The Dallas Cowboys’ Plan A is to use overall pick No. 4 tonight on Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey, an easy choice in a sense if I’m right in believing that Dallas’ board has Ramsey at the very top of it.
"He's a great football player," coach Jason Garrett said during a fairly bluff-free pre-NFL Draft press conference. "He's an impact player at the highest level. He's been a guy who's played both safety and corner. Plays uniquely well. Shows up on the tape. He leaps off the tape. I've got a chance to know him, spent some time with him in Indianapolis, spent some time with here at Valley Ranch, went down and worked him out at Florida State. Highly endorsed by everybody at Florida State. He's a great football player, there's no question about that."
You can question whether he’s better at corner or safety, or whether he fills a “need’’ or whether he’s "the best player available.’’ You can question whether Garrett is right here. But I’m told they view him that way. And all I’m doing here is predicting the plan … and then, later this weekend, grading the execution of that plan.
What about Ohio State Ezekiel Elliott? Sources tell me that to Dallas, he’s “Stud 1B’’ behind “Stud 1A’’ in Ramsey.
And how do the Cowboys think their options play out?
Jared Goff and Carson Wentz go off the board as QBs in spots 1 and 2. I’m told the Dolphins are interested in jumping from 13 to 3 to take the Chargers spot in order to draft Elliott.
*If the Dolphins land at No. 3 and take Elliott, Dallas is elated. It gets Ramsey.
*If the Chargers stay at No. 3 and take Laremy Tunsil or DeForest Buckner, or Ronnie Stanley, Dallas is elated. It gets Ramsey.
*If the Chargers stay at No. 3 and take Ramsey (because he might be San Diego’s board-topper, too), Dallas is happy enough. It gets Zeke.
*If Jacksonville (or any other bidder) gets involved at 3 and takes Ramsey, Dallas is happy enough. It gets Zeke.
Win/win for Dallas in any scenario.
Arguments against taking a running back at No. 4? Listen to Jerry -- "Just because we didn’t do Murray, just because we have running back by committee, just because we have veterans as we’ve said, doesn’t mean at all that we’re not in the running back business'' -- but then? Go for it, just as you can go for arguments against taking a safety (maybe Ramsey’s best spot) at No. 4. But again, that’s not my job here; I’m telling you what the Cowboys want to do, regardless of whether you think it’s wise.
What about Joey Bosa or Rankins or other names being mentioned by media people? If I’m proven wrong, I’ll say so. Over beers at The Maverick Bar tonight with Broaddus, Cavanaugh, Roy Williams, Jesse Holley, Phillip Tanner and you. (Seriously. We'll all be there.) But I’m told it’s Ramsey/Zeke. And I’ll trust that.
What about a QB or a trade? Not the plan … until we get nearer the end of the first round tonight, when sources tell me owner Jerry Jones and staff value so greatly that fifth contractual year that you get with a first-round player that Dallas might reach a bit to pay to jump up from No. 34 (in Round 2) to find a quarterback.
Dallas wants to find an heir to Tony Romo but Jerry said specifically he’d be sickened by the idea of developing that backup only to see him leave after four years … at about the same time Romo might leave.
Said Jerry: "Tony won’t play forever, but you can get real problematic if you brought a quarterback in here, developed him, you saw enough in the next three or four years but he really never got in and played, and then there he is (a non-first-rounder and only for four years do you) keep your rights to him. And you have a multi-million dollar decision to make and you really haven’t seen him under fire. That could happen. That decision might deal you an awkward place 36 months down the road.''
And then you’ve developed a QB for another team.
So he likes that fifth year … just like he did with Travis Frederick, who Dallas “overdrafted’’ and “overvalued’’ in exchange for the long-term tie-up.
Who would this QB be? Remember that the Cowboys brought seven QBs in to Valley Ranch among their 30 Visits. (That list includes Connor Cook.) What would the cost be? Check the points on your Trade Value Chart and you can see perfect matches for giving a high third-rounder and a high fourth-rounder in exchange for a low first-rounder.
So there is your ideal (in the minds of people running the Cowboys) first-round action: You are ecstatic for Ramsey, you’re happy to settle on Zeke if he’s gone, and you’re open to vaulting back into the late first round for the right QB at the right price.null