The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a historic season led by rookie duo Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.

Finishing with the #1 seed in the NFC, many fans and media members believe the Dallas Cowboys are just a pass rusher away from winning their sixth Super Bowl in franchise history. Dallas may need a dominant pass rusher that can capture the edge on a consistent basis, but the thought of being one player away can set a team back for years.
Jerry Jones has been willing to sacrifice multiple draft picks to get productive receivers in their primes, such as Roy Williams and Joey Galloway. Neither receiver worked out the way Jones expected they would. In the 2012 draft, Jerry Jones traded the 14th overall pick and the 45th overall pick to the St. Louis Rams for the 6th overall pick. Jones selected cornerback, Morris Claiborne, who was the #1 defensive prospect in the 2012 draft. Claiborne struggled with injuries throughout his career in Dallas, and now the Cowboys have to decide whether Claiborne is worth the investment of a long-term contract as he is currently an unrestricted free agent.

Looking back

In 2012 if Dallas stood pat at their original picks, the Cowboys would have netted DT Michael Brockers and WR Alshon Jeffery (Rams traded the 45th selection to the Bears.) The Cowboys could have also selected prospects such as DE Chandler Jones or CB Dre Kirkpatrick with the 16th pick, and turned around and selected LB Bobby Wagner or LB Lavonte David with the 45th overall pick. The Dallas Cowboys missed an enormous opportunity to solidify their defense with multiple talented prospects in the 2012 draft.
Trading up in drafts and trading picks for established players have burned the Cowboys in the not so distant past. Sometimes standing pat with the original draft pick could net multiple talented prospects that could potentially impact the team immediately regardless of draft status, but the Cowboys should also highly consider trading out of the 28th selection in the 2017 draft.
The Cowboys are already without their 5th round pick because they traded it to the Buffalo Bills in 2015 for the rights of quarterback Matt Cassel. What if the Cowboys were able to pull off a trade similar to what the New England Patriots pulled off in 2013? The New England Patriots traded the 29th overall pick to the Minnesota Vikings for their 2nd (52nd), 3rd (83rd), 4th (102nd), and 7th (229th) round picks. The Vikings drafted WR Cordarelle Patterson with the 29th pick. Patterson proved to be a dynamic playmaker for Minnesota, but that ability has also been wildly inconsistent.
Here is a rundown of New England’s additional selections acquired from Minnesota (taken from 2014 article by ESPNĀ Insider Field Yates):

Second round pick, No. 52 overall: Used on linebacker Jamie Collins, an eight-game starter and improved performer down the stretch. The Patriots viewed Collins as an upside pick in the second round, as his natural movement skills are obvious. He projects as a full-time starter as soon as 2014.

Third round pick, No. 83 overall: Used on cornerback Logan Ryan, who led all NFL rookies with five interceptions this season. Though not an every-week starter yet, Ryan has turned out to be one of the better values in the third round and a keeper in the secondary.



Fourth round pick, No. 102 overall: Used on wide receiver Josh Boyce, who finished with nine catches this season, while also providing value as a kickoff return man. Boyce was recently placed on injured reserve, though he will add value as a wideout next season, perhaps as a slot man.

Seventh round pick, No. 229 overall: This may have turned out to be the most important piece of the deal as it relates to 2013, as this pick was sent along with Jeff Demps to Tampa Bay in exchange for running back LeGarrette Blount, nearly the team’s leading rusher (he rushed for one yard less than Stevan Ridley).

 

The New England Patriots are still cashing in on this trade as they traded LB Jamie Collins to Cleveland for a conditional 2018 4th round pick that could have been a compensatory 2018 3rd round pick if the Browns were unable to retain Collins after the season. Three years later and this draft day trade still has rippling effects from the New England Patriots. If the Dallas Cowboys have an opportunity to pull off an epic trade back scenario similar to the one New England did back in 2013, who would say no?
Mike Walker is a die-hard Dallas Cowboy fan that writes for PFS. Follow him on Twitter @MikeWalkerPFS.