The worlds of Jerry Jones and Bill Belichick are on a potential April 29 collision course as multiple media outlets have now forecasted a trade between the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots during the first round of next week’s 2021 NFL Draft.
The widely-held projection: Dallas slides from No. 10 to No. 15 overall, accumulating significant capital and allowing New England to nab its quarterback of the future — Trey Lance, Justin Fields, or Mac Jones.
CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso believes the Patriots’ next QB will be Jones, and that Belichick will surrender a “third-round pick, a fifth-round pick, and a future sixth-rounder to swing this deal.” Meanwhile, the 4D-chess-wielding Cowboys are able to secure its top cornerback of choice, Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II.
“The Cowboys still get their cornerback after trading down. Ideal scenario for them,” Trapasso wrote.
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Wait! There’s More …
Trapasso’s prediction, though noteworthy in its own right, piggybacked off legendary ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr., who first broached the speculative Cowboys-Patriots draft-day deal.
In an April 13 mock, Kiper sent No. 15 and a 2022 first-rounder to Dallas in exchange for No. 10, which New England then would use to select Fields. Once again, the Cowboys slide a few spots but still land an elite CB prospect — this time, South Carolina’s JayCee Horn.
“The Cowboys’ defense was dreadful last season, and they lost starting corner Chidobe Awuzie in free agency,” Kiper wrote. “They can pair horn with 2020 second-round pick Trevon Diggs, who had a nice rookie season. The knock on Horn is that he had only two career interceptions, but that ball production should come in time.”
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Down, Not Up?
If the Cowboys and Patriots do swap picks, it will be because the former resisted the urge to manufacture a bombshell Day 1 acquisition. Many league insiders believe Jones is “infatuated” with Florida tight end Kyle Pitts to the extent that he might consider a move to Pitts’ target range at No. 4 overall, currently held by Atlanta.
Jones conjured visions of “sugar plums” in a pre-draft interview with the former Gators superstar, who would play alongside Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup, catching passes from $160 million QB Dak Prescott. But those visions are likely to remain just that — fantasy.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Friday he’s “pretty sure” the Cowboys will stay put at its current slot and not trade up for Pitts nor “anyone” else in the incoming class.
“Smokescreens abound, but of this fact I’m (pretty) sure: Don’t expect the Cowboys to trade up from No. 10 in the first round,” Rapoport said. “Their love for Florida TE Kyle Pitts has been noted, though they join a long list. But they aren’t expected to come up for him (or anyone).”
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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL