The most logical combination of exchanged picks would be: Dallas gets St. Louis’ second pick overall in this year’s draft. St. Louis gets Dallas’ sixteenth overall pick and their second round pick (47th) in 2014. Plus they’d get the Cowboys 2015 first round pick. That’s a hefty price to pay just to move up 14 spots.
But depending on how desperate the Rams are to move out of that top spot, the Cowboys could get up there for less. Last year, the Miami Dolphins moved up from #12 to #3, and it only cost them their second round pick. Back in 2012, it only cost Dallas their second round pick to move up from #14 to #6, again with the Rams. So, there is a history of good value in previous situations.
But now, let’s get back to the important question: Is Clowney worth it? Many experts seem to think so. And that includes ESPN NFL Draft Guru Mel Kiper Jr., who featured the young defensive end at the top of his Big Board. Here’s what Kiper has to say about his top player in this draft:
“Clowney’s outstanding workouts at the NFL combine — the 4.53 40 and a ridiculous 1.56 10-yard split time — did nothing to hurt his stock, and now it’ll just come down to how he handles interviews and answers teams’ questions about his work ethic. As a player, he’s special. He isn’t just a speed rusher looking to beat a tackle upfield and quickly turn the corner. He has strength as well, and as a speed-to-power rusher who can drive a tackle back, Clowney can be great. He’ll go through you, and he can succeed in any scheme. Team needs will factor into where he lands in the draft.”
And there appears to be a pretty big gap between Clowney and the rest of the defensive end group. Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy, whose name has been linked to the Cowboys top pick recently, is considered by many to be the second best defensive end prospect behind Clowney. Kiper has him going in the third round!
But remember, there is no such thing as a sure thing in the NFL Draft. Just look back to last year’s draft class. The top defensive end selected in 2013 was Oregon’s Dion Jordan. Now, the Dolphins are allegedly shopping Jordan, who was the third overall pick. In his rookie season, Jordan recorded 26 tackles and two sacks despite playing in all 16 games.
If the Cowboys traded up for Clowney, and he performed like Jordan did last year, than I’d expect him to be run out of town too. But many argue Clowney is in a class of his own. Despite his rare combination of physical attributes, it’s his work ethic and effort that is the only question marks swirling about him. With a defensive coach like Rod Marinelli, you’d expect that to be a non-issue in Dallas. Still, Jadeveon’s production dropped from 2012 to last year (From 13.0 sacks to 3.0). Whether that was a product of opposing teams scheming for him or a lack of discipline and a sense of entitlement on his part, no one really knows.
But does Clowney’s freakish upside outweigh the cost of moving up in the draft? If the Cowboys want the top defensive end in the draft in order to replace DeMarcus Ware’s past production immediately, then the answer seems to be a resounding “yes”. Every other defensive end prospect seems like a project in comparison to Jadeveon.