history and this is a year in which they'll go against it.

Washington Redskins

51. Gavin Escobar, TE, San Diego State

Obviously, this is a pick that assumes they don't re-sign Fred Davis. If they do, I have to think they look for a safety here like D.J. Swearinger or Jon Cyprien.


Unfortunately for Redskins fans, still only the first round. But here's a look at who Todd McShay is picking for the other three NFC East teams in his newest mock draft Insider, hot off the presses.

18. Dallas Cowboys: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama.

My take: Anyone else get the sense that Alabama's running a good program these days? Anyway, this is the dream-come-true pick for the Cowboys. Some have said Warmack is the best offensive lineman, regardless of position, in the entire draft. If he's there at 18, the Cowboys run to the podium. They need to get an offensive lineman in the first round, and while people keep asking me, "Well, what if the top five guys are all gone by 18?," it's worth mentioning that only once in the past 15 drafts (2008) have five offensive linemen gone in the first 17 picks.

NFL scouting combine preview: NFC East

February, 19, 2013
2/19/13
11:26
AM ET
NFC combine preview: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

NFL Nation previews the 2013 scouting combine by identifying the most important thing for each team to learn about its greatest area of need.

Dallas Cowboys: The switch from a 3-4 defensive alignment to a 4-3, and the likelihood of losing Anthony Spencer to free agency, means the Cowboys' greatest need is on the defensive line. Is there a pass-rushing defensive end who will be available with the No. 18 overall pick? Is there a 1-technique nose tackle they could take in the first or second round who would allow them flexibility with other players on that line? Dallas also needs help on the offensive line and will be looking at the top guards. They traded up last year to get cornerback Morris Claiborne. Could they trade up for someone like Alabama guard Chance Warmack?

New York Giants: It's a good year for the Giants to employ their best-player-available philosophy with their No. 19 overall pick, because they have a number of positions of need. Osi Umenyiora has one foot out the door, and you know the Giants like to look at pass-rushers in the first round. But they could also go offensive line, linebacker, cornerback ... any number of ways, really. For the Giants, the combine will be about prioritizing their needs. Perhaps the interview process helps them figure out which player -- rather than which position -- is worthy of their first-round pick.

Philadelphia Eagles: Drafting No. 4 overall, the Eagles need a franchise difference-maker. Their first order of business is finding out whether their quarterback of the future is in this draft. But if guys like Geno Smith and Matt Barkley don't rise to fourth-pick worthiness, the Eagles will need a building-block piece at a vital position. Luke Joeckel at offensive tackle. Star Lotulelei for defensive line. Dee Milliner at cornerback. The Eagles will be able to pick almost anyone they want and probably get a great player as a consolation prize for their terrible season. Though their greatest roster needs right now appear to be on defense, they shouldn't shy away from using that fourth overall pick on a difference-making tackle or even a quarterback if they find one they love. Drafting in the top five isn't about filling an immediate need as much as it's about finding someone around whom you can build for the long term.

Washington Redskins: The Redskins traded their first-round pick in the Robert Griffin III deal and don't pick until No. 51 -- the 19th pick in the second round. This makes their scouting more challenging and their combine itinerary different from that of many other teams. There's no way for them to guess how the first 50 picks will go, so they must cast a wide net as they look for help at safety and cornerback. Fortunately for them, this draft appears deep with talented secondary players. The Redskins' mission this week will be to try to figure out which of the guys they like will still be available for them when it's finally their turn to pick.

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