IRVING, Texas – Just when it looks like the NFL draft landscape is set in stone, the morning starts off with a brain-melting blockbuster trade.
My iPhone practically blew up in my hand this morning, when I reached over to turn off the alarm and was suddenly inundated with tweets about the Trade of the Century of the Year. In case you've been living under a rock, the Los Angeles Rams traded from No. 15 in this year's draft order all the way to No. 1, giving the Tennessee Titans a bounty of picks in the process.
So, to re-set the scene: the Rams now hold the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. In exchange, the Titans will pick six times in the top 100 – picks No. 15, 33, 43, 45 64 and 76, to be exact. On top of that, they now hold the Rams' first and third-round picks in 2017, as well. What a haul.
Of course, the real question as far as I'm concerned is, what does this mean for the Dallas Cowboys? Let's see if we can figure that out.
We'll start with the apparent fact that the Rams will draft a quarterback at No. 1 overall. I simply can't fathom that they would surrender a bounty like that unless they intend to draft the future of their franchise. Whether it's Carson Wentz, Jared Goff – or maybe, but doubtfully Paxton Lynch – a big-name quarterback will be heading to the West Coast.
The intrigue comes in to play with the Cleveland Browns, who suddenly find themselves second in the quarterback pecking order after three months of expectations that they would take the first signal-caller in this draft.
The Browns have seemed like a lock to draft a quarterback this entire time, despite the fact that they signed Robert Griffin III last month. But does that look as likely if the quarterback they covet is set to join the Los Angeles Rams? Perhaps they'd seek to minimize their risk by drafting a franchise left tackle in Laremy Tunsil. Or perhaps another quarterback-needy team – San Francisco, maybe? Or Philadelphia? – would trade to No. 2 to secure a quarterback of their own.
Obviously, the answers to those questions will greatly impact the San Diego Chargers – long considered a likelihood to address their defense at No. 3 overall. Peruse the landscape of mock drafts, and you'll probably see the Chargers drafting Jalen Ramsey, or perhaps DeForest Buckner to bolster their 3-4 defense.
The mock drafts likely hadn't considered the possibility that Tunsil – widely considered the top talent in this draft – would slip all the way to No. 3. Wouldn't San Diego be enticed by an opportunity to draft a franchise left tackle to protect Philip Rivers for the remainder of his career? Or, once again, wouldn't they be interested in fielding phone calls from teams desperate for an elite offensive lineman? Trading up to No. 3 sounds much more palatable than all the way to No. 1, where Tunsil was originally expected to go.
Which takes me, in a bit of a roundabout way, to the Cowboys at No. 4 overall.
We're familiar with the narrative by now. The common logic was that Tunsil, a quarterback and Jalen Ramsey would be off the board by the time Dallas came up on the clock. But is that still the case? Do the Cowboys options look the same as they did a week ago?
If this trade results in quarterbacks being the first two picks off the board, it's not hard to imagine Ramsey, a readymade starter at safety or cornerback, slipping to the Cowboys. It's also not a stretch to think Tunsil could fall to them at four – which would assuredly lead to some inquiries about a trade.
On top of that, all the familiar options are still on the table. The Rams' movement up the draft board helps assure that players like Joey Bosa, Myles Jack and even Ezekiel Elliott will be around when the Cowboys pick.
As much as you might want to, I'm not sure you can even write off the possibility of a quarterback at No. 4 overall. Even with one quarterback going to the Rams at No. 1, it's entirely possible that a signal-caller the Cowboys covet will be sitting there at fourth overall.
The beauty of picking so high is that only so many things can happen before Dallas is on the clock. Judging by the price the Rams just paid, it's safe to say that one of those things is locked in. The focus now turns to Cleveland and San Diego.
That's why this trade can only mean good things for the Cowboys. One way or another, it certainly looks like the draft board has opened up. As many options as were already available at No. 4, there now appear to be even more.