Should the Dallas Cowboys trade up to draft Roquan Smith?

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 02: Roquan Smith
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 02: Roquan Smith /

There are a handful of players the Dallas Cowboys might trade up in the first round of the draft for. Is Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith one of them?

With the free agency losses of both Anthony Hitchens and Kyle Wilber, the Dallas Cowboys suddenly have a pressing need for linebacker help. The signing of Joe Thomas on Thursday likely replaces Wilber along their linebacker corps.

But where will the Cowboys find themselves another Hitchens? A player many believed would have been Dallas’ starter at middle linebacker in 2018. Would the Cowboys dare to use their first round pick in the upcoming draft, 20th overall, to address it?

With more than a month until the annual event, Dallas still could look to free agency to find that starter. Names like NaVorro Bowman, Derrick Johnson and Jerrell Freeman are just some of the more notable middle linebackers still available.

But it seems more likely that a free agent signing would simply be for depth, or at the most, a bridge for a younger player to overtake very soon. That’s why the linebacker position in Dallas has been highly speculated about when it comes to the Cowboys’ upcoming draft.

And when it comes to first-round worthy linebackers, two college prospects are at the top of draft boards. Those players being Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds and Georgia’s Roquan Smith. Both linebackers couldn’t be any different.

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The 19-year old Edmunds is a physical freak at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds whose father was a two-time Pro Bowler. He’s still developing at the position but has the physical tools to potentially become elite.

Smith is undersized at 6-foot-1, 230 pounds. The 20-year old possess elite quickness, football instincts and has the ability to diagnose plays with lightning speed. His size can be an issue at times as he’ll get engulfed by bigger players. But Smith is an excellent blitzer who possess unique sideline-to-sideline speed and will make eye-popping plays all over the field.

Out of the two players, Edmunds likely has the size Dallas covets at the position, having had previous success at middle linebacker with 6-foot-4, 255 pound Rolando McClain. But the fact he’s still a bit of a project likely sways them more to Smith, who can immediately step in and play all three linebacker positions.

Unfortunately, neither Edmunds or Smith figure to be available when the Cowboys’ number is called in the first round, 19th overall. Most mock drafts seem to have both prospects selected in the Top 11 picks of the 2018 NFL Draft.

So if the Cowboys wanted a player like Roquan Smith, they’d likely have to trade up to get him. The best scenario for the Cowboys would be if Smith fell somewhere near 14th-15th overall. Dallas might be able to trade up for their first rounder and their lone third round pick. Anything higher, and you are looking at losing your second round selection instead, and possibly more.

Next: Dallas Cowboys 2018 NFL Draft - 7 round mock 3.0

The Dallas Cowboys have been known to trade up for a player they fall in love with. And Roquan Smith could be that prospect. But it seems unlikely they make that move unless Smith falls within striking distance. The way the draft is starting to shake out, there should be an impact player at a position of need available for the Cowboys at 19th overall regardless.