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Mailbag: Trading Down In The Draft? Best DT?


It is no big secret that this year's draft class is missing elite talent and this draft class is one of the less "fruitful" drafts in recent years. Would trading a first round pick for an additional first rounder next year and potentially more draft picks offer more potential upside than picking at 24 this year? — AMOS LONGSTREET / ROSEVILLE, CA

David: Keep in mind that this sort of information goes both ways. If everyone in the league agrees that this is not a great draft class at the top, why would another team trade a ton of assets to move up? I suppose maybe if the right quarterback slipped down the board, it could be possible. My usual rule of thumb for the draft is not to rule anything out, but it's fair to say the Cowboys haven't made those types of moves often. The last time they traded down was 2013, and they still stayed in the first round to draft Travis Frederick.

Rob: Yeah, and I would argue that other than Travis Frederick, trading down in the first round or trading out of the first round altogether hasn't been very successful for the Cowboys over the last 20 years. For that reason, I'm more of a sit-and-pick guy. It just depends on whether they've got a trade partner, and if their board tells them there's value in trading down and still drafting a really good player. No way to know that for sure until like 10 p.m. on April 28.

In your opinion who was the best interior defensive lineman from last season? — NATHAN MATTISON / GLEN FALLS, NY

David: This feels like a good opportunity to shout out an underappreciated member of last year's defense: Carlos Watkins. He arrived here with very little fanfare out of Houston and wound up being the most consistent defensive tackle on the roster. A big part of that is because guys like Neville Gallimore and Brent Urban got hurt, but that's why they say the best ability is availability. Now, don't get me wrong. This is still a position that could use some upgrading. But I thought Watkins was a pleasant surprise, and I wouldn't be opposed to the team bringing him back at the right price.

Rob: For what it's worth, Pro Football Focus graded Carlos Watkins as the team's top interior defensive lineman. He did have an impact, but I would probably go with Osa Odighizuwa, who played the most snaps among defensive tackles and had 12 quarterback pressures to Watkins' 2. It's worth noting that DeMarcus Lawrence was very disruptive as an inside rusher when he came back from injury, but that was a part-time role, obviously.

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