Stars might be aligning for Cowboys to trade up in first round of NFL Draft

Dallas Cowboys v Washington Commanders
Dallas Cowboys v Washington Commanders / Kara Durrette/GettyImages

It's been the offseason of gut punches for Dallas Cowboys fans. Two more were delivered last week when the Cowboys didn't trade for Stefon Diggs and Derrick Henry revealed he wanted to stay home in Dallas, where he lives and trains during the offseason, but the team never reached out.

For that reason, fans have shifted their attention to the NFL Draft. The Diggs trade opens an opportunity to potentially trade back from No. 24 overall. The Bills are desperate for a receiver after losing Diggs and Gabe Davis, and they pick four slots behind Dallas.

Trading back would give the Cowboys an additional second- or third-round pick. Without a fourth-round selection this year thanks to the Trey Lance trade, draft guru Will McClay could certainly use another pick.

While trading down seems the most likely scenario, don't go shutting the door on Dallas potentially moving up in round one. In fact, some pre-draft intel from David Moore of the Dallas Morning News suggests the Cowboys will have to get aggressive in order to land one of their draft crushes.

Cowboys might have to trade up in NFL Draft to get OL Taliese Fuaga

Moore listed Oregon State offensive lineman Taliese Fuaga first among three potential first-round targets for the Cowboys. The other two include Duke OL Graham Barton, who can play all five positions on the line but projects as a guard due to his lack of length, and Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson, who's slipped on draft boards of late due to medical concerns.

In reference to Fuaga, Moore noted "there's no way he'd still be on the board when the Cowboys pick at No. 24." If you read between the lines, a trade-up scenario could be unfolding. If Dallas is confident that Fuaga is the best lineman in the draft, why not move up to get him?

The Cowboys had a formal meeting with Fuaga at the combine and he's one of their 30 prospect visits, so their interest is apparent. Rest assured, Fuaga is thought of highly around the league, not just in Dallas, so trading up will be easier said than done.

In Field Yates' latest mock draft for ESPN, Fuaga went No. 13 overall to the Raiders. Respected draft experts Dane Brugler (The Athletic) and Daniel Jeremiah (NFL Network) both had Fuaga going inside the top 10, while other mocks have seen Fuaga fall as far as No. 20 overall.

In short, trading up for Fuaga will cost a lot. However, if the Cowboys view the former Beaver in a similar light to Zack Martin as someone who can be an All-Pro from day one, shouldn't they at least kick the tires?

Given Dallas' track record with drafting offensive linemen in round one, it might just be worth moving up for Fuaga to get another building block to pair with 2022 first-round gem Tyler Smith.

More Cowboys news and analysis