IRVING, Texas – Websites and publications are getting creative in mock drafts with two more weeks than normal before the start of the NFL Draft.
Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke prefaced his latest mock draft with a caveat: He was going to mix it up, but within reason. The mock draft included six first-round trades, all of which are completely hypothetical but also feasible.
In it, he had the Cowboys trading their 16th, 47th and 158thpicks for Detroit's No. 10 and No. 111 selections to move up and grab Pittsburgh's Aaron Donald, a defensive tackle many have linked to the Cowboys but who may not be available by the mid-first round.
The popular notion is that the Cowboys will either stay put or trade back to add more picks like they did last year, considering their variety of needs that extend further than the obvious with the defensive line.
But trading up isn't entirely out of the question.
SI's mock had Dallas moving up six spots. That may be a bit steep and cost too many picks, but moving up a couple spots wouldn't surprise me in the least.
Think about the names getting linked most closely and frequently to the Cowboys at their greatest position of need. UCLA's Anthony Barr and Donald are two of the very few. It's possible and perhaps likely neither of these players are available by the time pick 16 rolls around. Then what?
Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy's a possibility at 16, as is Notre Dame guard/tackle Zach Martin and Florida State's Timmy Jernigan, though Jernigan may not happen if the Cowboys view him as a one-technique.
The point is, there's only a select few that would be worth the pick at 16. A player like Donald would fit so perfectly in this scheme that he might be worth moving up a couple picks for. They could feel the same way about Barr, who, athletically, could be worthy of a top-10 selection. [embedded_ad]
Given the presence of both Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in Detroit, the Lions could pass on Donald at 10. There are a variety of ways the Titans could go at 11, and Burke has Tennessee selecting Barr there, but that would be a suitable spot for the Cowboys to move up to one spot ahead of a Giants team that could also value Donald tremendously.
Another team that could be a contender for Donald is the Bears at 14, so a trade up to 13 just three spots ahead with the Rams, who already have the second pick in the draft, could be another possibility that wouldn't be as costly if Donald, Barr or any of the other coveted prospects the Cowboys may deem worthy of trading up for are still on the board.
Remember, the Cowboys have done a first-round trade in six of the past seven drafts. It worked out in 2011 the one time they stayed put and took Tyron Smith, but they knew they'd be getting a top-10 pick and a player worthy of a first-round selection that year. They've seen the trade down work as early as last year, and they've seen the trade up work as early as three drafts ago with Dez Bryant.
While the idea of moving back once again in the first round keeps floating around, just don't be surprised if the opposite remains a possibility and the latter option, trading up, occurs.