FRISCO, Texas – By this point, the Cowboys' options in this draft cycle have been beaten into the ground. That's to be expected when they hold one of the first 10 picks in this draft, and they've had nearly four months to weigh those options.
"Getting to the top of the draft is very pain staking, but once you get to pick early, it's certainly great to pick up there high in terms of what your opportunities are," said Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones on Monday.
There is one avenue that's harder to predict, though, and that's because it hinges on the attitude of another front office. It's hard to gauge how likely it is that the Cowboys would trade out of their No. 10 overall pick next week – but Jones said it's a matter that's starting to come into clearer focus.
"Probably where we sit, we're starting to get a few calls, and I think it'll only pick up as we get closer to next Thursday," Jones allowed.
It's a fascinating thought, and it likely depends on how the top of the draft order shakes out. More so than any other year, this is a draft that figures to be dominated on offense at the top of the board – specifically, the quarterback position. As many as five quarterbacks could go before the Cowboys come up on the clock on April 29.
And on top of that, there are several blue chip prospects – such as LSU receiver Ja'Marr Chase, Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell and Florida tight end Kyle Pitts – that could spark a conversation or two between the Cowboys and another club.
"They kind of give you the call – 'Hey, if our guy's there, we'd be interested in moving up to the pick,' and they may even throw out a few things like 'What would it take?' and those types of things," Jones said. "So you start to get yourself in a mode where you're prepared that a particular team could call if their player is there – whether it's a quarterback they're after or an offensive lineman or a defensive player."
It's a tough thing to bank on. The Cowboys haven't traded down in the first round since 2013, when they agreed to a trade with San Francisco that saw them fall back from No. 18 to No. 31, acquiring a third-round pick in the process. The trade eventually netted them All-Pro center Travis Frederick with their first-round pick, as well as a multi-year starter at receiver with Terrance Williams being the eventual third-round pick.
Again, it's a tricky thing to predict. Trading down requires a willing partner, and there's no way to guarantee that the phone rings on draft night. And while Jones isn't expecting anyone to tell him their intended target, it does sound like that interest in that Top 10 pick is starting to heat up.
"They won't divulge that, usually – which shouldn't surprise you," he said. "But they do say 'Hey, we've got a player or two or three that, if they're there, we might be willing to get aggressive and give you something to move up to that pick.'"