Nick Fairley has been projected to go anywhere from the first to eighth pick in the draft.
- Dallas (From Cincinnati) Da'Quan Bowers, DL, Clemson - Two weeks ago, he's probably ahead of Dareus. In two weeks, he may now be off the board completely or at least for the first couple of rounds. There has been some big question marks regarding his
knee and if indeed he needs major surgery, then it would be a crushing blow to a player that some draft experts have said is the most talented in the draft. Assuming the Cowboys are confident in his ability to stay healthy and contribute, Bowers would be another strong fit on the defensive side. He's a tweener in a 3-4 scheme, but with his talent, there's always a spot.
- Dallas (From Arizona) Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M -Another tweener with incredible talent. At the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. back in late January, Miller said his college coach told him he was reminiscent of the late Derrick Thomas, a pass-rushing star in Kansas City. If Miller is anything close to Thomas in that regard, then he's worth the No. 5 pick, if not higher. While the Cowboys are confident about Anthony Spencer, I don't think they should not draft a player because of him.
- Dallas (From Cleveland) A.J. Green, WR, Georgia - This isn't a need, but rather just a stud player. Just like I said about not drafting Miller because you've got Anthony Spencer, the same case should be made about A.J. Green and Dez Bryant. And yes, both can get on the field at once, but if you take receivers in the first round in consecutive years, coupled with the presence of Miles Austin and his $9 million per season contract, then something has to give. For now, it would likely be Roy Williams. But if the Cowboys were sitting with the No. 6 pick and Green was still there, with those defensive studs off the board, then it'd be worth it. Right now, you can't count on Dez Bryant to stay healthy. Everything you've seen out of Green suggests he's going to be just as talented, if not more so than Bryant. He's too good to pass up.
- Dallas (From San Francisco) Tyron Smith, OT, USC - At this point in the draft, people will be going Cam-crazy about Cam Newton still being on the board. There will be plenty of discussions about the Cowboys going for him or Gabbert. Again, the Cowboys need someone who helps them right away. So instead of replacing Tony Romo, let's protect him. Tyron Smith has all the tools and measurables to play for 10-12 years, at either left or right tackle. He said he can play both and that kind of versatility, along with his size and youth, would make for the safest pick of a 20-year-old in league history.
- Dallas (From Tennessee)
Robert Quinn, DE/LB, North Carolina - With these guys off the board and the Cowboys somehow moving up one spot, they probably wouldn't be happy to see this scenario. Still, with no more options to trade up, it comes down to taking the best player. Quinn is an interesting case because he was hurt last year, but some say before his injury he was considered one of the best in this class. In case you haven't noticed, Jerry likes those guys. He likes taking players who other teams are scared about - look no further than last year with Dez Bryant and Sean Lee. But even other the years, the Cowboys have selected players like Chris Canty, Flozell Adams, Michael Myers and even DeMarcus Ware, if you consider that some teams were worried that the Sun Belt Conference's Defensive Player of the Year wouldn't translate to the NFL game. I'm sure Rob Ryan covets great pass-rushers and if the Cowboys were willing to take Miller with the No. 5 pick, it should be no different with Quinn at No. 8.
So there you have it - those are eight different trade-up scenarios and what the Cowboys should do if those options were to arise. Obviously, they're somewhat unlikely, but with the draft and Jerry Jones, you never know what to expect.
Next week, we'll look at picks No. 9 to No. 17. Of this four-part series, this is the most likely of all scenarios. Not only do the Cowboys already own the ninth pick, but if they did trade down, it would probably be in this range.
So we'll stick to this big board, assuming that Fairley, Peterson, Dareus, Bowers, Miller, Green, Smith and Quinn are off the board, and start up again next week with picks 9-17.