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Draft Central | 2024

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Inside the war room amid trade back conversations


FRISCO, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys were one of many teams expected to potentially wheel and deal in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night, as they stood at No. 24 going into the night but also in need of an extra middle-round pick.

That expectation not only resided outside the building, as Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones told before the draft kicked off that there was an "80-percent chance" that Dallas would be trading back in the first round.

Despite a lack of trade action in the top ten that was expected going into the night, the Cowboys' expectation followed through as they traded back to No. 29 and acquired No. 73 while giving up a seventh-round pick in 2025.

That wasn't the only deal on the table.

In fact, Jones said that there were four offers on the table that the Cowboys could have chosen from, and Detroit's was one of the last ones to come in while the Cowboys were on the clock at No. 24.

"We were working in context with everything moving at the same time," Jones said. "You're also bumping with all those. You're trading with all of them at the same time. It's really interesting."

Four different representatives in the war room were handling the four different offers before Dallas cashed in on the deal with Detroit. In their mind, there were four players still left on the board that they would have been comfortable taking: Jordan Morgan, Graham Barton, Darius Robinson and Tyler Guyton.

From there, it was understanding where the teams between No. 24 and No. 29 could potentially go and if at least one of those players would still be left.

"That's the homework," he said. "Absolutely, you're getting fed what the teams behind you – and remember somebody can trade into their spot – [have]. That can throw you for a loop. I've done it. I've lost a player on a trade before. I had two players in the next three picks and lost them. They went. Of all those players on that board, I had that happen."

"So, the big thing you gotta know is can you live with losing the one you have right there if you can? That really is the test."

Fortunately for Jones and the personnel in the war room, exactly one guy remained in Tyler Guyton. The debate then shifted to a potential second trade back, something that Dallas came close to pulling off before their trade partner went in a different direction.

"It was there for a little bit and then Kansas City went with somebody else," Jones said. "That one had us trying one more time to [go] down."

All in all, the Cowboys were happy with how things shook out as Jones said that Guyton and Barton were the two they expected to probably be gone.

"This worked good," he said. "He was really our main consideration with what we might lose even though the center from Duke was there too."

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