C.J. Stroud, Ohio State Buckeyes. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
It’s officially NFL Draft season, with the big event scheduled to take place on April 27-29, live from Kansas City, MO. Prior to that, most of the top prospects in the entire 2023 class will arrive at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine. With the event not set to begin until Feb. 28, there is already talk about some teams having their eyes set on certain prospects.
On Saturday, Mike Fisher of CowboysSI.com reported that the Dallas Cowboys were “absolutely intrigued” by Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud. That’s right, the team that has Dak Prescott under contract for the next two seasons has some interest in one of the top quarterback prospects in this year’s draft class.
The issue with the Cowboys being intrigued by Stroud is that they are currently slated to select 26th in the first-round. Stroud would be well off the board when Dallas is on the clock. So, what would it take for the Cowboys to trade up to select Stroud?
What would it take for Cowboys to trade up for C.J. Stroud?
The short answer? A lot. Like, multiple first-round picks at least. But that all depends on which teams select which players early on.
When it comes to the No. 1 spot held by the Chicago Bears, that is an unrealistic feat for the Cowboys. Not only would the Bears be dropping down 25 spots, but there are teams in the top 10 who would want to move up to No. 1 to take a quarterback ahead of the Houston Texans (No. 2 spot). So, the Bears could get a bevy of picks from a quarterback-needy team, and only move down a couple of spots.
However, if Stroud were to fall around or outside of the Top 10, that could be an ideal spot for the Cowboys to make a leap. Teams in Dallas’ range did make the move up around the Top 10-15 range to select a quarterback, and two examples just so happened to take place in the 2017 NFL Draft.
The first move was the Kansas City Chiefs trading up from the No. 27 spot to the No. 10 spot with the Buffalo Bills to select Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes. To make the move, the Chiefs surrendered the No. 27 pick, a third-rounder in 2017, and their first-rounder in 2018 to Buffalo for the 10th pick.
Then, two picks later, the Houston Texans made the jump from the No. 25 spot to the No. 12 position in a deal with the Cleveland Browns to select Clemson’s Deshaun Watson. Houston gave up the No. 25 pick and their 2018 first-rounder to Cleveland for the No. 12 pick in 2017 to select Watson.
If Stroud were to fall in that range, the Cowboys could give up their first-rounders in 2023 and 2024 with maybe a little bit more to possibly strike a deal. As is the case, the further a prospect falls, the lower the asking price becomes.
The issue that the Cowboys face is that Stroud could very well be the first quarterback selected in the NFL Draft, and it could happen as early as first-overall. If Stroud continues to receive rave reviews throughout the pre-draft process, the less likely a trade up for the Cowboys is…unless they give up a haul of first-round picks and a team were willing to accept them to take a large fall down the draft board.