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Mailbag: Use All 10 Picks, Or Trades Coming?

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With 10 draft picks, do you see the team trading up for more quality starter type players? I think they need a CB, a one-tech DT and a linebacker for sure to help this defense. Three starter types should make Dan Quinn smile. Love to hear your opinions. — ROBERT LOCKHART / HAWKINS, TX

Nick: I want to use all 10, if not get a few more. In some years, I think it helps to trade up and grab more value. In this case, with how bad the depth was last year, I think the Cowboys to get 10 players in here and see what sticks. They're not all going to be good, and might not all make the team. But you've got to try. That's how thin it was a year ago and if the Cowboys can figure out a way to acquire enough potential talent, I think it'll help them build a more complete roster from top to bottom.

Jonny: I think the second part of your point speaks to why trading up seems unlikely. They do need all three of those things, and I would add offensive tackle depth to that list as well. But in order to trade up you have to package multiple draft picks or trade away future draft picks, and neither of those options seems very advisable in the Cowboys' current situation. If they had one glaring need and an otherwise fairly well-rounded team I could definitely see the Cowboys packaging their second- and third-round picks to move up a couple spots in the second round, but I think they probably stand pat and draft as wisely as possible.

How much of a team's draft strategy depends on the depth of a position in that draft? For example, if defensive end is thin in a particular draft, and all else is equal, would the team consider the lack of depth at defensive end as the tiebreaker when deciding between prospects that play different positions? Thanks for the insight! — CHRIS WINKLE / MARYVILLE, TN

Nick: I think that absolutely happens. I have an example for that, taking us back to 2003 when Bill Parcells first started here. They had drafted Terence Newman in the first round and were looking at some tight ends in the second round. They had 4-5 they liked but only one center was still on their board. While the tight ends were rated higher, the Cowboys picked Al Johnson in the second round, hoping that one of those tight ends might fall to the third. One of them did, it happened to be Jason Witten, and of course the rest is history. Yes, I bet it happens all the time in every draft. Sometimes you need to take a position earlier than you might want to, in fear that it could be wiped out in the later round. To be honest, that very thing happens to us every year in fantasy football. You might draft a kicker or defense earlier than you'd like, but they're coming off the board so fast that you don't know what you're going to be left with. I know it's way different in reality, but the concept is the same.

Jonny: I don't think the front office would put it in those terms exactly, but I think what you're generally getting at is definitely something they consider. The logic more so goes like this: If they have two players at two different positions they both really love at No. 10, and one of the players they love projected to be available in the 44-range plays one of those positions, then I could certainly see them opting for the other player in order to fill two needs with players they are excited about. But sometimes I think we talk about "tiebreakers" like it's something that comes up more than it does. I think they have a pretty definitive ranking system of prospects so that they don't have to be torn between players.

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